News: Tek4Kidz online app making course free giveaway September 4, 2017

News: Tek4Kidz online app making course free giveaway September 4, 2017

Tek4Kidz

 

PRESS RELEASE:  TEK4KIDZ ONLINE APP MAKING COURSE FREE GIVEAWAY, ONE DAY ONLY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2017 AT TEK4KIDZ.COM

Cerritos, CA (September 1, 2017) –Tek4Kidz.com, an online educational tech company, is offering a trial version of their kid-tested, mom-approved coding course as a free giveaway. For one day only – September 4, 2017 – you can sign-up to receive unlimited access to one of their online coding courses. Regularly priced at $149 US, this is an incredible offer. . Through their innovative approach to teaching coding, Tek4Kidz is revolutionizing the industry in their quest to make coding easily accessible to all kids.  Within a safe and unintimidating interface, kids can work at their own pace as they gain confidence and familiarity with the programming environment.  Geared toward the 7 to 12 age range, the lessons are bite-sized, fun and highly interactive, implementing the apprenticeship approach, where kids learn how to code from the outside in.

From the very first lesson, kids will be coding, creating apps and fostering their natural excitement for the world of computer programming.  Best of all, when their projects are finished, they can run their creations on any Apple or Android device with the free Tek4Kidz App Launcher, available on iTunes or Google Play!

For one day only, you can get the trial version of their coding course absolutely free.  This includes unlimited online access allowing kids to tinker and play to their heart’s content.  The regular version is valued at $149, so this free giveaway is something you don’t want to miss out on.  But hurry, the free giveaway is only available on September 4, 2017.

To take advantage of this free offer, go to https://www.tek4kidz.com/promo/playground.

Tek4Kidz Commercial from Schwan Park on Vimeo.

Looking for more #STEAM and #STEM offerings – check out our holiday gift guide.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.
 Review & Giveaway:  Puzzlets Starter Pack with Cork the Volcano Programming Game

Review & Giveaway: Puzzlets Starter Pack with Cork the Volcano Programming Game



box-hero

What we love…

Combines physical toy and fun interactive video game that teaches coding as they play

What we’d love to see…

Even more games (2 are scheduled to be released in 2017)

Summary

Puzzlets is a great, educational, #STEM /#STEAM toy that combines technology and hands on play to inspire creative problem solving skills.

Our Rating

 

recommended-by-the-imums

Puzzlets from Digital Dream Labs is a hands-on physical toy that allows children from Kindergarten age upwards to learn coding principles whilst playing. The starter pack includes  a Bluetooth enabled play tray and 22 programming Puzzlets plus a Cork the Volcano video game which can be played on an iPhone, iPad, Mac or Android smartphone/ tablet.  Two more games – Abacus Finch (Math) and Swatch Out (Color Theory) are due to be launched via Kickstarter in January 2017.

The target age range of Puzzlets is 6-10 so I had my nine year-old son act as my tester – he really enjoyed playing with it, and his thirteen-year-old brother was fascinated by it too and kept wanting to “help!” We tested it using an iPad Air 2.

Set Up

Puzzlets is compatible with iOS, Android and Mac OS X. To play you first need to download the free Cork the Volcano app from Google Play or iTunes or the Mac App Store.

Next you charge the Puzzlets Play Tray using the included USB cable and when it is charged connect to your device. When playing on the Mac you connect the Play Tray via the USB cable, for an Android tablet or iPad you connect via Bluetooth.

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In Use

Once you have set up the Puzzlets the first time it is really simple for kids to start playing without any adult help. The Play Tray automatically switches off when not in use. When they want to start playing again as soon as they open the app the Puzzlets Play Tray automatically wakes up and connects to the device without the player having to do anything. They can choose to continue a saved game or start a new one.

There are 22 Puzzlet tiles which the players place in the play tray to control the characters on screen and thus use them to solve a variety of challenges. These tiles each represent a snippet of code.

There are 3 types of tile:

Commands: These are main moves:

  • Move Left (3)
  • Move Right (3)
  • Jump (4)
  • Stop(2)

Modifiers: These  enhance the command tiles

  • (+) Intensify (3)
  • (-) Lessen (3)
  • (x2) Double (1)
  • (x3) Triple (1)

Characters: These let them switch between 3 characters with different powers

  • Rus the Gator (1)- walks over gaps
  • Hippo the Hedgehog (1)- fits through gaps
  • Sydney (1)- jumps high

As the kids work their way through the levels the different tiles are introduced and they are taught how to use them.  They can then solve the levels using any combination of code tiles. The commands are read in the order they are placed in the tray- like reading a book from left to right, top to bottom.

Puzzlets is designed to be used alone or in co-operation with another child or adult. In solving a level the first step is to work out what commands to use and in what order. Once the player is happy with the commands, they press the play icon on the bottom right of the screen. The character then performs the first command and continues following it until they tap the screen again to change to the next command they have programmed.

Solving a level involves not only problem solving in creating the correct combination of commands, but also timing and hand eye co-ordination in deciding when to switch to the next programmed command. I love how it combines both an on screen game and a physical manipulative toy and that the players need to use both together to solve the puzzles. There is no one “right way” to solve each level, the child can use their own problem solving skills to find a method that works for them. To beat a level they need to overcome obstacles to collect a puzzle piece, there is also an additional challenge of trying to collect as many water droplets as they can whilst completing the levels.

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My kids love Puzzlets as they are playing a fun video game with lots of levels to beat, I love Puzzlets because without realizing it they are also learning  basic coding skills as they play. Puzzlets are a very clever combination of an on screen video game and a physical toy that between them let the child control what the on screen characters are doing and solve challenges. This is a great, educational, #STEM /#STEAM toy that combines technology and hands on play to inspire creative problem solving skills. The target age range for Puzzlets is 6-10 years, though younger children may enjoy playing with adult help and I also found that older children (such as my 13 year-old) also enjoy it. There is a lot of replay value because it has many, many levels and you can solve each level in a variety of ways. Collecting all the water drops does add a significant extra challenge (and I haven’t yet worked out how to do this on every level!!) Two more games – Abacus Finch (Math) and Swatch Out (Color Theory) are due to be launched via Kickstarter in January. 2017.

Available from Amazon, Digital Dream Labs and other retailers  for US$99.

iTunes link: Cork The Volcano – Puzzlets – Digital Dream Labs LLC


Cork The Volcano - Puzzlets Cork The Volcano - Puzzlets by Digital Dream Labs LLC

Price: $FREE

Purchase of the Puzzlets Starter Pack required -- Contains 22 Programming Puzzlets, Play Tray, and micro USB charging cable.

Think outside the screen with a puzzling new way to play. Put Puzzlets.

 

 

Giveaway

If you would like to win a Puzzlets Starter Pack with Cork the Volcano (RRP $99.99), please enter via the widget below. Winners will be emailed and must contact The iMums within 48 hours to claim their prize. This giveaway is open to USA Only and a valid mailing address is required to claim the prize. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.

 

 

 

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).
mCookie Electronics Kits from Microduino – Review #STEM

mCookie Electronics Kits from Microduino – Review #STEM


mcookie1

What we love…

Brings Lego Builds to life. Easy to use, no soldering. Users can create ready made projects but can also build their own and learn how to change the computer program to tweak the project. Extra modules and components can be purchased individually

What we’d love to see…

All components to be Lego Compatible- this has been done in the 2nd generation mCookie shipping next month.

Summary

mCookie is a series of magnetic, stackable modules that allow you to explore electronics and  create projects that include both working electronics and Legos

recommended-by-the-imums

What do you get if you combine electronics and Lego ?  – mCookie from Microduino ! mCookie is a series of magnetic, stackable modules that allow you to explore electronics and  create projects that include both working electronics and Legos. They are simple to use, require no soldering and are sold in a variety of starter kits as well as  by individual components.  I tested the mCookie 101 Basic kit which is the simplest of the  mCookie kits available. The basic kit includes 4 modules: 1 core USB module, 1 Bluetooth 4.0 module, 1 battery management module, 1 sensor hub module; 6 sensors: 2 LED color sensors, 2 crash/impact sensors, 1 buzzer sensor, 1 microphone sensor; plus instructions for a variety of simple projects.

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To program the projects you first need to install Arduino IDE program plus the mCookie drivers on your computer, this is pretty straight forward and the directions can be found here. The kit includes a brochure with instructions for 3 projects, the mCookie website has instructions for 6 projects that can be done with the 101 kit. You can also buy additional modules and sensors individually to allow you to build more of the many mCookie projects that are listed on the website.

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To test how user friendly the projects are I had my 12 year old son do the first 2 projects without any assistance from me. For his first project he built a Lego birthday cake. When he pressed a switch it sang Happy Birthday and the candle lit up . His second project was to build a Bluetooth controlled Lego lamp with a dixie cup lampshade. Then I completed one of the projects without any help from him 🙂 I chose the Grumpy Grandpa project, which I’ll describe below to give you an idea of how the projects are done.

Grumpy Grandpa

This project uses the Microphone sensor, buzzer, switch, core module, battery module and hub module. It is designed to respond to loud noises by setting off the buzzer, which can then be turned off with the switch.

Software: The first step with all the projects is to connect the core module to your computer via the USB cable and open the Arduino IDE program. From there you can choose the Grumpy Grandpa file and download it to the Core Module. The user can just download the program and use it. However, if they want to learn more about the program and how to tweak it  they are given the information to do so. The website explains the program step by step and explains changes they can make to the program.

Hardware: The hardware set up for the project is shown both by pictures and by text. For the Grumpy Grandpa project I did notice a mistake in the written directions for the first step, although the diagram is correct.

Step 1: Use the included wires to connect the buzzer to port 6/7 of the Hub, the switch (crash sensor) to port 4/5 and the microphone to port A0/A1. The pictures show which port is which. The wires are a little fiddly to instal, so I wouldn’t recommend this for under 12’s.

Step 2: Switch on the battery box and use the wires to connect it to the Battery Module

Step 3: Stack the Battery, Core and Hub Modules. the Hub has to be on top due to the wires but the others can be in any order. The modules are magnetic to very simple to stack.

Step 4: Build your Lego Grandpa and attach the electronics. There is a picture of a sample Grandpa, but you would need some specialized pieces e.g. a 90 degree connector to make this so I built mine very differently. Both my son and I had some difficulties with connecting the projects to the Lego. The Modules are easy to build legos on top of as their top surfaces are Lego compatible, the lower surfaces need to use connectors. There are 4 connectors included – you need 2 to connect the battery box and 2 to connect the stack of modules. You can purchase extras on the mCookie website, but would be nice if spares were included because if you lose one, as my son did, it becomes tricky to connect the project to your Lego Build. The sensors are also not Lego compatible so we found it tricky to get then to stay in place well without resorting to using tape. mCookie has addressed this problem with the sensors in the second generation of the mCookie kits by making the sensors also Lego compatible.

Pricing and availability:

The 101 kit is sold out and being replaced by the updated 102 kit. The second generation mCookie kits including mCookie 102 kit and the Itty Bitty City are currently available on Indiegogo for a substantial discount. The 102 Kit is 42% off at $52 and the Itty Bitty City is $79. The Itty Bitty City brings even more Lego builds to life including making remote controlled vehicles. After the Indiegogo is over the new kits will be available via the Microduino website.

Summary

mCookie is a series of magnetic, stackable modules that allow you to explore electronics and create projects that include both working electronics and Legos. In the first generation kits e.g. the 101 that we tested the modules are Lego Compatible but the sensor are not, this has been fixed in the second generation kits e.g. 102 which are due to ship next month. These kits are a great way to get Middle School and High School students engaged in building electronics projects without soldering. They allow them to bring Lego builds to life and to learn how to change the computer program that controls the project- fun and creative STEM education. I have been using the kit as part of our STEM projects for homeschooling my 7th grader.

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly. Reviews may include affiliate links.

 

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).
Connected Camps Free Kid Club Minecraft Server- a Safe, Fun Place for #Minecraft Fans

Connected Camps Free Kid Club Minecraft Server- a Safe, Fun Place for #Minecraft Fans

kid-playing-minecraft

My 9 year-old son, Mr A, like many kids, LOVES Minecraft and especially loves playing with other kids. He plays multi-player games with his siblings and friends when they are together, and has been asking for a long time to play online. I have been concerned about potential safety issues connecting online with strangers, so I have been reluctant to allow him to play online. That was before we discovered Kid Club – a free moderated Minecraft Server especially for kids from Connected Camps. Kid Club is specifically for kids age 8-15 years and is a moderated server that I feel is a safe online space for him to connect with other kids who also love Minecraft.

I first discovered our sponsor Connected Camps earlier this year when they contacted The iMums to tell us about their Summer of Minecraft camps. It is an online learning platform that offers online Minecraft programs- summer camps, after school courses, online mentoring and special events; as well as access to safe, moderated Minecraft servers for kids. Connected Camps was founded by 3 girl geeks with a mission: to make coding and digital arts accessible and fun for all kids.

Mr A took Connected Camps Survival Camp in July this year and LOVED it so much he has already made me promise to sign him up again next year! After his camp he asked to join Kid Club. Because we had such a positive experience with the camp I was happy to let him join. Signing up was very simple and it took about 24 hours to get approved to join. You do need to provide a credit card number so they can check your identity, but it doesn’t cost anything. Since then he has become a regular Kid Club member. His favorite parts are that he can play with other kids outside his immediate family and friends, plus he loves to trade resources with other players in the bazaar. He’s happy because he can play Minecraft with other kids and I’m happy because I feel Kid Club is a safe place to let him share his passion for Minecraft with other kids.

Kids can use the Kid Club server for free play or they can join in structured activities to learn new skills and interact with other kids and counselors with similar interests. In just the next week there are over 20 Kid Club events on the calendar including carving giant pumpkins, architecture club, engineering club, carnival build, castle capture the flag and many more- all free !

For kids who want to learn more Minecraft skills Connected Camps also offers a variety of  online Minecraft programs including topics such as coding, game design and engineering. They have after school programs, one on one mentoring, holiday courses and one- off workshops. These do have a fee, but I think they are very reasonably priced e.g. a 2hr Dungeon Design Workshop is $9.99

Reasons to love Kid Club

  • Safe, moderated, kid only server
  • Fun new events
  • Free
  • Open daily from 12-6pm PST
  • Opportunities to interact with other Minecraft loving kids
  • Opportunities to try new things and learn new skills
  • Easy access to Minecraft workshops, courses and tutoring for players wanting to expand their skills (*fee for this)

For families looking for a safe online environment for their kids to play Minecraft with other kids I would highly recommend Kid Club. Not only is it moderated, safe and for kids only, but it’s free too !

 

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NOTE: Connected Camps sponsored this article, but it is based on my family’s real experiences with the company and all opinions expressed in the article are my own.

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

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