Playing and Learning with Dash & Dot, Robots that Teach Kids How to Code

Wonder Workshop was kind enough to send us complimentary samples of they’re products.  All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

One thing in life that makes me very, very happy is finding a toy that my kids will absolutely love, but that also has educational value.  I am so excited to share something with you today that my kids (and I) have fallen in love with, courtesy of Wonder Workshop.

Wonder Workshop Logo

Wonder Workshop has created personal robots (yes, robots!) called Dash & Dot, and I am absolutely certain both you and your children will love them.

Dot and Dash

Dash & Dot aren’t just electric toys that drive around and make noise.  They are smart, they are capable, and they are designed as a development platform to help your kids learn programming and coding skills in a way that is super easy and super fun.  Dash & Dot can sense their environment and can be programmed wirelessly using a touch device like an iPad.  If this sounds a little confusing, I understand.   But believe me, after you watch this video, you will totally get it (and if you’re like me, you’ll be ridiculously excited about it):

 

See what I mean?  Children ages 5 and up have a terrific opportunity to have fun and learn the basics of coding.  As you saw in the video (and already knew), computer science is a non-negotiable skill for our children.  Most of us didn’t have the opportunity to play with (and program) robots at age 5, but our kids are beginning a lifelong relationship with computers and programming from an early age.  Even for kids who will never go into the computer science field, computer literacy and problem solving skills are critical.  Your future artists, teachers, lawyers, nurses, et al., will find themselves in a world where the skills Dash & Dot can teach them will be undeniably necessary.

Let me share a bit of what Dash & Dot can do.  Dash is an explorer, a mover and shaker.  Dash drives around, senses objects, hears and responds to sounds, and comes to life with sound, lights, and head motion.  Dot is an instigator.  Dot responds to how it is moved, sends signals for Dash to see where it is, hears and responds to sounds, and transforms with sounds, lights, and imagination.  When put together, that means a world of fun and learning.

There are several apps already available for kids to learn with Dash & Dot.  At my house, we are loving the Xylo app.

Dash Playing the Xylophone

Dash has an actual xylophone accessory!  Unlike other toys, your child won’t be the one playing the instrument; instead, he or she will use the app to compose songs and program Dash to move around while playing the music.  Here’s a sneak peek of the Xylo app interface:  it’s easy for your kids to coordinate movement with music.

Xylo App

How cool is that?  So cool.  Not only can your children write their own songs, they can program a robot to turn the composition into a live show.  This app teaches sequencing and loops.

We’ve also been playing with the Bunny Ears accessory for Dot.  (They work for both Dot and Dash, and give either robot a cute new look). [Read more…]


Choosing the Right Light Bulb + GE Lighting Home Makeover Giveaway!

This post is brought to you by GE Lighting.

You know that feeling when you walk into the light bulb aisle, and suddenly you’re overwhelmed at the huge wall of bulb choices?  That’s how I feel, anyway.  What wattage do I need?  Will this bulb work in both my lamp and ceiling fan?  Was I supposed to get LED?  Is soft white the color I wanted?

You get the picture.  Shopping for light bulbs stresses me out, and I know I’m not the only one.

GE LogoIf you’re like me and wondered if a “Light Bulbs for Dummies” book exists, I have the next best thing:  some great infographics and informational videos directly from GE, all of which have really helped me understand all those options I’ve found while bulb shopping.

To make it easier to understand which bulbs are best for your homes, GE has broken the process down into an easy-to-understand process.  I say this in all seriousness:  thank you, GE, for explaining the difference in bulb brightness and energy features, because I’ve always had trouble with it.

So let’s get started with a look at GE’s guide to your perfect light bulb!

Step 1:  Choose the Right Fit 

The shape of the bulb is important.  You might need a standard-shaped bulb for a lamp, a candle-shaped bulb for a chandelier, or a large globe shaped bulb for a bathroom vanity.  Not sure exactly how to determine the difference between a standard- and globe-shaped bulb, or want to make sure you’ve been using the proper bulbs for your lighting sources, check out this quick video:

 

Step 2:  Choose the Right Brightness  

In the old days, you could look at the light bulb packaging and see “60 watts” and know exactly what that meant.  No more!  You can get the same amount of brightness from fewer watts of energy, but instead of looking at the number of watts, we’re looking for the lumens (technical measure of brightness).  Eighty percent of the cost of lighting your home is the electricity cost, and knowing how to recognize the difference between watts and lumens will teach you how to reduce the cost of lighting your home dramatically.  Here’s another video to learn how to find the amount of brightness you need:

 

Step 3:  Select Energy Savings & Lifetime

The incandescent bulbs of yore were notorious for burning out quickly, but that’s not the case anymore.  There are new technological features that increase durability.  For hard-to-reach bulbs, you’ll want to look for a “Long Life” bulb to reduce the number of times you have to struggle to change them, which also means the bulb must be durable.  For lights that are typically left on for long periods of time, you’ll want “Energy Saving” bulbs to keep electricity costs down.  Fortunately GE’s LED bulbs provide the durability, long life, and cost efficiency you’re looking for, all in one bulb.  And there’s that phrase that always confuses me:  “LED bulb”.  What exactly is that?  Take a quick look at this infographic to learn how LED bulbs work and compare to other models:

A Revolution in Lighting

click to view larger

 

Step 4:  Choose the Right Color & Effect

After you’ve figured out your brightness, style, and energy needs, you can choose a color and effect!  The rooms in your house probably have different lighting needs.  Soft white bulbs offer warm, comforting light (great for bedrooms), while GE reveal® bulbs provide a clean white light to make colors and patterns pop (great for bathrooms and kitchens).  They really “light up your life” (pun intended). To learn more about how color choice can affect your rooms, this infographic provides some perfect examples:

GE Lighting

click to view larger

 

To learn more about GE and GE reveal® bulbs, make sure to look at the GE website or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

To celebrate the New Year, GE Lighting is offering a giveaway for a home lighting makeover experience! This is a great opportunity to switch out your old dingy lighting with beautiful lighting options from GE Lighting’s soft white, LED, or reveal® bulb line.

You can enter here to win one of these three great GE Lighting Home Makeover packages:

  • Beautify House Makeover Package – $200 worth of GE bulbs
  • Beautify Room Makeover Package – $100 worth of GE bulbs
  • Bathroom Makeover Package – $30 worth of GE bulbs

GE Lighting is providing the product for this giveaway to help you learn about the different light bulbs available, as the plethora of options can seem daunting at times.  Enter through the Rafflecopter form below for a chance to win one of the GE Lighting Home Makeover packages.  Giveaway is open to US residents only and ends at 12 PM PST on January 30th, 2015.  Good luck!

GE Lighting Home Makeover Giveaway

[Read more…]


Free 2015 Printable Monthly Calendar

Hello, friends!  Because we think you’re wonderfully special and are so happy that you visit our blog, we have a gift just for you today!

calendar logo2

Just for Game on Mom readers, we created a fun (and free!) printable calendar for 2015!  This pretty little thing will carry you from January to December on a lovely bed of flowers.

To download this free printable calendar, just click here!  

Your monthly calendar is designed to print perfectly on standard 8.5 x 11 printer paper.  You can print directly from the download screen, or save it to your computer to print later!

We hope you enjoy this little freebie, and make sure to keep an eye out for future free digital printables.  (Try saying that 3 times fast, because I can’t).

Thanks again for being friends of Game on Mom – we appreciate you very much.  Here’s to a fantastic 2015!

Please note, we’ve created this free printable monthly calendar as a gift for our friends and readers.  We only ask the following:

Please do not distribute this digital work on other websites or claim it as your own work.  If you would like to share with friends of your own blog, please direct them to this blog post.  Game on Mom maintains full ownership of this work, and we ask that all credit should be given via this direct link.  Thank you for your cooperation, and please enjoy your calendar!

 


Maggie Bags Campus Tote at The Ultimate Green Store + $25 GC Giveaway!

Mama's Got a New Look Giveaway Hop 2015We just rang in 2015 and with a New Year comes the chance to develop a new YOU!

Welcome to the [3rd Annual] Mama’s Got a New Look Giveaway Hop Event. A fabulous group of bloggers have come together to give all you special, deserving Mamas a chance at a New Look for the New Year so be sure to hop around to all the blogs participating at the bottom of this post.

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If you’re an eco-conscious consumer, there is a good chance you are already familiar with The Ultimate Green Store (TUGS), who is graciously sponsoring our addition to this fun event.

The Ultimate Green Store Logo

TUGS offers a wide variety of eco-friendly products for your home, your office, and your family.  With all of their natural, organic, recycled, and sustainable options, they’re the ultimate destination for the green buyer.  At The Ultimate Green Store, you can rest assured that anything you purchase will be eco-friendly and fabulous, like the Recycled Seatbelt Campus Tote Bag from Maggie Bags that they recently sent me.

Maggie Bags Campus Tote in Light GrayThis is not my first experience with Maggie Bags; I fell in love with the concept after reading about it on another blog a few years ago and just had to have one.  Every year, enormous amounts of seat belt webbing go unused by auto makers because it’s been rejected for minor issues, such as color variations.  Maggie Bags takes this unwanted but still useful material and creates stylish and practical handbags, totes, and accessories.

As you know, seat belt webbing is designed to protect you in the event of an accident, so the material is amazingly durable.  That’s definitely a feature you want in a bag!  I’ve had my original bag for two years now; I’ve used it in all kinds of conditions, and it still looks new.  This sturdy bag can certainly take a beating (or ten).

Let’s talk functionality.  The Campus Tote is a large shoulder bag that will hold a lot of stuff yet manages to never feel bulky.  (I’ve got everything from a Kindle to a penguin in mine, and there is still plenty of room for more.)  The pretty, purple-lined interior features three pockets:  a zippered pocket, a key pocket, and a cell phone pocket.  Four nickel-plated feet keep your bag from ever touching the dirty and potentially damaging ground.  The feet, combined with the flat bottom of the bag, keep the tote upright when you want to set it down somewhere.  No more tipped-over totes!  My favorite thing about this bag is that it zips closed at the top to protect your items from the elements or from falling out.  (I’m famous for dropping things.)

Maggie Bags Campus Tote

The Campus Tote is both functional and fashionable, and like all Maggie Bags, it also makes a great conversation piece.  When people see my bag for the first time, they are just fascinated by the idea and want to know everything about it.  Being a big supporter of all things green, I’m more than happy to oblige. 

I hope to add more Maggie Bags to my collection soon; both the Cicily Tote and the Small Tote Handbag have caught my eye.  Which of the Maggie Bags do you like best?  All of the ones I’ve mentioned (and more) can be found at The Ultimate Green Store, along with a huge selection of fashion and beauty products made with your health and the health of the planet in mind.  You deserve a new look; let’s make it eco-friendly too!

To help you get started building your new, “green” look for the new year, The Ultimate Green Store is generously offering Game On Mom readers a chance to win a $25 gift card.  Open to US residents who are 18 and older.  Ends 1/29/15 at 11:59 EST.  Good luck, and happy hopping!The Ultimate Green Store $25 Gift Card Giveaway [Read more…]


Free Peekapak Curricula at Educents & a Giveaway with 10 Winners!

Educents and Peekapak are teaming up to offer you, for a very limited time, FREE access to their new Kindergarten, Grade 1, Grade 2, and Homeschool curricula, all of which are focused on the topic of gratitude.

Access the free curricula here:  http://bit.ly/educents-freebies

Free Educents Curricula
Teachers, parents, and children love the original storybook, activities, and lessons included!

I repeat:  this is a limited time offer.  It could be over as early as tomorrow, so don’t miss out on this great opportunity.  (I’m going to grab the Kindergarten curriculum for my daughter now!)

Peekapak is also generously offering 10 Game On Mom readers access to 6 months of their curriculum for free!  Enter via the Giveaway Tools form below.  Open to US residents who are 18 and older.  Ends 1/28/15.  Good luck! [Read more…]