This year is the year of the robot for N. His favourite subject at school is maths, and has been introduced to basic coding at school. So STEM toys like the Mind designer robot we were sent to review go down well with him.
The Mind robot is aimed at children 7+ years old. With both voice, button or app control, there’s options for children of any age.
Part of the Science Museum range from Clementoni, the box includes not only the robot, but also 3 pens, sheets of A3 paper, an instruction booklet and a double sided play mat for the EDU mode. If you run out of paper, any will do. The instructions tell you the type of pens you need if they run out or get lost.
There are 3 modes for Mind which you change between on the side of the robot, APP, EDU and FREE. N spends way too much time on the tablet and I hate having apps put on my phone, so I was pleased we could use Mind robot without needing the app.
However, the app option does bring more variety and options for control – it also allows children to draw freehand via the app. They just need to remember the coding is all based on creating block shapes, so their drawings will be based on shapes.
Coding with Mind
Like many males, N launched straight in while I read the instructions. He went straight for the drawing in free mode. Putting a pen in the hole on the top and placing the robot on a piece of the paper, you can draw either shapes or pictures. We tried using the buttons to pick shapes, but N was more interested in doing it via the voice control.
For voice control, there are lists to tell you the shapes and what to say. The instructions are easy to follow and it doesn’t take a lot of time to get used to what you need to ask. At first, Mind wouldn’t do what N said, only my instructions, but N got the hang of it and then there was no stopping him. He wasn’t impressed with the pictures of trees, fish and pencils to start with. They’re all shape based, so when he realised that restriction, he was happy again.
Next up was the EDU mode. This one gives children a choice between maths and maze mode. N was keener on the maths mode because he could grasp this more easily. With the yellow maths side of the playmat, the Mind robot tells you the end goal, and you have to answer the maths questions and code the actions on the robot (either by pressing the buttons or voice controlled) to move to the correct answer.
As well as sums, Mind also asks you to reach certain shapes to give a bit more variety. N enjoy playing the EDU mode. He was getting up to work out the steps he needed to programme into the robot, and he was really pleased when he got it right each time. The more he gets up the higher up the 3 levels he can get meaning the robot grows with him.
The blue side of the playmat is a maze based game. You have to direct the robot out from the maze while avoiding the lasers. This is harder than the maths side, so N wasn’t as keen, but it’s good he’s got something to work at as he progresses playing.
The app will be next on our list to try out. N already enjoys making the robot do what he wants drawing wise, and the app will let him do more of that, as well as play more games.
What we like about Mind Designer robot
- The different modes giving more variety of play and learning
- Different levels of games, grows with children
- Helps children with their shapes and to see how shapes make up different objects
- It’s educational helping with mental arithmatic and logic and solution planning.
The Mind designer Robot would be good for both boys and girls, with children under 7 also being able to cope with the programming instructions. It’s a solid robot, so it should last a few years of place. Just make sure you have batteries ready for when you get it. You can buy Mind Desginer Robot from Smoths or other toy stores.
Disclosure: we were send the Mind designer robot for the purpose of review.