What if you could take your kids behind the scenes of their favorite video game? How does your controller tell Link to run, jump, or climb in Zelda? How does Roblox follow your instructions when you create a game? What makes the different colors and shapes possible in Minecraft? Cubetto knows the answer to all of these questions is programming. If your kids love computer programs, invite them into the world of basic programming with the Cubetto STEM toy. Kids will have a blast taking Cubetto on an adventure, becoming basic programmers and learning how fun STEM can be!
It’s a bit ironic, but it took some trickery to entice my kids to leave their screens for Cubetto. I decided to stop talking about the fun of programming and simply start playing. Once I powered up the Cubetto STEM toy and his Interface Board, I simply started experimenting. Soon after, the kids followed, curious about the adorable wood guy with the big grin. They wanted to know more about the colorful map I laid out on the floor and how Cubetto knew where to move. I introduced them to the four block commands and they began giving Cubetto instructions, laughing as he moved along the map.
What is Cubetto?
Cubetto is an adorable, wooden robot who loves to go on adventures. Cubetto can be a boy or girl and has:
- Two wheels, each with one motor.
- A wood shell, plastic bones, and a computer brain.
- All that’s missing is a creative programmer to give Cubetto directions!
My kids adore the simplicity of Cubetto. Her big smile and rosy cheeks stand out on the beautiful wood. You can’t help but smile as she navigates the map or travels from room to room.
How Does the Cubetto STEM Toy Work?
Cubetto is run by six batteries; three in Cubetto and three in her Interface Board. Once the batteries are inserted, Cubetto can be used with kids starting at age three. The Interface Board is used to “talk” to Cubetto, using colorful blocks to tell her where to go. The board has an appealing interface that drew in both my 5 and 10 year-olds. While the concept of programming can feel intimidating, this board simply looks like fun.
The Interface Board comes with four colored blocks. Each block gives a different instruction. When your child places blocks on the board and presses the “Go” button, she can talk to Cubetto. A series of blocks placed in a row is called a program.
Kids can play with Cubetto freeform by experimenting with different codes or follow a story and use a companion map. My 5-year-old preferred to talk to Cubetto using his own instructions. His 10-year-old sister sat with the Instruction Guide and Book 1. She loved following the storyline and seeing if she gave Cubetto the right instructions to move to her destination on the map. I loved seeing her work out the different steps and celebrate when Cubetto reached a new square on the map.
Cubetto Maps and Stories
The Cubetto STEM toy comes with Book 1 and a matching map. In this story, Cubetto attends his first day of school. Cubetto’s teacher, Mr. Turtle, brings history and science to life with exciting stories. The story teaches science concepts in a non-intrusive way and asks questions for kids to learn along with Cubetto. At the bottom of each page, kids see Cubetto’s next destination and decide how to tell him where to go next using the Interface Board.
Five story and map sets are available from Primo, along with lesson plans, tutorials, videos, and activity ideas. Cubetto can be used at home, in school, or even for clubs such as Girl Scouts. I wish I had this when I lead my daughter’s troop!
What is STEM?
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Engineering for kids explains, “STEM is important because it pervades every part of our lives…A curriculum that is STEM-based has real-life situations to help the student learn.” The goal of STEM is to help kids understand the real-world applications of these important fields. STEM curriculum aims to inspire passion for science, technology, engineering, and math in all kids.
STEM works to overcome ethnic and gender gaps in math and science fields. A recent US News and World Report article says, “A study published by Microsoft on Jan. 3 also showed that girls tend to lose interest in STEM fields as they grow older, particularly by the age of 15 in Europe. According to the #MakeWhatsNext campaign, only 6.7 percent of women graduate with STEM degrees.”