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At this stage of the pandemic, your little ones may be begging for some new activities to pass the time. Ask, and they shall receive: As if a gift from the techie gods, iRobot's Root rt0 coding robot, which is strikingly similar to the Root rt1 coding robot our Parenting Editor Anna Lane called "one of the best coding toys [she’s] seen and tested," is currently on sale at Amazon.
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Normally $149.99, the rt0 is marked down by $50 to just below $100 at $99.99, and when you dive into all its cool, easy-to-navigate features, you’ll be clicking ‘add to cart’ ASAP.
Created by the geniuses behind one of our favorite robot vacuum brands, iRobot, the Root not only resembles a Roomba, it's built to give kids aged 4 and up free reign for merriment while also teaching them advanced real-life coding applications that will spark and grow their love of all things science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.
Essentially, these little machines use an accompanying app called Root Academy (30 days free, then $4.99 per month) that your children can program to tell the robot to perform different functions. Maybe they program it to draw a picture, for instance, or they instruct it to climb a wall. Sound too high-tech for your taste? In our review of the rt1 ($199.99), we found that the colorful, age-appropriate coding lessons, which uses images that correspond to blocks of code, were easy to use for both kids and non-science minded parents alike.
Wrote Anna, "I assumed that my kids would need to spend a number of days working their way through all of the lessons, but it turns out that they're far more versed in coding than their Gen-X parents, and they didn't need more than one or two lessons before they were proficient at programming Root."
The streamlined, sleek interface isn’t all there is to love here. It also boasts bumper sensors, touch sensors, light sensors, a surface sensor (to prevent it from falling off of any raised edges) and a color sensor, which Anna noted as a rare and impressive feature among popular STEM toys on the block.
So what's the difference between the two? The rt1 has a super strong magnet at the base that will allow you to attach to the included fold-out whiteboard (not included with the rt0) and other metal surfaces for drawing.
Regardless of which option you choose, however, you're sure to have a fun, brain-powering experience you won't regret.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
This article originally appeared on Reviewed: Coding robot: Get the iRobot rt0 coding toy at a big discount right now