Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Dot Creativity Kit

Dot Creativity Kit

Fall 2017 Toys
Ages: 6 - 10 yrs.
Manufacturer: Wonder Workshop
Price: $79.99

The Dot Creativity Kit from Wonder Workshop presents the adorable, friendly Dot the robot with a wide range of accessories to encourage kids to play and program expressively. Dot is a seemingly simple sphere, unable to move on her own -- yet we found ourselves saying "her" because it seems so inadequate to call a toy with so much personality a mere "it." Dot can speak using built-in expressions and recorded sounds; she provides additional interactivity through lights and buttons and through motion, touch, and sound sensors. All of these are controlled through one of three different mobile device apps from the developers: Go, Blockly, and Wonder.

The Go app provides direct control over sounds and lights, and the Blockly app allows detailed, open-ended programming of all the sensors, buttons, and lights. The primary app for Dot, however, is Wonder. Through Wonder, kids can participate in open-ended free play, load a range of pre-written programs, or follow a Scroll Quest series of programming challenges to learn Dot's full range of possibilities.

The Creativity Kit includes numerous accessories: a squishy case (which looks something like a Koosh ball), connectors to LEGO-style bricks, a wrap to convert Dot into an adjustable mood lamp, a cube box, stickers, and costume pieces. In addition, the set includes a set of 20 project cards that provide games and activities that direct creative play with the kit pieces though downloadable, customizable programs. These project cards were an ideal way to explore Dot's possibilities right out of the box. Dot can become a customizable fortune teller (like a Magic 8 Ball), a hot potato, a disco ball, a talking six-sided die, or even the basis for a range of practical jokes (a particular favorite!).

In many hours of play, we still felt as though we had only scratched the surface of Dot's capabilities. We giggled over the sound libraries and then added our own to the lists. We made Dot's one eye flash in colorful patterns and played games that had us hopping all over the room. Dot is so easy for beginners but offers challenges that will appeal even to teens. This is a clever and smart toy that provides limitless creative play and learning.

Emily Crawford   ©2017 Parents' Choice
Emily holds a BSE in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University and a Master's in computer engineering from Georgia Tech. She is a homeschooling parent and lives with her husband, three children, five cats, and thousands of LEGOs in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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