Meet the Robotic Toys that got Sphero Rolling into Classrooms

Introducing Sphero

Do you wish that your kid’s toys did a little…more? In this age, why can’t we have toys that are stimulating our kids to explore their full potential and pushing the boundaries of what we can and can’t teach children? Do you want your children to have the kind of toys that they enjoy but that also have the ability to educate them? Then Sphero has just the solution!

Founded in 2010, Sphero, known previously as Orbotix, began life as a humble start-up and has grown exponentially to become one of the market leaders in kid-friendly robotics. Sphero’s educational range, the Sphero Mini and Sphero 2.0 & SPRK Robotic Ball, are the latest in a line of smart toys for the currently available for this generation of children.

We can now add the Bolt to the cool list amazing coding toys from Sphero – find out more about BOLT here  …

Sphero 2.0 & SPRK Robotic Ball – The Best Educational Toy Ever?

YES! All Sphero Ball editions are app-enabled and work via your smartphone or tablet, offering you a choice of over 30 games! These feature single and multiplayer mode that allows friends or family to play together. Featuring augmented reality with limitless possibilities.

Sphero is seriously strong, waterproof and pretty much unbreakable, which makes sure that no matter what your kid puts it through or whatever accidents happen, the Sphero will tough it out! Your Sphero ball can be controlled up to a 100 ft range and comes with an induction charging base that’s fully rechargeable and gives up to one hour of play time, a full charge takes in the region of three hours.

Sphero travels at a modest top speed of approximately 4.5 mph and has in-built LEDs that illuminate every colour you can think of! The ball is 7.3 cm/ 2.87 inches in diameter and weighs approximately 180g.

What’s the difference between the Sphero 2.0 and the SPRK Edition?

The main visual differences are that the Sphero 2.0 has a white polycarbonate shell, whereas the SPRK+ edition has a full transparent outer shell, allowing you to see the internal components of the robot.

The packaging and contents slightly differ in that the Sphero 2.0 comes with two ramps for instant adrenaline fueled fun, whereas the SPRK has a genius kit with a protractor and maze tape encouraging imagination and creativity.

SPRK offers more for Education

Sphero’s SPRK (Schools, Parents, Robots and Kids) program has been designed to boost the power of learning; combining fun, coding, science, technology and math for kids. Sphero is arguably the most hackable programmable toy on the market and is seriously popular with kids, parents and educators worldwide, and it’s easy to see why.

The SPRK lightning lab app teaches the basic principles of coding. It works using a basic block interface allowing you to simply drag and drop, draw paths or write JavaScript. The lightning app also houses a community of creators and coders with whom you can share design programs, lesson ideas and more to help you grow as a coder.

Tip: add traction and protection with a cover – why not try the Hexnub Original or the EXO Cover?

The Verdict:

The Sphero 2.0 is the programmable toy that put Sphero on the map, bringing coding into countless homes and even more classrooms. The 2.0 and SPRK edition are leading the way in electronic educational STEM learning over the past 5 years and still continue to surprise.

With a price tag of around $100 (£100) we think it’s worth every penny! As mentioned above the app and coding platform is extremely versatile and offers coding for all ages and abilities.

Sphero is also featured in our STEMMING UP blog

Sphero Mini – The Smallest Sphero Ever

We were really surprised that the best features from the Sphero 2.0 are squeezed into a ping-pong sized ball for a staggering half of the original’s price!

Specs include:

  • 4 cm (1.7 in) tall
  • App-controlled and compatible with most smart devices
  • Removable hard shell that houses all the mechanical parts – making for easy customization
  • Comes with accessories such as three mini cones and six mini bowling pins – used for interactive play

The Mini is charged using a micro USB, unlike the original Sphero and SPRK which use induction charging. Simply remove the outer shells and plug in for around an hour for a full charge, which will give you approximately 40-45 minutes of play time.

Sphero also boasts LED lights used to for game-play and to calibrate the toy robot, which also illuminate a huge spectrum of colours, features kept from the original Sphero. A virtual joystick controls the modes via the Sphero app.

The app consists of five main modes:

  • Face Drive
  • Scream Drive
  • Tilt
  • Slingshot
  • Standard Joystick

Help your kids learn to code using the Sphero Edu app – both by drawing and using a drag & drop based interface, as well as JavaScript Text to make it interesting for more advanced coders!

Interactive games include:

  • Exile II – use the Sphero Mini to move, shoot and destroy asteroids
  • Round Trip – use the Sphero Mini as a controller
  • Lightspeed Drifter – race inside a tunnel, hit the boosts and watch out for obstacles that may get in your path!
  • Mini Escape – use your hands to stop the Mini from escaping (can be played without the app)

The Verdict:

The Sphero Mini means a whole lot of fun and learning for your kid, for a surprisingly modest price tag. The Mini is the cheapest of the Sphero toys and makes a great gift for the newbie coder! It seems to have plenty of power for its size, with a top speed of 1 m/s. However, this did at times make it slightly tricky to control.

One of the downsides to the Sphero Mini is that it’s not 100% waterproof or completely robust, unlike the Sphero 2.0. Overall, this robot boasts some super cool features, is user-friendly and simple to operate. Sphero also release plenty of regular updates, which keeps the gameplay fresh and exciting.

Bonus tip: keep your Sphero Mini & its accessories safe and secure – Click here to check out our Sphero Mini carry case