We finally got to unbox and try out Cubetto! Cubetto is a little wooden robot that teaches kids to code without using a display. All they need is a colorful cloth world map, a wooden programming board, and little Cubetto. By putting the colored blocks in a certain order on the programming board, they can move Cubetto in every direction. I wrote a blog post about why I chose this little guy as the first member of our robot family.
Because Cubetto was a Kickstarter project, we had to wait five months before it arrived at our doorstep. Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform where you may present your idea and try to raise money to fund your project. This Kickstarter was successful, so Cubetto is now available in the stores! I am glad that I, as well as many others, believed in this project and had the opportunity and means to help fund it by pre-ordering.
I couldn’t wait to tell our son Vico (3,5 years old at the time) about it. I told him a little robot friend was coming our way to live with us and I showed him the official Primo Toys YouTube video of Cubetto. I explained how he could play with it and he wanted to watch the video over and over again. I was wondering if he understood what he could do with Cubetto, but when we took it for a spin for the first time, I got my answer. Keep reading to find out.
I decided not to check out any new reviews about Cubetto, as more and more playsets were sent out and I wanted the whole experience to feel like a Christmas morning 🙂
When Vico’s little sister (2 years old) took her nap, we got straight to it. I wanted to do this one-on-one with Vico, so I had the chance to explain it clearly, without any interruption. Well, we literally dove into the big cardboard box. I ordered two things: the Cubetto Playset (containing Cubetto, the programming board, the blocks and one world map), and the Adventure Pack (containing four additional world maps). The packaging is cute and well made. The box provides excellent protection for the products, so we’re re-using the box to store everything. *thumbs up*.
Meeting for the first time
First of all, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the world maps are made of fabric instead of paper. I expected paper, which would have been fine but very delicate since we play Cubetto on the floor and kids crawl, run and jump around a lot. I don’t know why I thought it were paper maps. Maybe they were at some point in the Kickstarter phase? So a big thumbs up for the fabric choice! Second, the board, Cubetto, and the blocks are very sturdy. They are smooth to the touch and overall very, very cute.
Trying it out for the first time
Our first spin with Cubetto. The moment of truth. Would Vico like to play with it? Would he understand what to do? I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Vico grasped the concept immediately. Before I had the chance to put in the batteries, he already placed the colored blocks onto the board. He knew he had to do this to get Cubetto moving.
I think it’s because Cubetto is very easy and appealing to use. The cute illustrations in the instruction manual and the Cubetto promotion video I had shown to Vico helped a lot.
Creating a loop
The goal is to make Cubetto move from A to B. To do that; you have to place function blocks onto the programming board. Vico understood the regular blocks straight away. Regular blocks are green = one step forward, yellow = turn a quarter left, red = turn a quarter right. The challenge is to make Cubetto go a long way with a limited set of blocks or make Cubetto do repetitions of big movements like spinning around. That’s where the blue function block comes into play. The function block is a special block that can read a maximum of four regular blocks in one turn. In the picture below, we’ve placed four blue function blocks onto the main program, and four regular red (turn right) blocks onto the function area on the board. When the program runs, Cubetto will turn 4×4 times to the right. So he will make four pirouettes! And there you go. Now you and your child have grasped an important piece of coding called ‘creating a loop’.
All in all it is a massive success and we love Cubetto. It’s amazing to see how this concept captures the basic steps of computational thinking in such a playful way. We enjoyed ourselves for 1,5 hours before Vico’s little sister woke up and it was priceless quality time together. Then Giuliana joined us and she wanted to cuddle Cubetto instantly. We tried to explain to her what she could do with this little robot and she started to place the blocks on the board. She’s 2,5 years old, so it’s only a matter of a few months before she fully understands what to do. I’m also looking forward to introducing Cubetto to other kids.
Do you think your kids would like to play with Cubetto? Let me know in the comments below!
Cubetto comes completely assembled. If you’d like to build a little robot from scratch, try constructing a robot kit together with your kids. Read about our adventure with the Insectbot Hexa kit.
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