Education, STEM Learning, Toy Reviews

Coding Express Color-driven Smart Engine by Robobloq for exciting STEM play

Coding Express Color-driven Smart Engine by Robobloq for exciting STEM play

The kids have been inside ALOT! The video games and screen time has been ALOT! I will admit it, my son has had a lot of video game time. I did justify that as a 7th grader he has rocked distant learning. There has been some rough times, but he is self-motivated and still pulling A’s and B’s consistently. So, I feel as long as he puts work first and gets it done well, playtime is his.

I have also learned a bit about his learning style since he is at home for his education. He learns by doing and also has a good ear. With subjects like math and science, STEM play is a great way to teach while they have fun so learning topics like coding, construction and mapping becomes engaging. Coding Express by Robobloq is a brilliant STEM toy that kids as young as 3 can play and learn with.

This Coding Express train runs exactly how your child tells it to. You can build the included track in so many configurations, then use the 19 color-coded inductive stickers as commands that your train will read and follow. These stickers will guide in direction, certain sounds it will make in its travels, and other effects like stoppage time at certain spots, etc.

For instance, your child can place a play stoplight and code it to stop for 3 seconds then go as if it was actually stopping for the light. Have a whistle? You will want one. If your child blows a whistle at the train it will accelerate. The imagination and creativity will become outstanding as they play. The bonus, they get introduced to coding concepts.

More than commands, the Coding Express intelligent built-in infrared sensor can sense any objects in front of it and avoid/follow it. You even have the option to expand the track system easily as Coding Express track is compatible with other track systems such as Thomas 7 Friends, BRIO and IKEA.

For screen-free learning play, visit Robobloq and order your Coding Express today. You will also find other great coding toys. Also available on Amazon.

STEM Learning, Toy Reviews

Create a Nerf Gun Battle Ground with Make-A-Fort Kits

Create a Nerf Gun Battle Ground with Make-A-Fort Kits

Even on the rainiest of days I can get my tween to gather up neighbor boys and get outside away from video games, especially when I give them a nerf gun adventure. With Make-A-Fort kits your child, tween (or adult) can make forts, tunnels, mazes, a Nerf gun battle ground and more. They can be creative or follow their project guides.


Our son is 12 and there are many neighbor boys his age and they always bring out laser guns or nerf guns when they meet outside. They are cool 7th graders, but there is still some ‘boy’ left in these growing tweens and it showed the day I brought out the Make-A-Fort kit. The rain didn’t stop them either. Before the kids arrived, Anthony started building. He decided to use only 1 kit for this day because rain was off and on and he wasn’t sure how long they’d stay in the cold rain. He created ‘walls’ or bunkers and used them as hiding blocks.

Play with Make-A-Fort

Make-A-Fort kits are made from an upgraded cardboard that is much stronger and much more durable than normal shipping box cardboard. When the rain didn’t stop, we brought out blankets so it wasn’t sitting in direct puddles gathering. Then I grabbed my old paining cloths for him to drape over so they didn’t get too wet and we would have to dry the panels.

Nerf wars

Using the painting cloths actually made it look like real bunker walls and kept the rain off. The boys said it felt like they were in paint ball courses. Even as the rain came down they lasted well over an hour out there and the kit was in great shape afterwards. We brought it right inside and in a moment was torn down and back in its carry box it arrived in. It packs up neatly and is narrow to store in a closet or on a shelf.

The 2 walls he built was 1 full kit. You can have a load of fun with 2 or 3 kits. There is a Mansion pattern for 2 kits he wants to build one day with our second kit, but he still is thinking about gifting the second kit to his cousins. He kept saying how much fun my nephews would have with a kit then when they get together he can bring his and then with both they can build bigger things. They really do make great gifts!

Build battle grounds

What is included (per kit)?

  • 18 x Panels (each 23” x 23”)
  • 10 x Braces (each about 8″ x 8″)
  • 80 x Connectors (each less than 3″ in diameter)
  • 1 x Carrying Case (24” x 24” x 4.25”)
  • 1 x Getting Started Guide
  • 1 x Children’s Product Certificate

Interested in finding a fun activity that your kids can entertain themselves or the whole family can play together? Visit Make-A-Fort and order as many kits as your kids need for that building fun!

Infant Toddler Products, STEM Learning, Toy Reviews

Stick-O Cooking 16 Piece Set – Toddler Toy Review

Stick-O Cooking 16 Piece Set - Toddler Toy Review

Looking for some new toys to engage your toddler? These Stick-O Sets by Magformers are such a blast. I may or may not have been caught piecing these together as I sat with my nephew at play. This is the Cooking 16 Piece Set. Each piece can match to its pair – such as a handle to the fry pan or the yolk with the egg shells or watch them mix and match the pieces.

toddler toy

Magformers has a very safe reputation for making magnetic toys for kids that are well made with very little risk of harm to your child. There are no visible magnets or easy access to them at all. They just work and build and are an engaging imaginary and role play toy.

toddler cooking set

These Stick-O sets are great for brain development, critical thinking and STEM education. Develop color and shape recognition, fine motor skills and problem-solving ability. Buy on Amazon today.

Education, STEM Learning

How to Animate a Spinning Emoji | Beginner Web Development Animation Tutorial

With COVID we had many students learning from home. This had kids and teens spending so many hours in front of a screen. While there may be negatives to so much screen time, perhaps there are some positives, too.

My own tween has become quite intuitive with a computer. He is on it so much that he has learned things like animation and some coding skills. Perhaps learning some of these experiences can have a great impact on their tech world. They can start or continue their web experiences with this, How to Animate a Spinning Emoji.

This project will give you a great introduction to basic web animations using HTML and CSS. Learn how to use spinning animations on the web by animating sushi (or any emoji you like)!

Who is this project for?

How to Animate a Spinning Emoji | Beginner Web Development Animation Tutorial

This project info and learning outcomes summary will help you decide if this project is right for you.

This beginner Web Development for kids tutorial is for students that want an easy/medium challenge project, about ~30 lines long. It’s perfect for students currently in our JavaScript Level 1 class, or anyone that wants to start learning basic web development. You should have a basic working knowledge of what HTML/CSS is, and how it’s used beforehand to get the most out of this tutorial.

For learning outcomes, you’ll get a lot of practice with writing HTML and CSS, and generating animations with CSS. This project is estimated to take you about 15 minutes, but you should move faster or slower at your own pace!

Project Demo

Before getting started, see how our finished project works for reference. Watch the video, or view my project and solution code. You should also consider what kinds of features the project has that you should try to built in your project.

What to keep in mind before you start:

  • We need to be able to center our sushi in the middle of the page.
  • We need to define some CSS that will do that for us.
  • In order to use an animation, we need to define the keyframes for our animation.

Steps to Code the Project

  1. Create the sushi on the screen.
  2. Position the sushi.
  3. Animate the sushi.

How do we do each of these steps?

Step 1: Create the sushi on the screen.

  • Create a div with the sushi emoji inside of it.

Step 2: Position the sushi.

  • Use CSS to ensure it is in the center of the screen
  • Make the sushi larger with font-size

Step 3: Animate the sushi.

  • Define the animation.
  • Use keyframes. Read more about animation frames for context.
  • Link the animation to the sushi, and tell it the properties it will need to know such as animation-iteration-count for how many times it will repeat.

Challenge Yourself with Extra Features

Explore what other animations could be made, or use other emojis and images to get creative! You can learn more about web development animations to see what is possible.

Hopefully this basic tutorial gave you a foundation to get started with more complex and ambitious animation projects.

Great job! Check out more coding tutorials

Thanks for watching and hope you had fun making this project with me! Every week, we’ll be posting project tutorials like this one, for different coding languages and experience levels, as well as math tutorials.

Check out our step-by-step coding projects to find our other tutorials in more coding languages!

Need more help, or want to keep learning?

A coding classes Instructor teaching kids Python.

A Juni Instructor teaches basic Python to a young student.

Looking up your coding questions is one of the best ways to learn! Another great way to learn is from an experienced coder or instructor.

Juni Learning Coding Instructors like Gabriel work closely with students ages 8-18, and are specially trained to adapt to each child’s unique learning style, pace, and interests.

Read more about our coding courses for kids and curriculum, or contact our Admissions Team to learn which course is best for your student’s coding journey.

This article originally appeared on