620332_vibrobot_pp_fullThames & Kosmos Vibrobot is a fun, stimulating toy that delivers across multiple layers. Basically, it develops scientific observations (eight included in this set) relating to the principles of a vibrating motor, which kids might be most familiar with in buzzing cell phones rattling on a hard surface. The “how, when, why” of various applications are demystified in the diagram rich combination Experiment Manual / Assembly Guide. Thames & Kosmos then builds on the fundamentals of vibration to see how it might be applied (aka “better understood”) in the context of a robot’s primary means of locomotion, how a beetle crawls, how a Mars rover roves and how a skater skates (Hmmm, guess robots don’t “bot”). The product is substantial enough to engage an older mentor, reflecting on how I played with an eight year old scientist, but is broken down clearly and designed well enough to enable independent play for its 8+ audience. What we love about Vibrobot are the observations, questions, conclusions coming from fired-up kids experimenting with the extension of a leg on a skater or switching rubber soles on a beetle or a bot. Little scientists are fascinated with the many different applications, even one where the mechanism powers a pen across paper. Experimentation by its very nature generates words from questions, predictions, observations, conclusions and “so what’s” or “what’s next.” Kids learn the vocabulary of vibration–force, lever, load– especially in the STEM segment which is important for our eight year-old’s future.

By Bob Artemenko

Available at Thames and Kosmos. Click here