Playtime is important for children, but it’s essential that you try to add some educational value to that fun. Children of all ages love robots, and a product designed just for kids will let them control their own robots while learning programming concepts. That’s the idea behind Wonder Workshop’s Dash and Dot robot pack.
- Company Name: Wonder Workshop
- Product Name: Dash and Dot
- Price: $229.99
- Compatibility: iOS, Android
- Website: Wonder Workshop
- Date Reviewed: Sept. 23, 2015
Dash and Dot are a pair of iPad- or iPhone-controlled robots that children can have hours of fun learning about and interacting with. Dash has wheels and can move around, while Dot is stationary. The robots interact with the world using sensors, and can hear sounds, detect objects, and know if your kids are moving them.
Integration With iOS Devices
Integration between Dash and Dot and your iOS device comes through apps for the iPhone and iPad. Children can play with the robots like remote control toys using an iPhone app called Go for Dash & Dot robots. To get the most out of the package, unfortunately, requires an iPad or other supported tablet. Blockly for Dash & Dot robots is the iPad app to help kids learn programming concepts, from the basics to more advanced topics. Other iPad apps that work with the robots include Xylo, for making music with the optional xylophone add-on, and Path, a program that allows your kids to create their own adventure with Dash and Dot.
The apps use Bluetooth to communicate with the robots, and the process is easy for even my 9-year-old son to do on his own.
Use and Feel
The robots are cute and kid-friendly, and are very durable to boot. They can play indoors or outdoors, but are not waterproof so make sure your kids keep away from rain and puddles. Battery life is quite good on both robots, lasting for several hours on a full charge. When the battery is depleted, it takes just 60 to 90 minutes to fully charge the robots using the included USB to micro USB cable. If you drain the batteries on both robots at the same time, though, you’ll have to find another cable to charge them simultaneously – only one cable comes in the box.
The biggest complaint I found with Dash was that the robot’s optical sensor doesn’t always seem to recognize objects in front of it. You are supposed to be able to program the robot to stop when it detects something in its path, but I found that more often than not, Dash would just repeatedly bump into walls and other obstacles instead of stopping when it should have.
- Cute and fun way for kids to learn programming
- Durable bodies that can handle a child’s rough-housing
- Long-lasting battery for hours of fun
- Limited functionality with an iPhone or iPod touch
- Only a single USB to micro USB cable included for charging
- Optical sensor doesn’t always detect obstacles
How Does It Stack Up?
There aren’t many toys that teach programming and robotics, but Dash and Dot are definitely among the best that do so. The software is easy to use, and includes excellent tutorials that help kids learn how to program the robots, and the devices themselves are rugged and kid-friendly.
Where Can You Get It, and How Much Does It Cost?
You can purchase Dash and Dot, along with any accessories you may want to add to your programming package, at Wonder Workshop’s Web page or through Amazon with free Prime shipping. You can also find Dash and Dot in the Apple Store.
If you’re looking for a fun way to teach your children about robotics and programming, I can’t think of a much better way than Dash and Dot. This is a toy that can be used by children from five years of age to almost infinity, as evidenced by the hours of fun I’ve had with the robots long after my son has gone to bed.
Dash and Dot’s Overall Scores:
- Aesthetic Appeal: ★★★★★
- Wow Factor: ★★★★★
- Fun: ★★★★★
- Value: ★★★★☆