This summer build a LEGO Mindstorms toy with your kid and boost his brain power
I was about to graduate from high school when I first saw a LEGO Mindstorms toy functioning, one of my teachers prepared a presentation with one of these toys to invite us to study engineering, the whole scene was amazing as the toy was a little robot that was able to move the arms, walk, and greet by removing a small hat that it had on. I was really surprised and from there I knew that I wanted to be an engineer. This happened when I was 17 years old, today I’m 27 and I still remember that day as if it happened yesterday; this event totally changed my life and it is incredible how a simple and amazing toy such as the LEGO Mindstorms can influence a big decision of a person, the most incredible thing is that last Saturday I saw exactly the same thing happening with little kids of 6 to 10 years old and in this article I want to share with you why I think that these toys can dramatically boost the brain power of your kids according to what I saw last weekend. We all know LEGO toys as well as what can be done with them, the reality is that the company when far ahead and developed another product called LEGO Mindstorms, this toy is basically a bunch of LEGOs that can be used to assemble almost anything, and the main difference is that they include a central unit that can be programmed using a computer, thus if you assemble a car you can actually make the car move, it does not stop there as these toys have a lot of sensors so you can literally build a humanoid robot and program it to make whatever you want.
LEGO Mindstorms are perfect to teach kids how to program and build robots
LEGO Mindstorms are perfect as learning tools since they are essentially toys and thus pretty attractive for kids. The learning is very dynamic and entertaining; they build the whole structure, connect it, program it, and test it without even noticing that they are doing exactly the same as an engineer does in a normal work day. You may think that the hardest part is to program the central unit with pretty advanced code, but the truth is that LEGO has developed a very friendly and easy to use programming environment so that even little kids can use it and have fun with it. Here are some of the reasons why these toys are so special:
- Friendly to use: LEGO Mindstorms are very inviting and they definitely make a positive impression on those who see them functioning. Since they are built using LEGOs kids are not afraid to start using them and unleash their potential.
- Fun: I was a kid once and I had a lot of LEGOs to play with, these toys entertained me for days. Building anything with them is a lot of fun and LEGO Mindstorms are not just fun to build but to program, operate and test.
- Educative: Little kids can learn a lot and boost their brain power since these toys involve sensors, wires, mechanic parts, and software. The gadget can do almost anything and it is up to the kid’s imagination what to do with it.
- Entertaining: Building the LEGO Mindstorms is very entertaining, what I’ve seen that works best is when a team of kids separate tasks and each person is in charge of doing something different, that way everyone has something to do.
- Functional: One thing that I love about LEGO is the number of ships, buildings, and creatures that you can construct with them, but the one thing that is even more awesome with LEGO Mindstorms is that your designs are functional and they can interact with the world.
How Edu Robotica is taking advantage of all the LEGO Mindstorms features?
As I told you at the beginning of this article I had the opportunity to visit a local Mexican group of kids who really enjoy playing around with these toys, I was surprised for what I heard when I asked a few questions to the kids and they were able to explain me in full detail not just what they were doing but also why they were doing it that way. This group is called Edu Robotica and their intention is to promote robotics and engineering among little kids and teens so that they can try it out and see if they’d like to be engineers as adults. Vania Mora is the coordinator of Edu Robotica and the group has been working since 2010, so far they have 60 children that not only play with these toys but actually build amazing designs to compete in both national and international contests; Edu Robotica has a 15 member staff who help and guide the kids to learn, build, and program the LEGO Mindstorms toys. Their last achievement was the 3rd place in the FLL (FIRST LEGO League) National tournament.
Joining to a LEGO Mindstorms team is a great move to boost your kid’s brain power
It is not a surprise for me that these kids are doing so well, they are learning by desire and with enthusiasm, they were able to explain to me every single part of their robots and the role of each component, if you ask me, this is a perfect way to start interacting with gears and sensors as you get familiar with these and later you see them as old and friendly items instead of hard things to learn in order to pass an assignment. I remembered about myself when seeing those kids, they had very dynamic minds and sparks of imagination and ideas were all over the place; the classroom where I found them was full of energy, everyone was doing something and definitely having fun. If you are a kid or have kids in your house, I strongly encourage you to subscribe them to a local team of LEGO Mindstorms; almost every university has one team. You already know the reasons for doing so and this is a great way to start building amazing designs, having fun, and learning a lot about what your career could be. What do you think about LEGO Mindstorms as learning tools? Would you like to have your kids participating in national and international robotics contests? What do you think about Edu Robotica? Let us know your thoughts and leave a comment. To your Success! About the author:
Jose Lozano is a Mechatronic Engineer and a successful online publisher, he decided to be an engineer after seeing a LEGO Mindstorms toy functioning and it was thanks to these toys that Jose learned to have fun in the engineering world. Later on his life Jose found his passion for RC flying toys and today he enjoys writing articles about airplanes and helicopters such as a Blade mXC2 RTF review, these toys are as well pretty educative and lots of fun to play with.