With the summer holidays kicking in, keeping the kids occupied is key. Matthew Herbst finds the latest entertainment available for all ages.
If you want your kid to learn programming without all the frightening complications of how-to books and advanced computer systems, then Kano is what you should invest in. Kano is a coding kit for both kids and adults that is powered by Raspberry Pi, a computer the size of a regular credit card. Out of the box, Kano can be assembled into a working computer without a monitor (that you provide yourself). The good thing about Kano is that it will teach your child to understand the major components that make a computer run. At www.amazon.com from RO49.61.
This Karma Wi-Fi is perfect for the teen or student in the family that’s always on the go but never out of touch. This pocket rocket pay-as-you-go personal hotspot allows you to connect anywhere without the blank spots and hiccups. Finally, you can forget those sketchy public networks. At yourkarma.com from RO57.30.
This Philips Portable Wireless Speaker is perfect for any child in the family with a love of music. With Bluetooth, they’ll be able to wirelessly connect the speaker to compatible devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops. There’s also a built-in mic that allows you to enjoy hands-free calls. At www.amazon.com from RO38.65.
MiP is more of an entertaining toy than a learning toy. However, it isn’t as easy as you may think. It’s a balancing robot that you can control from your phone and requires hand and eye co-ordination skills. You control it manually and in real-time from your iOS or Android phone, alternatively you can draw paths for it to move on, get it sparring or racing or dancing with a fellow MiP robot. Awesome. At www.amazon.com from RO26.91.
Now your child can let the force be with them, thanks to Oregon Scientific’s Darth Vader Learning Laptop. This cool laptop is designed in the shape of Darth Vader’s mask, and is a great interactive tool for ages 4 and upwards. It may look like a toy but this piece of kit features a touch-sensitive backlit LCD screen, “Light Saber” pointer, QWERTY keyboard, and 50 activities in subjects like logic, memory, music, and more. Is your child a Jedi fighter or Darth Vader? At www.amazon.com from RO19.21.
Is your son or daughter looking to be a future rock star? Well, before you shell out hundreds of rials on a real electric guitar, let them try their skills on this Tiger Electronics’ POWER TOUR Electric Guitar first. This way it won’t break the bank should their skills be a little off-key. Much like Guitar Hero, it features touch sensors with LED lights and dual-function knobs instead of strings. The future rock star can choose to learn how to play the 12 pre-loaded songs or plug in their MP3 player to jam to their favourite hits. In case you’re worried about being drowned out by the sound your child will subject you to, don’t worry, there’s a headphone jack. Available in black or white from RO26.91. You can boost the sound with the POWER TOUR Amp, which sells for RO19.22 and is sold separately. At www.amazon.com.
App of the week:
With the Rocket Builder app, kids and toddlers are able to construct their own rockets. Once they’re finished and ready to launch, they can fly into space with their self-constructed rocket. Perfect for kids aged two to five. Ideal for iPhone and iPAD. Available at www. apple.com/iTunes.com.
Meet Bo & Yana. Bo is the explorer while Yana is the storyteller. Together, these clever robots help your child from the age of five upwards to learn visual programming and develop basic problem-solving skills. Children can also teach the robot to play the xylophone, deliver packages, play hide-and-seek or tag, and go on various adventures. The visual programming language that is used by the system, is Scratch and Blockly, which was developed by MIT and Google. Older learners over 12 are encouraged to build iOS and Android applications, and share their innovations with others online. At www.amazon.com from RO109.22.