Five o f the best

Kids just don’t know how lucky they are these days!

Mac|Life - - HOME LIFE -

1 Bot­ley, The Cod­ing Robot $79.99 learn­ingre­sources.com

The award-winning Bot­ley is a re­ally sim­ple robot, de­signed for five- to nineyear-old chil­dren. If you don’t have an iPhone or iPad, fear not, as it doesn’t need one to work; you use cod­ing cards to con­trol it in­stead. It can fol­low lines you draw on paper, and use sen­sors to avoid ob­sta­cles.

2 LEGO Mind­storms EV3 $349.99 lego.com

It’s worth tak­ing time to shop around, as prices for the EV3 seem to vary de­pend­ing on where you look. It’s a se­ri­ously good kit, ca­pa­ble of build­ing sev­eral dif­fer­ent types of robot, and in­cludes smart sen­sors that you can pro­gram and con­trol us­ing the EV3 app for both Mac and iOS de­vices.

3 Mec­cano Mecca Spi­der $99.99 mec­cano.com

There’s a wide range of Mec­cano robot kits, mostly in the $100-$200 ball­park, but the Mecca Spi­der is our fa­vorite. At 7.5in high, 16in wide and 18in long, it’s enough to give you night­mares, and the Mec­cano app in­cludes some built-in games, too.

4 Osmo Explorer Game Kit $197 playosmo.com

The Osmo Explorer Kit is a great learn­ing toy that in­cludes a spe­cial iPad dock­ing sta­tion, along with six games that al­low your child to learn about sub­jects like cod­ing, draw­ing and physics. You can ex­pand it with other games, in­clud­ing Cod­ing Jam for mu­sic.

5 Sw ift Play­grounds Free bit.ly/swift­plgr

The Swift Play­grounds app (iPad only, but also com­pletely free) was in­tro­duced by Ap­ple in or­der to help chil­dren — typ­i­cally those between eight to 12 — to get started with pro­gram­ming. You can also use Swift to pro­gram some of the ro­bots Ap­ple sells on its on­line store, and at retail.

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