Today’s review is for a new toy, Dash from the Wonder Workshop. I originally saw Dash on my facebook feed around Christmas, and I just knew we had to give it a try. Dash is advertised as a “first programmable robot” for kids, and I am always in the search of educational STEM toys to use in our homeschool.
Dash works by interacting with your smartphone or tablet. You can download a handful of apps to use with him, and sure enough, they teach the kids to program as they interact with the robot. The interface of the apps is smooth and easy to use. First, your child will go through challenges, which are set up as a training course to teach your child, step-by-step what the robot is capable of doing. They’ll learn how to lay out the actions on the screen, how to set “triggers” (like clapping hands to start an action) and how to program a sequence of actions. They can program obstacle courses, and routines- really, the sky is the limit.
Our family has purchased our fair share of robots and remote control doo-dads, and nothing has lived up to Dash. I’ve been continually impressed with everything he does, and every day, we learn something new. For example (and this is a simple example) but today (after the kids had finished playing with him and left him sitting in the middle of the floor) I was sitting on the couch having a conversation with my husband, and the robot totally shocked me. As I spoke, he turned to face me, and blinked as he “listened” to what I said. When my husband answered, he quickly turned around to “listen” to him speak.
It is the little features, like his ability to listen to a conversation, and turn in such a way that you feel like he’s listening in that gives us the feeling that he has a personality. He laughs and plays and blinks and the kids fell in love with him quickly. We have had Dash about a month now, and the kids still beg to play with him every day. He’s held up well to four children (including one toddler who really, REALLY, wants to get his hands on it). It’s sturdy, easy to learn, and yet complicated enough to hold a ten-year-old’s attention for a month.
I feel like we have barely scratched the surface on what this little guy can do. I want to tell you ALL THE THINGS- but I only have so much room on this blog to share! Dash is an incredible toy (and I say toy with a lot of hesitation, because he’s also an amazing learning tool) and I think anyone who can have one should pick one up as a part of their curriculum next year.
The potential in this toy is huge. The Dash and Dot website has a section dedicated to teachers, where you can find lesson plans and resources to use with the toy in your home. The lesson plans include everything from learning about coordinates, mapwork, coding, algorithms, math activities and more. Some are free, and others are provided through a paid subscription. If you wanted to use Dash and the website for school, you could likely get a full years worth of material from this website.
I highly recommend you check out this toy, and add it to the wishlist for your child’s birthday! Get Dash on Amazon!