These robots also can be programmed to move around rooms, one way for kids to learn programming.

Robots are fun to build for most kids. These robots also can be programmed to move around rooms, one way for kids to learn programming. They’re also fun for parents to try with their kids or for older kids to master on their own.

Dash and Dot

These cute round robots from the Wonder Workshop are for kids elementary school age. Kids play with them to have fun and learn about technology. The Dash and Dot robots can be programmed with Blockly, a fairly easy language to master like Scratch. With Blockly you create a step, for example, play a sound, then define the sound as a lion roar. The combination of steps determines how the robot will move, when it will move, and what it will do.

LEGO Mindstorms

Take the LEGO idea — easy to snap together parts to build things — and add icon based programming, wheels, legs, and other mobile pieces and you have LEGO Mindstorms. While you can build simple robots, it’s more fun to build more complicated robots to do things and perform tasks. They can respond to touch and controlled by a remote control. Mindstorms also includes an active online community with lots of ideas to try.


A simple roll along kids toy with blocks that can be pushed into the top of the toy to control its behavior. The blocks represent simple concepts such as on and off, conditions, lights on or off, and sound on or off. Kids use their hands to make the robot work.


Created by the Carnegie Mellon’s CREATE lab, this bird shaped robot is designed for computer science education. The Finch can move around and flash lights in response to code. Supports a dozen programming languages and environments so kids from Kindergarten and older can use code to direct the robot.

Sphero and Ollie

A cute set of rolling robots, you control them with a phone or tablet. The robots change color and race around rooms and hallways. They’re lots of fun to play with out of the box. Motivated kids can program these robots, as well.

Learn More


Dash and Dot

Sphero and Ollie


LEGO Mindstorms


  • Tim Slavin

    Tim is an award-winning writer and technologist who enjoys teaching tech to non-technical people. He has many years experience with web sites and applications in business, technical, and creative roles. He and his wife have two kids, now teenagers, who are mad about video games.

Also In The October 2015 Issue

October 2015 Issue: Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things (IoT) connects dumb devices like refrigerators to the internet and uses software to connect them to our daily lives.

There are many operating systems for internet of things devices, from existing software used to control electronic boards to efforts by Google and Apple.

Disney Infinity 3.0, Rocket League, and Super Mario Maker are three fun video games to consider for the 2015 holiday season

You can learn a little software programming and have lots of fun with any number of coding apps available for your phone or tablet computer.

Operating system software is a key part of all computers. But what are they and how do they work?

Learning how to make kittens with JavaScript is a great way to learn how to use the free Chrome web browser to practice and learn JavaScript.

Working through a book can help parents learn programming with their kids or kids learn on their own.

Board games and card games are some of the best ways to learn about programming. You don't need a computer. Play as a family or group.

These robots also can be programmed to move around rooms, one way for kids to learn programming.

Six women were hired to use their math skills to program the ENIAC computer. They called themselves The First Programmers Club.

Nicky is a Linguistics major who learned coding skills to further her research. She's also finished a PhD, won a few big awards, and co-founded Grok Learning.

Two women created an innovative online service to teach teenage girls how to code by using video.

The new Rust programming language is designed to solve problems with operating systems and fix issues with C and other languages.

Data can become alive and pose questions as well as reveal answers to questions we have.

Links from the bottom of all the articles in this issue, collected in one place for you to print, share, or bookmark.

DRY is an acronym for Don't Repeat Yourself. It's a critical programming concept and skill to learn.

Interesting news stories about computer science, software programming, and technology for August and September 2015.

CoderDojo is a free after school club for kids ages 7-17 where kids, parents, mentors, and others play with technology and learn to code.

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