Because Heather and I believe, perhaps mistakenly, that most of our readers are moms with little little kids, we usually shy away from talking about things like summer camp, chapter books, and PTA obligations that mark the world of parenting big kids. But the truth is our rookie babies are in first grade now and our real lives include marathon Connect Four sessions and giving high fives for successful shoe-tying. So if you have been reading for five or more years, thank you! If you are just tuning in, please don’t let this post scare you off. Start at the beginning.
I accepted an offer from my friends The Clever Girls to review a robot with an online life because Julian really likes to use another website that is linked to stuffed animals he collects. The Mechatars are associated with a website called iloverobots.com, and that sounded like his cup of tea. Somehow, the fact that elements of war and battle are the theme of the robot I agreed to review escaped me, and when I received the product in the mail I was surprised and worried that it wouldn’t engage him. Besides playing Battleship on the iPad (which is a great game, by the way, for you folks with iPads and big kids), Julian has never been interested in games that involve themes of fighting. He is a gentle soul. At soccer practice, he is too shy to steal the ball from another player.
When we opened the box and started driving the robot creature around the house, none of that mattered. The way it moves is so compelling, the kids were thrilled. They got the hang of spinning our new friend “Wrexx, the Frenzied Fighter” in circles on the kitchen floor and announced it was a dance party. They twirled along with Wrexx and laughed their heads off. The robot and the remote feel very sturdy and well-made. He moves quickly and has a ton of personality. I decided to save the online component for another day.
My friend Ana filmed the Mechatar at her house, so you can get a sense of how it moves.
Eventually we did get online to create an account and connect Wrexx with a USB cord to the computer so that it could sync. Apparently you can engage in battles online against other Mechatars and accept challenges. I was open to this idea and able to imagine us exploring how to create strategies and understand the metrics that the computer shared with us in order to make decisions about what to do next. It seemed pretty educational, in fact. But evidently we didn’t quite hook up everything in the right order and the desktop app didn’t become obvious within minutes, so we moved on to other activities. I’m sure we’ll get back to it at some point, but I actually prefer to just enjoy the first level of play with a new toy for as long as it lasts, and then if there’s a whole other aspect to explore later, the novelty will last longer.
UPDATE: A fellow Mechatar reviewer let me know that the USB cord seems all the way in at first, but you need to push it ALL THE WAY in for it to work. Childproofed, I guess.
Good news for you! These toys are about $40, but I’ve got one to give away. If you have or know a child who would like a Mechatar as a holiday gift, enter to win it! (If you must have one NOW, use this coupon code “MECHMOM” for a 10% discount at iloverobots.com, valid until 11/30)
To enter, visit http://www.iloverobots.com/mechatarsstore to see the full line up of interactive robots. Tell us which Mechatar you’d like to win. We’ll select one commenter at random on Friday, September 23 to receive the prize.
Note: I was selected to participate in this sponsored post series by Clever Girls Collective.