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Sphero Sprk: Hands-on Programming and Robotics for Kids

Introduce kids to programming and robotics with the Sphero Sprk!

The Sphero Sprk is my favorite hands-on programming and robotics toy for kids! We reviewed the Sphero 2.0 last year, and this year we were sent the Sphero SPRK. As you can tell from the photo above, it was a BIG hit with the kids!

 Foundation of Robotics & Prototyping

The Sphero SPRK takes everything I loved about the Sphero 2.0 and makes it better. This sturdy robot now has a see-through casing, which allows the kids to see some of the mechanics that make the robot work. The new SPRK app (free to download from both the Itunes and Google Play stores) uses a drag and drop style of programming that is so straightforward that even three-year-old Anna can use it with help from me or one of the older kids. My first grader, second grader, and fourth grader are able to do this completely on their own.

Hands-on programming for kids with the Sphero Sprk

Of course, there is a lot of coding that is happening behind these simple tiles! See that circle in the top right corner of the above screen shot? If you tap it, you get to see the true program text, written in Sphero’s own C-based language called OVAL.

Programming the Sphero Sprk

My husband is a computer scientist, and thanks to the Sphero SPRK app, my kids are finally understanding some of what he does! My husband’s students write code that controls little quadcopters that we sometimes take the kids to watch. Now they understand why that text on the screen impacts the way those quadcopters interact with their environment.

learning-sphero-sprk

The kids also use Sphero to explore their environment. It can even go under water! The kids enjoy putting our Sphero SPRK (appropriately named “Tek” in different containers to see how the movement creates different noises when you combine it with different materials.

Nine-year-old Emma is a robot rights activist, and she likes to program Tek the Sphero SPRK to act happy or sad based on the types of environments the other kids put him in. This is considered a rich environment for Tek, if you were wondering.

learn-with-sphero-sprk

Have you ever played with one of the Sphero robots? My kids think the BB-8 Star Wars themed robot looks incredibly awesome.

I am an Orbotix Ambassador. This post is part of a sponsored campaign. I received compensation for my participation, but my review and opinions are my own.

MaryAnne lives is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

11 thoughts on “Sphero Sprk: Hands-on Programming and Robotics for Kids”

  1. My kids really loved the first version of the Sphero! This looks great!!! I’ll add it to my holiday gift guide with a link to your post if that is ok! Thanks!!

  2. That looks awesome! I’ve been thinking about getting Dash and Dot for awhile now, but my biggest issue was that they look kind of baby-ish. I love the way the Sphero SPRK looks and moves. It’s even a little less expensive. I think I might end up getting this for my son for Christmas. Thanks for the review!

  3. I’ve never seen these before. That’s so cool that you can see the code going on. In our ever growing world of computers, that is so beneficial for kids to learn coding!

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