Robots are hot this season with the R added in STREAM. Meet Micronoid “Switch” and “Basher,” two of the Micronoid robot gang who were easily assembled by my 12 and 10 year-old friends, anxious to start playing with them. Robots are intriguing to kids and they make fast friends! The three mode functions along with programming options keep play interesting, silly, entertaining and challenging. The 8-ball mode reminded me of the hours I spent with my black ball asking questions that I was sure he could answer. Switch and Basher answered yes to “Are you awesome? and “No no no,” shaking his head to “Are you a good dancer?” These robots love to dance to the beat of your music and even coordinate when in close proximity. The autonomous mode is just that, Switch and Bash did their own thing including giggling, babbling, dancing, sneezing and singing, all intriguing to 8 year-olds and up.  Customize their walking and turning sequence and record what you want them to say in their robot voice. These robots draw children in for some language learning play as kids ask questions, learn some early coding,  record appropriate conversation related to movements, engage in pretend play, and sharpen listening skills. What a fun combination of tactile build and play, engineering and language learning to strengthen STEAM skills. I couldn’t help but think of how the Micronoids could be beneficial in building language skills in kids with special needs, particularly those with autism. Switch and Blaster might be easier to chat with and encourage conversation and questions. One thing is for sure, these little robots are endearing playmates for smart play!

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