We’re great fans of anything that inspires kids to get to grips with technology from an early age, noting recently the smarthome and Bluetooth LE kits added by LittleBits. Now a British company is aiming to bring even smarter technology to Lego, claiming that it’s the first physical product that can be programmed with Swift Playgrounds.
SBrick Plus is a brick that you can place into your LEGO® models so you can control them remotely using a smart device like a phone, tablet, gamepad or even Chromebook or PC. That’s just the tip of the iceberg though; SBrick Plus can use sensors from the WeDo 1.0™ family can be programmed in several languages, so it’s a perfect way to start your journey into programming and robotics!
On the Apple side, you can control SBrick creations with the iPhone 4s and up, any iPad from the iPad 3, modern Macs and even the Apple Watch …
There’s no shortage of smarthome products these days, but for those who prefer to make their own, LittleBits launched a DIY kit back in 2014. The company has today launched a $100 version aimed at kids, with components that snap together magnetically.
Got kids aged 8-12? Apple Camp enrollment now open, sessions on coding, movie-making, story-telling [U]
If you’re looking for something to entertain kids aged 8-12 over the summer, and the chance for them to learn some useful tech skills into the bargain, you may want to register them for this year’s Apple Camp. Apple holds annual workshops at its retail stores intended to help kids make creative use of technology. This year’s workshops are focused on coding & robotics, movie-making and story-telling.
Campers can work with visual blocks and solve puzzles while programming Sphero robots. They can learn filmmaking skills: storyboarding, shooting video, and editing soundtracks. Or they can create interactive books complete with their own illustrations and sound effects. At Apple Camp, kids and their creativity are the heroes …
Apple to end iTunes Allowances feature on May 25, suggests using Family Sharing instead to oversee kids spending
Apple has announced that users can no longer setup iTunes Allowances for kids from today, ahead of a complete shutdown of the iTunes Allowances program on May 25th, 2016. iTunes Allowances let parents set up monthly credit for their kids to spend on App Store and iTunes Store purchases.
In the support note announcing the closure, Apple recommends families instead use Family Sharing to manage purchase and spending habits across family members. This does not impact the availability of iTunes Gifts — Apple customers will still be able to buy iTunes gift cards to give to friends and family as normal.
British parents have long known that handing your kids an iPad full of children’s TV shows is a good way to keep them
quiet for a while appropriately entertained and informed. The BBC has made that job even easier today by launching a special iPlayer Kids app. The iPad app, which has a user-interface suitable for young children, features only age-appropriate TV shows.
The new child-friendly app is safe and easy to use. With over 10,000 episodes being made available this year alone, it has all of BBC Children’s world-class content in one place, allowing kids to discover and enjoy both new and old CBeebies and CBBC favourites including Wolfblood, Blue Peter, The Dumping Ground, Topsy & Tim and Go Jetters.
Each child in the family creates their own profile, complete with their age and a cartoon character to represent them, and the app them automatically filters the shows offered.
Pre-school children (under five) are only shown CBeebies content, while children over five are shown both CBBC and CBeebies content (customised to be suitable for their age).
The BBC says it created the app in recognition of the fact that children’s programs are the most popular genre watched through iPlayer.
More than 30% of U.S. children first use a mobile device while in diapers, says American Academy of Pediatrics
Updated parental guidelines are needed to help make informed decisions about the use of technology by children, says the American Academy of Pediatrics, as it revealed that more than 30% of U.S. children first use a mobile device while still in diapers. The AAP says that “digital life begins at a young age, and so must parental guidance.”
The Academy says that its existing policy statement was actually drafted before the first iPad was launched. A two-day symposium held earlier this year generated twelve key messages, based not just on limiting screen time but also on distinguishing helpful from harmful use of technology …
What kind of parent are you if you don’t plunk down $80 for one of these OSMO things right now? I just got one. Amazon reviewers gave it an impressive 4.8/5 stars and it comes with 4 apps. The latest, Masterpiece for iPad [free, App Store] lets kids learn to draw by a type of tracing using the iPad camera illustrated in the excellent Sandwich video above.
After the kids are done you can send it all over the place or print it out. There is a nice video capture feature as well that replays the drawing which looks like it will pump up your kids for the next drawing.
The OSMO game system has three other games at present: Words, Newton and Tangram
It looks pretty cool but I’ll see if I can corral my 6 year old into a review.
Press release follows:
Following the dedicated Kids section added to the App Store back in 2013, Apple has now added a Games for Kids sub-section. Like its parent category, Apple has split it out into three different age ranges: 5 and under, 6-8 and 9-11.
Apple is also featuring the free book Family Time with Apps in the new section, created by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center to “help parents better understand the variety of ways that apps can support children’s healthy development and family learning, communication and connection” …
If you use the Kids sections in the App Store for finding appropriate apps for children, you might want to be careful until Apple fixes a bug that’s currently displaying the wrong apps for kids. Specifically, the “Kids” category under the App Store’s Top Charts section is currently displaying apps that should go in the main “All Categories” section. That means that the All Kids, Kids 5 & Under, Kids 6-8, and Kids 9-11 categories are currently displaying many apps that are inappropriate for kids (pictured above).
The bug appears to be iOS 8 only, and is present in App Stores in at least the US, Canada, and Germany. Reader and developers at Happy-Touch informed us of the issue, which we confirmed on an iOS device in the Canadian and US App Stores. Apple is aware of the bug.
Parents who share their iPads with their kids for playing games and other entertainment will want to check out this novel idea from the startup company Tangible Play. The product is a combination of iPad game apps and iPad accessories that use the front-facing camera to connect real world gameplay and interactions with what is happening within the compatible apps. At launch, three apps will be available: Tangram, Newton, and Words.
As TechCrunch points out, the company behind Osmo is founded by former Google employees:
The company was founded by ex-Googlers, including Pramod Sharma, who had earlier seen the the intersection of physical and digital when he helped build Google’s book-scanning machine, and Jérôme Scholler, who had worked on Chrome for Android.
For parents and iPad owners interested in Osmo, the game set is currently available for pre-order in a crowdsourcing campaign to raise funds for development. Early backers can join in on the fun at $49 and the final product is expected to ship later this fall. Osmo will be regularly priced at $99 starting June 22nd, so interested backers will want to jump in soon.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbwIJMz9PAQ]
The LA Times is reporting that the distribution of iPads to all 640,000 students in the LA school district may be temporarily halted after high school pupils worked out how to bypass the restrictions placed on the devices. Apple announced back in June that an initial start to the rollout was worth $30M.
While the school networks block apps such as facebook while at school, a personal profile was used to limit usage of the devices when taken home. Within a week, children at Theodore Roosevelt High School had worked out that deleting this profile removed the restrictions …