Children attending K-12 were born into a digital world. Some say that computer literacy is as foundational as reading, writing and math. Teaching code not only prepares students for STEM careers, but gives them a better understanding of machines they will interact with the rest of their lives.
2. Programming exercises multiple areas of the brain
A 2014 study found that when people work with source-code, five brain regions are activated related to language processing, working memory and attention. While more research is needed, this indicates early computational thinking can mold multiple regions of the brain.
3. Diversity in STEM begins in PreK-6
In a study conducted by Bayer, more than 77 percent of female and underrepresented minority chemists said gender and race disparity in STEM is caused by lack of encouragement to pursue STEM at an early age. By targeting basic STEM skills like coding, schools can facilitate early interest in STEM careers.
4. The world needs computer scientists
While 71 percent of all new jobs in STEM are in computing according to Code.org, only eight percent of STEM graduates studied computer science. Today’s students could fill those gaps in the job market more easily if they learn coding at an early age.
5. Coding is creative
More than just a science, coding enables students to develop important personal abilities like their sense of creativity and self-expression. When developing code, students impact the world around them while fostering problem-solving skills. Engagement soars when they see real-world connections to lessons they’re learning.
Remember that colorful cube most of us have had at least one of in our lifetime but most of us couldn’t actually do anything with it?! Sad to say I have never successfully completed a Rubik’s Cube – and not for lack of trying! Until I picked up my Cube-tastic! cube – then I had it solved in just about 1 minute! It combines this modern cube with a 3D augmented reality via free app that not only helps teach you how to solve your cube but also gives you challenges to work on!
In the summer we spend a lot of time on the road exploring the USA and Cube-tastic! is absolutely perfect for my entire family. My husband and I enjoy it as much as the kids do! And to be honest this is a GREAT product to use for quiet time in the classroom as well. It makes no noise, is extremely affordable (runs under $20), and not only encourages hand-eye coordination and memory skills but it’s great for helping to develop problem solving skills.
How do you play Cube-tastic!?
Buy your Cube-tastic! here (USE PROMO CODE Roadtrip for 15% OFF!) , then download the free app on the App Store or Google Play. The app walks you through how to learn and play with the cube! It will remind you to scramble up your cube, and then scan each color specified on the cube. Next it will walk you step by step exactly how to turn and twist the cube to solve it!
When I first started playing I began just randomly scrambling the cube then following the directions to solve it and timing myself. Now I scramble the cube, try to solve it myself, and then use the app to get the steps and complete the cube. It’s a great tactile and visual activity! You can also do specific challenges to solve in the app. Once solved it unlocks new combinations for endless play.
The cube is non-toxic and 100% BPA-free. Plus would you believe that the cube is biodegradable!? I LOVE the smooth feel of the cube and like the rounded edges so it’s not quite so boxy feeling. It’s a fantastic price and can be used in so many ways! It’s small enough to toss in your bag and travel with too!
The Cube-tastic! App is Compatible with:
iPhone 4 or newer iPad 2 or newer iPad Mini or newer iPad Pro Android smart phone 4.0.3 or newer
Let’s face it, as much as we want our kids to be playing with physical toys, it is rather inevitable that they are going to end up playing with tablets. I know as a mom, I try to place rules that limit my daughter’s screen time, as well as ensure that the games she is playing with on the family iPad are educational & meaningful.
With Pai Technology’s Augmented Reality (AR) Toys, not only do they provide an interactive educational experience, but they engage kids in such a way that they want to keep playing AND learning!
We recently got to test out two products from Pai Technology – Ocean Pets & Cube-tastic. Both toys were really neat; however since my daughter is a huge fan of fish & other sea creatures, she really took to Ocean Pets quickly.
First we read the instructions & downloaded the app. Then she used the non-toxic, food-safe putty to shape into different ocean animals.
For readers of my blog, Pai Technology is offering a special coupon code! You can check out their website here to get info on how to buy. Then use “SFVMOM25” to get 25% off of your purchase! The discount code is good now through April 30, 2017.
14. STEM Toy maker, Pai Technology, is kicking its Black Friday deals off November 20 (and running them through December 1). Expect $50 off Augie The Coding Robot ($150) and $20 off the Paiband ($50), a kid’s tracker that encourages active play.
Pai Technology is on a mission to create products for modern families to help kids play, grow and learn with technology. They have a number of different and really interesting products including Ocean Pets and Cube-Tastic! Pai Technology kindly sent us these AR enhanced toys to try at home.
In this post, we will look at the Ocean Pets activity set and will tell you more about Cube-Tastic in another post. Disclaimer: Pai Technology provided us with products to review. This is not a sponsored post and our views are always our own.
I got a hands-on demo of Ocean Pets at the recent Bett Show and loved the idea immediately. Ocean Pets is a craft activity injected with AR technology for digitally minded kids. What you end up with is a virtual aquarium with your own homemade fish swimming around in it.
So let’s find out how we got on with the Ocean Pets kit with our kids ages 6 – 10.
Ocean Pets comes in a nicely designed compact box – a perfect size for a great birthday or special occasion gift. The kit comes with 8 silicon fish-shaped moulds, a couple of crafting tools and lots of little, plastic, reusable pots of brightly coloured air drying clay – eight to be exact.
There are 4 small fish-shaped moulds and 4 larger silicon moulds. They are all numbered 1 – 8. This is important for when you get to scanning your fish into the app!
The air drying clay comes sealed to prevent drying out. Once opened and in use, the lovely plastic pots close nice and tight to keep the clay from drying out. When you run out of the clay provided in the kit, you can top-up the pots with more air drying clay.
Our kids were able to make fish with all 8 moulds twice over with the clay provided in the kit.
I love the fact that you can mix technology and craft with this kit. Tracy and I set up an Ocean Pets crafting table for our boys to make their fish using the air drying clay. At ages 6 – 10, they all enjoyed the activity. It is a perfect activity for younger kids. Ocean Pets is recommended for ages 3+.
Air drying clay is a fantastic medium for kids to craft with. It makes little mess and is easy to mould. The kids really enjoyed blending colours to make new colours and marbled effects.
The idea is that you use the mould to make your own fish. You can either try to make the fish as it is in real life, or make your own creation. The app has a tutorial on how to make each fish if you wish to make more “real” looking fish.
Once you’ve completed the fish you need to scan it into the app. Go to the app, select the number that matches your mould and scan your fish. We found holding the device at an angle works really well. The kids managed to scan all their fish without any adult support.
Let the fish dry in the mould and then you can pop it out and you have a real life pet fish to play with or make an ocean mobile or hang on your backpack.
The Ocean Pets app is free to download for iOS and Andriod devices (it’s not available on Amazon Appstore yet). We had no trouble finding and downloading it from the AppStore.
Parents may appreciate the fact that no sign up is required to use this app. Just open, scan your fish and you’re ready to play.
We were quite impressed with the accuracy of representation of the crafted fish in the virtual aquarium. The kids were delighted to see their own fish come to life in the water.
Real World Fish
Virtual World Fish
In the app, kids can learn a few facts about the types of fish in the aquarium. They can also take photos or record 10-second videos of their fish swimming in the aquarium. There’s also voice recording capabilities built into the app. Once they are happy with their aquarium, kids can use it as a picture frame or take a selfie with them in the fish tank!
Picture from app in AR mode
We did notice there were more ocean creatures in the app, which we didn’t have moulds for. It’s unclear whether there is an add-on pack to get these moulds, but it says coming soon. We’ll update the post with details soon.
Augmented Reality Experience
The Ocean Pets app introduces young kids to the ideas of augmented reality (AR). Unlike virtual reality which replaces the real world with a simulated world, AR aims to enhance your perception of reality.
We’ve seen lots of different AR apps appear recently where toy makers want to enhance kids experiences by mixing real-world objects in digital environments. Pokemon Go is just one example of AR experiences accessed by children. And there are lots more coming in 2017. (see London Toy Fair Roundup)
Ocean Pets makes it possible for kids to independently scan in a real-world object into a virtual world. Inside the app they can either watch the fish swim in the aquarium or put on some virtual goggles and swim with the fish. They can overlay this virtual world onto the space they are physically in, to experience the fish swimming around the house.
We really liked Ocean Pets, especially the idea of combining physical and virtual world activities. With this activity set, kids can have plenty of making fun and enjoy playing on a mobile device. I reckon most parents would be happy for their kids to spend time doing a digital activity like Ocean Pets.
The app is well thought through with lots of things to do and explore including some gameplay. Kids also need to nurture and care for their fish by feeding them. They do look a little sad when they have not been fed!
We think Ocean Pets is a brilliant craft kit and app for kids from ages 3+ and up (even Tracy’s 10-year old enjoyed it!) Pai Technology has done a great job with the AR (augmented reality) technology
This kit teaches kids about electricity, currents, and magnets through imaginative play. Kids can use 12 special blocks and insulated wires to build circuits and learn about electricity through the companion app. Scan in the physical circuits to view electrical flows in real time with augmented reality, follow tutorials, and play in-game puzzles.
Finally… now you can enjoy solving the Rubik’s Cube, like never before! Today I’ll tell you all about Pai Technology’s reinvented 3D puzzle cube. It’s called Cubetastic! and comes with a companion 3D Augmented Reality app that will have you whizzing through this puzzle like a pro!
We recently got to test out Cube-tastic! for ourselves. I must tell you we were quite impressed. Not only by how easy it was to solve this Rubik’s Cube-like 3D puzzle cube but also by how much fun we had doing it!
Wouldn’t you love to finally solve the Rubik’s Cube once and for all?
Big thanks to PaiTechnolgy for providing us free product to facilitate this review and for sponsoring our Cube-tastic! giveaway. As always, opinions are my own and I only share what I love and think you will too!
THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED BUT YOU CAN STILL READ ON TO LEARN MORE
And don’t forget to pin this because you’ll want to find it next time you need to buy a really cool gift for the kid in your life. Trust me!
NOW YOU CAN ENJOY SOLVING THE RUBIK’S CUBE, LIKE NEVER BEFORE!
If you’re an 80s kid like me, I’m sure you’ll recall the frustration you felt trying to solve the Rubik’s Cube. You probably spent countless hours as a kid trying to solve it! Right?
Well, I brought Cube-tastic! home and my kiddo was able to solve this cube in a matter of minutes. Mind you I spent my entire childhood trying to solve the Rubik’s Cube… and never did! Did you?
Thanks to the power of 3D Augmented Reality, Cube-tastic! combines the virtual and real world to teach kids how to solve a puzzle cube. The companion app gives kids access step-by-step tutorials and challenges that stimulate the brain and help kids master skills like never before. What’s great is that Cube-tastic! enhances problem-solving skills, improves memory, and develops eye-hand coordination as kids work through the puzzle.
Watch this video to see Cube-tastic in action! Then read on to learn more about this reinvented 3D puzzle cube and how it works with the Cube-tastic app!
Cube-tastic isn’t Your Mom and Dad’s Rubik’s Cube
As soon as you open the packaging you’ll notice that this puzzle cube doesn’t look exactly like the traditional Rubik’s Cube you grew up with, although it is solved using the same problem-solving principles.
Cube-tastic! is a 3 x 3 cube puzzle with 6 sides, each side is made up of 12 cubes with colored circles. One of six different colors appears on each side.
You’ll also immediately notice that unlike the Rubik’s Cube, the Cube-tastic! cube is largely white and the color on each square is actually a lightly textured plastic circle piece, not a sticker.
This unique puzzle cube also includes a great design — smooth edges that are perfect for little hands. It’s also made with safe, non-toxic, BPA free, durable materials! And as soon as you open your Cube-tastic! box you’ll notice how smoothly the segments move and how pleasantly unique and tactile this cube feels.
You can snatch up one of these fantastic cubes for your puzzle-loving kid on Amazon via our affiliate link (we might receive a small commission but it won’t affect the price you pay). Cube-tastic! is suggested for kids ages 3 and up although I find it most ideal for kids between ages 7 to 9.
It’s also great for any big kid (yes mom and dad, I’m talking to you) who wants to finally learn to solve a Rubik’s Cube. Cube-tastic! really is a fun way to master one of the greatest puzzle challenges of all time! Whether you’re looking to just get it solved once and for all! Or maybe you’re interested in finally cracking into the thinking process behind the solution? Either way, now you can enjoy solving the Rubik’s Cube with Cube-tastic!
Become a Pro with Cube-tastic!
As you move into using the Cube-tastic! companion app you’ll appreciate the countless combinations that will help exercise both eye-hand coordination and brain function. What’s also nice is that as you get better at solving this 3D puzzle cube, you can level up for less help in solving it.
The goal of the game is to eventually become so good at it that you’ll solve the cube without any help. It’s the perfect way for kids to work on critical thinking, sequencing and puzzle solving skills while having a good time and building self-esteem, ultimately becoming successful at solving the cube all on their own. Oh, how I needed this when I was a kid!
To get started you’ll have to download the Cube-tastic! app available for iOS and Android.
The Cube-tastic! companion app will guide you to solve this reinvented 3D puzzle cube with step-by-step tutorials and challenges to help you master the skill. Start play by scrambling the cube, then use the front-facing camera of your device to scan each side of the cube.
The app will clearly guide you through the entire process. However, scanning the cube may get tricky for younger kids and they might need some adult help. Make sure to keep a steady hand and scan your cube under good lighting. Otherwise, the app may have a hard time recognizing all six sides and will possibly ask you to scan again. As you can imagine, this can get a bit frustrating for young players so keep in mind that initially, they may need a bit of your help. Once you have ensured good lighting, go ahead and use the front-facing camera on your device to scan each side of the cube as instructed.
The “Play” mode takes you step by step through animations that will help you solve your own cube. This mode is timed, so move quickly because the quicker you get it done the better your award at the end of the game. You’ll find several Trophies to unlock.
The app does include two modes — Play and Learn. Once you initially solve the cube in the “Play” mode, you’ll unlock the “Learn” mode and here is where playing with this cube becomes really interesting and fun!
Playing Cube-tastic in “Learn” Mode
Once you have solved the cube for the first time you’ll be able to access the “Learn” mode.
To begin you’ll be asked to scan each side of your cube by turning it so that the colored circle shown in the middle of the cube on the screen is facing up on your cube. You’ll be asked to do this six times, once for each side. Don’t worry the app will guide you each step of the way!
Next, comes the fun part; the app will guide you through the proper twists and turns to return your cube back to its original matching sides. You’ll need to complete each stage to unlock the next. As you do this the app will show you several different options and you’ll have to choose the one that matches your cube. From there just follow the instructions.
Once a stage is complete you will have to scan your cube again to verify that your cube looks like the one on screen and this will unlock the next step. After unlocking all steps, you’ll be able to go back and practice any step in any order and now you can enjoy solving the Rubik’s Cube!
Keep in Mind: Kids might find it a bit frustrating to follow some of the instruction on their own so remind them to be patient and provide a little parent support along the way. My kiddo did get a little frustrated a first (he’s 8) but once he got the hang of it, he took off and no longer needed my help.
Why We Love Cube-tastic and Think You Will Too!
Solving this type of classic puzzle cube no longer has to be difficult and frustrating!
The Cube-tastic! 3D puzzle cube and it’s companion app is a brilliant way to help kids develop problem-solving skills, hand-eye coordination, and critical thinking skills.
We also loved the tactile feel and design of this reinvented cube. The fact that the cube pieces turn so easily and have nice rounded edges makes it easy to play with and just perfect for little hands and big hands alike.
As 2016 is coming to a close, parents are looking for ideas to add to their 2017 resolutions list. Our friends at YourTango share their thoughts on unconventional parenting resolutions.
Make 2017 the year of balance.
As the year ends and we prepare to start fresh, parents are looking back on what they can do differently. Traditional parenting tips have many positives attributes but sometimes, it’s the unconventional things you would never have thought to do that make all the difference.
Implementing these ten unconventional parenting techniques is the perfect way to start the new year.
By bypassing the traditional route, you can shake up your old routine, enjoy your kids more, and feel calm throughout the year. Finding this kind of balance is sure to make 2017 your best year yet.
1. End the bedtime struggle . . . for good.
Bedtime is the only chance some parents get to relax before a new day begins. However, just as children are snuggled into bed, they realize that they need a glass of water. Then, of course, they will need to do a million other things that don’t include sleeping.
End this vicious cycle by giving them one “get-out-of-bed-free” card. By giving them the option to get out of bed, but only once, they will be forced to think about whether they really want to use up their one chance to get out of bed for the night.
Make this dream a reality by getting your kids their own alarm clock. There are many to choose from and you can set them so that your little one knows when it’s okay to wake everyone else up.
A cheaper option is to write their acceptable wake-up time next to a regular alarm clock then once the numbers match they know it’s time to get up.
3. Let your kids roam free.
The “Free Range Kids” movement is a relatively new way of looking at parenting. Basically, by giving your kids as much space as you’re comfortable with to roam free, you make your life easier and help them to build their confidence.
As always, make sure there are minimal risks involved and only allow them to wander away if you are comfortable.
4. Stop limiting screen time.
In the world of mom-shaming for technology overuse, this seems like the most unconventional advice yet. The idea behind unlimited screen time is that your children will eventually tire of using their tablets and television and limit themselves out of boredom.
Even if this plan doesn’t work out, it’s easy to put limits back on after giving it a good try. Better yet, new technology, like the line of guilt-free tech toys from Pai Technology, can actually encourage your children to learn and be creative.
Pai Technology is an international company focused on the development of children three to 12 years old As a brand that’s new to the U.S., they knew they needed to be really clear on their messaging in order to cut through the noise.
Amy Braun, the U.S. marketing director for Pai, says, “We’re competing against major education tech brands in the children’s tech toy space. We need a brand message that not only resonates with our audience but also communicates what we stand for, which is family values and child development.”
Pai Technology ended up settling on the slogan, ‘grow, develop and play. Its media kit really paints a picture in the first two sentences, “Imagine…technology that doesn’t tear your family apart, but instead brings you closer together. Imagine…technology that doesn’t interfere with your child’s education and development, but encourages it.”
With messaging like that, it’s no secret what the brand is all about.