Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Saved the Best Kid's Gift for Last...Every Kid Would Love to Wake to Find a Piper Computer Kit Under the Tree on Christmas Morning (Review)

Disclosure:  I was sent a sample from the vendor, in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

I am wrapping up my annual holiday gift guide this week, and have a few more stocking stuffer and last minute ideas for adults...but, this is my last post for gift ideas for kids. And, I left it to the very end, as it is my family's favorite product of the 300 gifts I featured in my gift guide, which kicked off in mid October and runs through the end of this week.  So, why is the Piper Computer Kit our favorite?  Well, where do I start!? :-)

"Build your own computer: solve puzzles in Raspberry Pi edition of Minecraft by building your own computer from start to finish and continuing to build power-ups within the game through physical controls, switches, buttons, & lights"

If your child is into learning how to code, loves all things STEM or likes to build things with building sets, etc., then they will love the Piper Computer Kit.  This is a "Build Your Own Computer" for kids ages 7-12 yrs. old.  While it may seem pricey at around $200 -- it is available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and over at https://www.playpiper.com/ -- it is worth every penny, as it is not just a computer you build, but so much more.  You start off by building the computer, which in and of itself is super cool.

Both of my girls, along with my husband, who is a computer programmer, spent a Saturday afternoon last month building the Piper computer.  It was serious business when I walked in and saw a blueprint of instructions hanging from the curtain in the dining area, and all the pieces to this computer spread out over the table.  

I was "shhed" upon entering, as they were trying to concentrate and follow the steps.  My husband did say that they got hung on steps 5A-5B, and had to redo this part when they realized they put a piece wrong.  

He said for those building the Piper computer in the future, to take a break halfway through the build, as he chalked up this flub in the steps to being tired.  There really is a lot that goes into the build, even though there are only 6-7 steps.

But, once the Piper computer was built, the girls were all smiles, and so proud of themselves.  

They never expected at their ages, 7 and 8 yrs. old, to be able to build their own computer that actually works.  My husband powered up their new Piper computer, which I have to say, I love that is is made out of wood and has engraved detailing throughout the wood pieces (there are 160+ pieces all together that make up this DIY computer) - it gives it a nice, unique look to the everyday laptops we work on. 

Once the Piper computer was powered up, the girls were ready to get to work building and programming electronics with the help of the 3D engineering diagrams in the game that is programmed on the Piper computer.  

I don't know about you, but my girls are all about Minecraft, and were happy to find a Minecraft adventure waiting for them when their Piper computer powered up.  And, when they started building real electronics, they couldn't believe it.  It was almost as cool as working with their Daddy to build this amazing and one of a kind computer. 

In addition to assembling their own electronics to power u mission control on the Raspberry Pi 2, they also had to add switches to uncover secret doors and bridges.  As the game advanced, so did the challenged set forth.  They were making LED light proximity sensors to help find diamonds one minute and then using a buzzer piano to enter secret codes to find hidden rewards another minute.  There is even a cool LED flashlight that kids can turn on and see the game at night.

My girls, and husband, have been having a blast playing with their Piper. They love how they can create custom levels and modifications.  This is truly the perfect gift to give kids who love gaming and game design.  With no instruction manual, kids have to figure out things for themselves. I watched as my girls were unplugging and plugging in cables and testing things, as they learned how to complete the different challenges.  It was a learning process like no other, and by not having instructions to go by, made for a more enjoyable learning experience in my view, as they didn't have to worry about reading lengthy instructions, which some kids get hung up on or skip right over.  I know my youngest is not a fan of instructions like her Daddy, and they put things together based on picture with a few extra pieces left over -- which they always say are spare parts that were included.  Yeah, that's it! :-)

We have had the Piper computer for over a month and half and my girls continue to play with it on a daily basis.  We have incorporated it into our homeschooling, and the girls have also brought to homeschool meetups to show up and let their other homeschool friends try out.  Once the kids see the Piper and see how it is a computer that you build and then play a Minecraft game with, they are all over it, and then asking their parents for one.  And, you know what, I don't blame them, as I would have loved a Piper computer of my own as a kid.

Built by kids from the inside-out

With the holidays fast approaching, now is the time to order a Piper computer for your kids.  You can gift it as a family gift too, and then spend a weekend putting it together, as a family.  It really is a fun and memorable bonding experience, and everyone, especially kids feel accomplished once the computer is put together and powered up.  

You can learn more about the Piper computer and all that if offers, by visiting https://www.playpiper.com/

Disclosure:  I was sent a sample from the vendor, in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.
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Fancy Nancy Fans Will Go Crazy When They Wake to Find Nail and Lip Balm Sets from TownleyGirl in Their Stockings -- Enter to #Win Some Now! - Review and #Giveaway

Disclosure: I was provided with sample from the folks at TownleyGirl in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

Do you have a Fancy Nancy fan in your life?  Both of my girls love the Fancy Nancy books, and now tune in to Disney and stream episodes of this new animated series almost daily.  They can't get enough of Fancy Nancy and her best friend, Bree.

So, when I heard that the folks at TownleyGirl had a new line of Fancy Nancy beauty set for girls available, I jumped at the opportunity to review a few of them, and include them in my holiday gift guide.  If you follow my blog, then you have probably read other posts where I have featured TownleyGirl products.  My girls love this brand and they always have my girls' favorite characters from television and hit movies in fun makeup, lip gloss and nail polish sets.  And, their new Fancy Nancy collection is full of fun and playful sets that would make for great stocking stuffers this holiday season.

The kind folks at Townley Girl sent the following Fancy Nancy sets for review, and my girls were all smiles when I showed the sets to them yesterday.  

My youngest already had a few of the hand mirror sets from previous TownleyGirl reviews, so she let my oldest have the Fancy Nancy Lip Balms and Mirror set.  

As you can see in the photo, this only came with a cute hand mirror featuring Fancy Nancy and her best friend, Bree, but it also came with a few colored lip balms.  My daughter said her favorites were the blue and purple ones.

My oldest also took the Fancy Nancy 4 PK Lip Gloss with Bonus Case which comes with a cute tin to store them in.  

She is all about lip gloss and lip balms, so I knew she would just love this set, and that she did. After trying on the different lip glosses, she gave my other daughter and I makeovers with them and her growing collection of makeup, some from TownleyGirl and some she picked up at the store with her allowance.

My youngest was happy to see the Fancy Nancy Kiss it Paint it Set included with the samples for review, as she is all about painting her nails and adding stickers and embellishments.  

While my oldest can't leave the house without lip gloss or lip stick on, my youngest needs to have her nails done up to match her mood or outfit.  So, she was all smiles when she saw the nail polishes and cute Fancy Nancy nail stickers, all which she can store in her plastic container, that had a water globe type effect to the cover.

When asked what my girls thought of the new Fancy Nancy line from TownleyGirl, they turned to look at one another, and then to me, and gave two thumbs up.  They said it was their favorite collection from TownleyGirl to date, and you know what, I have to agree with them, too!

With the holidays fast approaching, why not pick up a few of these other fun collections from TownleyGirl to add to your child's stocking. They are all reasonable priced, and well worth every dollar.  You can learn more about TownleyGirl and browse their different collections which also include Disney Princesses, Minnie Mouse, Emoji, Frozen, My Little Pony and so many more by visiting https://www.townleygirl.com/.  And, read on for a chance to win a few Fancy Nancy gift sets to share with that special Fancy Nancy girl in your life. 


Thanks to the kind folks at TownlyGirl, one lucky Inspired by Savannah reader will have a chance to win 2-3 Fancy Nancy set (randomly chosen by vendor) to surprise that special Fancy Nancy fan in their life.  To enter, please complete the entries on the Rafflecopter form below.  Good luck!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Disclosure: I was provided with sample from the folks at TownleyGirl in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

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Evo, an Award-winning Coding Robot That Blends Entertainment with Beginning Coding for Kids of All Ages Would Make for the Ultimate Stocking Stuffer

Disclosure:  I was sent a sample from the vendor in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

Last month my girls attended a coding class at a nearby library and on the final day of their 4-week course, they got to spend the class playing with Ozobot's super cool EVO, a social coding robot.  

This little robot is for makers, beginning coders and young engineers, as has so much to offer in such a small product.  My girls and their friends spent a couple hours drawing lines with markers and having EVO follow it, and spin on different segments of the line.  Then, they moved on to making EVO play musical notes by tapping on the different sensors that line this little robot.  But, the real amazing part came when I saw my 7 and 8 years use OzoBlockly to create coding for this robot.  

It is amazing what young minds can do, and with products like EVO from Ozobot, the sky is the limit for kids to dream big.  They can be engineers, coding, or whatever they decide, and with unique and educational products like this little coding robot they are getting hands on exposure at an early age to develop their passions.  

My husband is a computer programming and does a lot of coding for work.  When we decided to homeschool our girls, he said he wanted to teach them Spanish, his native language, as well as coding.  This was before coding and STEM became so popular.  He looked online for different coding products for young kids but wasn't impressed with the products out there.  Some claimed they were coding, but he said it wasn't.  Then, brands like Ozobot starting popping up and turning out amazing products like their original Bit Ozobot.  And, now Ozobot has done it again with EVO, an app-connected coding robot that is being used in schools everywhere, and gaining praise from teachers ands students who get to experience this amazing coding bot.

Later this week, my girls will be receiving an EVO to help me review, and I know they will be excited when they see this coding robot arrive at the door, as they always talk about it, and ask to go to the library to use it. Now, they will have their very own EVO to code and play around with.  And, my husband is eager to try it out and use it as part of his coding he teaches the girls for homeschool.  So, stay tuned for my personal review of the EVO, once we have time to try it out and play around with it. 

But, in the meantime, I wanted to share more about EVO, the little robot with so many possibilities, and one gift your kids will love and use for years to come.  Right now you can save 30% site wide (no code needed) during Ozobot's holiday sale.  The EVO robot regularly sells for $100, but right now you can score it for only $75!  A steal if you ask me.   

This award-winning coding robot has some serious skills and tricks to show off, with the help of your budding creators and coders.  So, what are you waiting for?  This deal isn't going to last long, and you want to make sure you order with enough time to add EVO to your child's stocking, or wrap and put under the tree.  Then, get ready to have so much fun with your kids as you all work together to code EVO, to create and play with games and tricks.  This is definitely not going to be one of those toys your kids will get bored with easily.  There is so much to do with EVO, and sky is the limit to what your little creator can think up and program their new EVO from Ozobot.

More about this amazing little robot, which would make for the the ultimate stocking stuffer of holiday gift for kids of all ages:

"Ozobot has created a cool, little robot, Evo, that helps teach young kids how to have fun while learning elementary code in both the class and home. 

Coding as you may know is its own language that not only instructs kids how to communicate and learn logical thinking but also fosters creativity while strengthening both verbal and written skills. In addition, it can help children visualize abstract concepts, make mathematics fun and creative and help apply math to real-world situations. It's a key element in the drive to expand and enhance STEAM learning.


Evo is also available now at ozobot.com and or retailers major retailers including Amazon (EVO in black; EVO in white), Walmart and Barnes & Noble for the suggested retail price of $99. 

To explore, to engage, to discover, to connect, to share. These are some of the greatest joys we can experience, especially as a young child. It's part of our growth cycle and gives us a sense of wonder, achievement and hope. This holiday season, something that fits in the palm of your hand can open a world of creativity. Not just for kids but their parents, too. Something that will last well beyond December...

Ozobot has developed Evo, an app-connected, coding robot for the next generation of creators who can program themselves using simple computer code. A little larger than a golf ball, Evo uses optical sensors to follow lines that kids make with just markers and plain paper, so they don't even need a screen. The Evo even allows kids to make music with notes by covering different sensors. This is a great way for younger kids to play with not only their peers but also their parents.  Children can next code Evo with colors thanks to a patented color-code language. Made with either markers or stickers, color codes tell Evo what to do. For example, red green red green is the tornado code and makes Evo spin around.

For more advanced functions via your computer or smart phone, Ozobot has a block-based program, OzoBlockly. It has five modes from Novice (with icon-based blocks) to Master (with support for many low-level functions and advanced programming concepts). You can use Blockly-based code to create routines, sounds and light; share and explore inventions; and earn stars redeemable for content and avatars.

Just in time for the holidays, Ozobot has partnered with Mark Hanna, teen creator, choreographer and America's Got Talent Alumnus and unveiled two, new Wearable Skins for Evo (Unicorn and Racer) that attach to a lanyard for everywhere play. They will be showcased in a series of upcoming videos on his YouTube channel that feature Hanna's fluidly, funky robotic moves in a dance-off with Evo with its own dance pattern programmed completely with Ozobot's OzoBlockly visual code editor. This is just the latest example of Ozobot's creative value and a big reason it's become such a prized addition to more than 10,000 K-5 classrooms for educators to teach young students elementary code.

The Evo's portability and unique interactivity with paper and markers make it a great gift. Whether it be a cool, interactive toy for providing hours of inventive play with friends, the educational present that blends entertainment with instruction or perhaps the ultimate stocking stuffer, the Ozobot Evo ($99) is sure to brighten the holiday break and beyond for kids of any age."


Disclosure:  I was sent a sample from the vendor in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.
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