I think I’ve just been sent the coolest toy in the world to review. It’s called the ‘Sphero Mini‘. Tech fans would have already heard of Sphero’s robotic balls and Star Wars fans will probably already love their mini ‘Star Wars’ themed robot tech. But, if you haven’t heard of Sphero before they are basically a company who focus on creating robotic and digital technology for our entertainment.
If you have an 8 year old plus, they are seriously going to want one of these. In fact, I don’t know who wants to play with it more; my daughter, myself or my fiancee.
Sphero Mini is a newish little robotic gadget. It is said to be the smallest app-enabled robotic ball in the world! All I can say is that it’s super cool and it should well and truly be at the top of any kids Christmas wish list this year. (Is it too soon to mention Christmas?)
What’s even more amazing is that we also have a Sphero Mini to giveaway to you today. If you want to enter to win, read on to find out how you can and also to find out more about why this little robot gadget is so awesome.
What Is Sphero?
Sphero Mini is the worlds smallest app-enabled robotic ball. It is packed full of teeny tiny tech and it has a little gyroscope, an accelerometer, and LED lights. If you haven’t worked it out yet, basically this little robot ball moves. On your command! And there are so many cool ways to play with it. You can drive it, play games with it, learn to code and so much more.
The Sphero Mini comes in a little box with a USB charging cable, some mini cones and some coloured skittles, so you can start playing with it right away.
The little ball reminds me a little bit of ‘snooker balls’, but it’s a little bit smaller and way more light weight.
We were sent the ‘orange’ Sphero Mini. But, you can also buy different colour shells for the Sphero, to match your personality. Available so far are pink, green, white and blue.
When you turn Sphero on, you can also change the colour of the LED light, to whatever bright and bold colour you feel like. But that’s enough about how it looks. I’m sure you want to know how you play with this gadget.
Playing With Sphero
To use the Sphero Mini you simply download one of two apps on your phone; Sphero Mini and/or Sphero Edu. Whichever app you’re using, the app instantly picks up Sphero and asked you to rotate the LED light on the ball until its facing you. This is so that you can configure the robot to move in the right direction.
There are so many different fun ways to pay with Sphero. You can drive him via the joystick on the app, using your finger. This is Evie’s favourite way to play with him so far.
You can also drive him with your face using the new Face Drive™ feature. Basically, your different facial expressions will make him move in different directions. For example a sad face will make him zoom forward and a happy face will make him come back.
Another way you can play with him is with your voice. For example, if you’re really loud he’ll run away from you.
You can also use the ball as a video game controller and can move it to shoot your way through space, to race or to destroy a polygon of bricks. All of these games come built into the app and more can be added over time.
My favourite way to play with the Sphero Mini though, is to programme it using coding. To do this you’ll need the ‘Sphero Edu’ app instead of the ‘Sphero Mini’ app. Using this app you can map out a route for Sphero using code and watch him go. This is also a great way to teach kids coding and it’s so much fun to see what Sphero can do.
Our Thoughts On Sphero
We absolutely love using Sphero. It is aimed at anyone 8 years+, but Evie, who has just turned four, has been using it, supervised by us. We have honestly had so much fun playing with this little robotic ball. I really love all the different ways it can be played with. Not only is it teaching Evie cause and effect, but it’s also helping her with her hand eye-co ordination, showing her how to be gentle and also introducing her to the basics of coding!
I’m so amazed already by how much she has picked up and learnt from using this Sphero Mini and I know it’s something we’re all going to be playing with for years to come.
For now, we keep setting up cones for her, so she can try and move the ball around them, without knocking them over. We also keep setting up the skittles so she can play bowling with it (easier than it sounds).
This is really teaching her to focus on her hand-eye co-ordination and we’ve really noticed a change in how careful she is being. So far she has managed to get the ball around the cones one time. But, I am so impressed with this, because even I struggle to control it.
Learning To Code With Sphero Mini
What I’m most excited about, is that this ball is going to teach Evie the basics of coding. I’ve tried out the Sphero Edu app for myself this week. But, this weekend we’re sitting down with her and we’re going to try and teach her how to code a little. I can’t wait to see how she does and to see if this sparks a new interest for her.
Teaching kids to code seems to be high on the agenda in the UK at the moment and I love that this is a fun way to learn those skills
Sphero Edu is designed for complete beginners and for learner progression, so your kids can ‘grow’ their skills with it. Using the app, beginner coders can command the Sphero Mini by drawing a path in the app for the robot to follow.
Here’s a little video that shows you more about it:
So, how do you fancy winning a Sphero Mini of your very own? Sphero are very kindly running a giveaway with us.
To enter to win, simply fill in the rafflecopter below. Life Unexpected is also running a whole month of giveaways at the moment, so head over to our ‘Blog Giveaways‘ page to see what else you can win.
Sphero Mini’s retail at £49.99 and are available from most good tech stores. I feel like they are worth way more than that though, especially with how much you can learn from using them. Plus, they are great for both kids and grown ups alike. You can find out more on their website.
What do you thing of Sphero Mini? Would you or your kids love this little robot ball? Let me know in the comments below.
*We were sent a Sphero Mini for the purpose of this review, all opinions are honest and our own.