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Sphero Edu is a Fun, Engaging Way to Develop Coding Skills

by on July 26, 2017
in Sponsored, Family and Parenting, Kids, Software & Games, Blog, Back to School :: 185 comments

Techlicious editors independently review products. To help support our mission, we may earn affiliate commissions from links contained on this page.

When I was growing up, kids at my school were far more likely to be taking a typing class than learning how to code. But computers have become such an integral part of our lives – from the powerful smartphones in our pockets to the Internet sites we use to get our information to our increasingly interconnected smart homes – that it is impossible to imagine life without them. And for our children, developing strong skills in not just using computers, but learning how to create the code that runs them, opens numerous options for their future careers.

As a journalist, I regularly use basic HTML and coding tools to produce the content for Techlicious. Friends of mine who run their own businesses have learned to code to keep their websites updated. And if your child has an interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields, being comfortable with coding is a must.

Helping kids gain proficiency in coding is the mission of Sphero Edu. Using a simple robotic ball called SPRK+, Sphero Edu offers children of all ages a community where they can engage in fun, collaborative activities that teach them the foundation of coding.

At its simplest, parents can help younger kids program SPRK+ by drawing shapes on a virtual canvas in the Sphero Edu app – ideal for kids who haven't yet leaned how to read. SPRK+ will follow the shape drawn.

Sphero Edu app block codeThen kids can step up to "block" programming, where they can drag-and-drop commands to create an infinite number of combinations to make SPRK+ do whatever they can imagine. There are dozens of commands that control movement and color, make sounds, create logical structures (If Then statements, program loops) and perform calculations to solve problems (e.g., give SPRK+ two sides of a triangle and have it figure out how to move to connect the two with a hypotenuse using the Pythagorean theorem). My 8-year old had no trouble getting up and going to create his first program that made SPRK+ roll to his father, squawk like a chicken and then return home. Pythagoras is in the pipeline...

More advanced learners can dig directly into the underlying JavaScript to see how the block programming gets translated into code. And then they can start building programs directly in JavaScript, themselves.

While kids can use the Sphero Edu app and SPRK+ to learn code on their own, the Sphero Edu community is what makes things special. There you will find an ever-growing list of hundreds of ideas from community members and Sphero experts for fun, educational activities kids can engage in. Some use just the SPRK+ robot, while others are full-blown engineering projects and science experiments powered by SPRK+. Kids can go in to find their own projects or parents can assign projects to them in virtual "classes". This video gives you a quick peek what you can use it for.

If you're looking to help your child explore his or her interest in coding, you can purchase the Sphero SPRK+ in the Sphero store for $129.99, which includes the app and access to the entire Sphero Edu community. You can download the Sphero Edu app for free in the App Store for iOS devices and Play Store for Android phones and tablets.

As a special offer to our readers, we are also giving away a SPRK+ Robot to one lucky winner. To enter, tell us in a comment below how you would use the SPRK+ in your family. The giveaway ends August 18, 2017. See official rules for complete details.

This is a sponsored conversation written on behalf of Sphero.


Discussion loading

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We would use it as

From Beth Watson on August 14, 2017 :: 11:05 am

We would use it as part of our homeschool science lessons. They would love it!

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Mazes!

From Kim Bruguier on August 14, 2017 :: 3:08 pm

Would love to try and make mazes to run this through with my kids!

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Daughter who loves to code

From Jennifer Elliott on August 14, 2017 :: 3:59 pm

We homeschool and my daughter loves to code.  She is constantly challenging herself.  I have not found solid, cost conscious curriculum that can help her grow.  This looks like it would be a very interactive way to foster her love of coding.  Thanks for the chance to win this!!

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My son would love this.

From RG Anne on August 14, 2017 :: 8:42 pm

My son would love this.

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Coding at home

From Ashley K. on August 14, 2017 :: 9:55 pm

My children would use Sphero to learn coding at home. We would add this to our homeschool schedule!

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They would love it

From Anna Smith on August 15, 2017 :: 6:46 am

my son and daughter would love coding with this.  It would also be an awesome STEM activity for my Cub scout den.

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We would use this as

From Julie Terry on August 15, 2017 :: 6:57 am

We would use this as a family to learn coding together.

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My son Is 11 years

From Annette Nicholson on August 15, 2017 :: 10:20 am

My son Is 11 years old and just started a coding class in school I think he would love to experiment with this

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Encourage my son's fascination with robots.

From Janet Belcher on August 15, 2017 :: 3:32 pm

My son became very fascinated with robots at the homeschool conference we attended. I would love o encourage that.

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Coding 4 Life

From Gabe ocean on August 15, 2017 :: 3:34 pm

As we all know coding is not only our future but the next generation too. I would love to share in such an original educational experience and show my two boys and daughter how it’s done. I am currently working on a computer science degree. I embrace technology and want my children to feel the same way!

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my daughter would love this.

From Meghann perry on August 15, 2017 :: 3:40 pm

my daughter would love this. she is very much into computers, and I feel this would start her in a good career direction. my significant other is a programmer, and she’s already very interested in what he does.

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Kids are begging for this!!!

From Mandy Winningham on August 15, 2017 :: 4:52 pm

My kids have been dying for this! My 9-year-old is getting into coding and wants to also be a YouTuber. This would help launch his interests!

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If I won one I

From Barbara Boyd on August 15, 2017 :: 5:01 pm

If I won one I would give it to my son and work with him on it as he has a great interest in robotics and I know learning to code would help him in that endeavor tremendously.

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For my boys

From Meredith Barkley on August 15, 2017 :: 6:27 pm

I have 2 boys, 8 and 6 years old… my 8 year old loves stem activities. They both love to tinker. My husband and I try to encourage their “line” (whatever interests they show) and think this would totally encourage their creative coding line! Thank you!

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Coding

From Shannon coons on August 15, 2017 :: 8:53 pm

Have 4 kids that got to see a gadget “petting zoo” with coding toys. They all loved using the items. I would never be able to afford these kinds of tools. A lot of fun and learning to be had.

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Education

From Kristy on August 15, 2017 :: 9:04 pm

My son would love this and it it would be a great education tool

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My daughter would love your

From Carrie Blakely on August 15, 2017 :: 9:59 pm

My daughter would love your offer. She has become interested in coding recently and would enjoy your product.

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My boys would love this

From Colleen on August 15, 2017 :: 10:04 pm

My boys are homeschooled and this would be wonderful for them, they love coding

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Sphero continues to inspire

From Cass Honson on August 15, 2017 :: 10:49 pm

We have the original Sphere and it had not only my own children (7, 9, 12, & 14) engaged, but the children I work with in the K-5 environment. It started as a Christmas gift for my son and turned into a shared love by many as he introduced it to siblings and my students. All of the children enjoy playing with our existing Sphere and creating obstacles and performing tricks. Having access to edu would expand our existing interactions. Regardless of the giveaway, I’m checking into this!

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My son is 6 and

From Rebecca Rogers on August 15, 2017 :: 11:10 pm

My son is 6 and enjoys coding games like osmo. But he’s also getting bored with the same things so this would be a great addition!

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For learning

From Pat pena on August 16, 2017 :: 12:38 am

I would use it as a tool to help my son learn to code. He is already experimenting with on little big planet, and he is quite good at at. I need a tool to help take him to the next step. I feel he has an appitude for it, and would like to play to his strengths, as he is a visual learner. He has trouble reading at his grade level, (2nd) and i feel programming may help encourage him to try harder as it will be a challenge.

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Two sons, same coding passion!!!

From Ericka on August 16, 2017 :: 1:10 am

My two sons have been dreaming to get a sphero and they are into coding. They would love to play together and share some more knowledge in computer programming and games. Thanks

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My son!

From April Varner on August 16, 2017 :: 2:58 am

My son would love this! He is 11 and very interested in coding!

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How I would use Sphero

From Mrcloakny on August 16, 2017 :: 3:14 am

My son and daughter, who are home school kids, would develop coding skills in their technology class.

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Syrus Could Use This

From Linda Sanchez on August 16, 2017 :: 6:00 am

My Great Nephew could use this.

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My kiddos

From Stephanie Murphy on August 16, 2017 :: 6:32 am

My 4yo daughter would absolutely love this. Also, my 11yo son….I might even let him take it to share with his class. smile Thank you

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Love this

From Jen Finch on August 16, 2017 :: 7:52 am

I have 3 daughters that have been taking coding classes and they would love this but would also probably fight over it lol

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I would give it to

From Brigitte Bauman on August 16, 2017 :: 9:02 am

I would give it to my 7 year old nephew because you are never to young to learn how to code.

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4 kids

From Kate Kennis on August 16, 2017 :: 10:16 am

I have 4 kids and the oldest two have already begun online coding classes, they would love this!

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2 boys who love to code

From Kendra on August 16, 2017 :: 12:07 pm

I have an 11 and 12 year old that absolutely love code. They take coding classes in school and have also taken them for summer program this year. I would really love something like this for them because I know it’s going to simulate their minds. My one son has ADHD and uses tools like this and it really brings him to full attention. This is a wonderful product.

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My son needs a miracle!

From Judi Cook on August 16, 2017 :: 12:11 pm

My 10 yr old son has severe ADHD and Aspergers.  He has had a rough go of it in his short life.  His daddy passed away when he was only six yrs old.  They we’re extremely close.  He lost both of his grandfathers in the last two years.  I am 100% disabled due to injuries from a car wreck.  He copes really well but definitely has his bad days either from his medical issues or from sadness at not having a male influence in his life.

The things that make him the happiest,  especially when he’s feeling blue,  is playing video games like Mine craft and Terraria,  Legos and Knex,  or anything that has to do with building and creating,  robotics,  and science.

He has built several small robots and is hoping to be accepted to the robotics club at school this year. This SPRK+ Robot would thrill him beyond anything I would ever be able to do for him.  He would be creating,  coding,  and programming every day!

This is something I would never be able to provide for my child as we live on a fixed income and there is never much left for extra.  If my son we’re to be chosen for this,  there would just be no words to describe my gratitude.

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Tech Girls

From Tracey Keller Cantu on August 16, 2017 :: 12:14 pm

We are raising our children to be tech savvy. Developing skill sets now that will help them succeed in the future.

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Kids

From Brian c on August 16, 2017 :: 12:15 pm

My kids would love thos

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I would give it to

From Linda G. on August 16, 2017 :: 12:38 pm

I would give it to my grandson, he really enjoys doing coding.

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i would use this with

From susan smoaks on August 16, 2017 :: 2:24 pm

i would use this with my son so we can learn coding.  it would be fun.

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Continue STEM exploration

From Becky Pope on August 16, 2017 :: 2:36 pm

We would use it to further explore the world of coding and keep having fun with STEM education.

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My son would love this!

From Shyla on August 16, 2017 :: 4:30 pm

I love the idea, the program looks incredibly user friendly and i think this would be a great educational toy for my 10 year old! He is extremely gifted in math and science but has difficulty finding projects that suitably hold his interest. I think this would be perfect!

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What would my family do with it??

From Jackie K on August 16, 2017 :: 10:17 pm

Hello, family game night!

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Heaven!

From Jackie M on August 16, 2017 :: 10:34 pm

My boys might finally agree on something!!!

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I homeschool my two children

From Christina Graham on August 16, 2017 :: 11:48 pm

I homeschool my two children so we would use it in our lessons.

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My son would LOVE this!

From Frankii knott on August 16, 2017 :: 11:51 pm

My son, who will be 10 in December has already made up his mind and is determined to have a career in Graphic Arts/ Video Game Development and Computer programming..Since he was a toddler he has always been extremely advanced in all he does, especially being technologically advanced for his age..since he was 2 he has known how to work a computer and sign online all by himself.. and had mastered playing many educational games online in the 5 and 6 year old levels by the time he was 3..He LOVES technology and always has! He is in the 10th percentile in the nation for math and science and is so very intelligent, being one of the top students in his grade at his school, and an awesome educational product like this would certainly help him to accomplish his goals in life in doing what he loves most!

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I think it would be

From Thuy Vy Vu on August 17, 2017 :: 2:06 am

I think it would be fun for my son.

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This is AWESOME! :)

From Tandi Cortez on August 17, 2017 :: 4:30 am

I would give this to my daughter! She LOVES things like this! smile

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My grandson would love this!

From Kelley Koehler on August 17, 2017 :: 5:19 am

My grandson would love this!

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Super Excited

From Shane Ashland on August 17, 2017 :: 6:35 am

This would be a great way to get my brother a head start on building apps.

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Emerging Programmers

From Michael Love on August 17, 2017 :: 10:23 am

I have five children, three of which CONSTANTLY explain how they intend to program something new…all the time! This would be a huge step in getting my oldest started on something he REALLY gets excited about.

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My daughter would love this!

From Jolene Mittelstedt on August 17, 2017 :: 10:46 am

My daughter wants to be a video game programmer.  This would be a great way for her to explore coding.  Thank you!

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They love learning!

From Alex on August 17, 2017 :: 11:07 am

My 3 grandchildren are at the right age to learn from this robot.

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My nephew would love for

From Lesley F on August 17, 2017 :: 1:26 pm

My nephew would love for coding

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My twin girls love learning to code

From Liz Bosker on August 17, 2017 :: 1:56 pm

My girls are 8 and are in a STEM school and have been learning the basics. They seem to love it and this could also be cool for my 6 yr old son with Autism, as he picks up what they show him. 
Thanks for the giveaway!

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