Lego Boost Creative Toolbox has arrived in Singapore, mamas! Winner of the Toy Award at the 2017 Nuremberg International Toy Fair, Lego Boost is a 5-in-1 set with buzz word ‘coding’ thrown in to boot!
Lego Boost brings Lego creations to life by adding movement, sound and even coding and programmable robotics. Everyone is talking about why even preschoolers should be coding! So Lego Boost is spot on with this new toy. But what we wanted to know was: at $249.90 (plus the necessity of using a state of the art tablet) is Lego Boost worth the hype?
Our testers: 5-year-old Lego Die Hard Fan and his lil sis (3 years old) – well below the recommended age of 7 and older. So how did they get on?
- You need an up to date iPad or tablet (running iOS 10.3 and newer/Android 5.0 or above software) to use this toy. That mama, is our one big bugbear. We didn’t have a new enough tablet to try this at first and neither did 3 of our closest call-a-friend pals! Check the website to see if your tablet is compatible.
- You also need 6 AAA alkaline batteries in your cupboard (good to know if you’re buying this for Christmas to avoid tears when kids open their gift and want to play immediately!). It’s worth noting that these are two obstacles that the standard lego does happily without.
- Given this Lego set is designed to be repeatedly reassembled in 5 different ways, we wish there was some sort of tray or sorting box included for systematic storing.
- Lego Boost is a really fun way to introduce kids to the principles of coding – the hot must-do educational activity that everyone is talking about of late from holiday camps to schools! Kids are prompted to link digital coding blocks within the app to personalise what they build and give the Lego toy instructions on how to move.
- Lego’s introduction to coding is super easy and our 3 year old tester could even handle this especially since, in true Lego style there are no written words on the instructions (nor the programming interface on the iPad), so even children who can’t read can use every feature of the app by following the pictorial, block-based programming language. Easy peasy, and before you know it your toddler is coding! Yikes!
- We like that this toy has not been made in a gender stereotyped way – the predominant colours are blue, white and orange.
- We love Lego’s 5 in 1 set creations – it is our pick of all their different themes as it gives such good bang for your buck. So this 5 in 1 set with coding thrown in on top is a great way of getting your money’s worth too. There are 5 things kids can build with instructions (and the sky is the limit for creative building outside this). Vernie the Robot, Frankie the Cat, the Guitar 4000 (which actually plays music!), a Multi-Tool Rover 4, and the Autobuilder factory are all on the list. So something for every kid.
- Once kids are comfortable with building and coding the various Lego Boost models, they can use the kit to “boost” any Lego creation they already have at home – they can use the driving base for building vehicles or the walking base for making animals.
How It Works
There are no instructions inside the box. You’ll need to download the free app before you start which doesn’t take long. The app contains the guidance, building instructions and simple coding commands. We found the visual instructions mostly good but a bit ambiguous in parts (well mama did, the 5 year old was fine!).
Lego Boost comes with a whopping 843 different Lego bricks, along with one interactive motor, one colour and distance light sensor (to read hand controlled instructions would you believe) and the Move Hub, a large white and grey brick with built-in motors that serves as the central processing unit for the robot. The Hub connects to your tablet via Bluetooth, to receive your programming code, and to the other two electronic components via wires. In this way, the sound effects (music from the guitar, the robot talking, the cat farting, yep, you read that right) will come out of your tablet’s speaker, not the lego itself.
Build – Code – Play
Download the app, unlock the first easiest section, then build your lego – a simple small buggy to start with – using the main motor and hub, then programme your creation to move.
Build: The actual building process using iPad instructions, for any of the Lego Boost toys (Vernie, Frankie the Cat, M.I.R. 4, Guitar 4000 and Auto Builder) takes some time (over 2 hours for our young testers with adult help but older kids may whizz through faster).
Code: Once the lego has been built, you can code the toy by following the instructions on the iPad. Kids are prompted to programme the toy to move. Once the starter proramming has been completed, you can unlock the next steps for any of the five robots/toys to build and then code to fire projectiles, move, set vocal greetings or even dare we say, fart.
Leo Boost is one of the best STEAM kits we’ve seen for younger children. Lego Boost makes coding accessible for a much younger audience who practically become coders without realising it – learning through play – what Lego does best!
Parents of older children who are already familiar with programming may need more of a complex set up. We just wish the software was compatible with older versions of iPad and iOS rather than having to buy a new iPad to make this toy work.
On a final note, one of the initial appeals of lego for many is that it is a traditional “low tech” “low media” toy so with the new Lego boost and its reliance on an ipad to work, we just hope that kids don’t lose their love of the old original.
There is no doubt though that Lego Boost is a very very cool toy that is now top of my kids’ Christmas wish list!
Where to Get it in Singapore:
A limited number of the set will be exclusively available at Toys R Us from now until Thursday, 9 November, 2017 before it is made available at all the LEGO Certified Stores island-wide and Bricks World from Friday, 10 November, 2017 onwards, while stocks last.