This Robotic Puzzle Game Teaches Kids Basic Coding Skills

ActivePuzzle
ActivePuzzle

Kids don't need to look at a screen to learn the basics of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). A new electronic puzzle kit raising money on Kickstarter encourages kids to use their hands as well as their brains to put together robots that complete various tasks.

The game, called ActivePuzzle, utilizes the classic jigsaw puzzle pieces many kids already know. In this case, the slots and tabs that hold the parts together double as input and output channels.

Each piece serves a different function. One block stores the battery and supplies the robot with power; another holds a proximity sensor that allows it to "see" and follow objects in front of it. With up to 22 different blocks, ActivePuzzle is multiple robot toys in one, including a maze runner, a street light, a wake-up alarm, and a spinning dancer. (See it in action in the video below.)

Even though ActivePuzzle doesn't use computer screens, it's meant to act as a child's introduction to coding. The intuitive game teaches players concepts like sequencing, programming, and problem-solving—basics that are essential to people working in STEM fields.

Since the launch of its crowdfunding campaign on February 27, ActivePuzzle has already exceeded its initial goal and raised more than $24,000. Backers have until March 28 to reserve a kit of their own. A pledge of $78 gets you 16 puzzle pieces, while a $122 pledge gets you 22 pieces.

Buy it on Kickstarter.

A Stranger Things Fan Is Selling Epic Demogorgon Dog Costumes on Etsy

Joe Keery, Maya Hawke, Priah Ferguson, and Gaten Matarazzo in Stranger Things.
Joe Keery, Maya Hawke, Priah Ferguson, and Gaten Matarazzo in Stranger Things.
Netflix

Stranger Things is great at placing the truly terrifying alongside the absolutely adorable. One minute we are gushing over Eleven and Mike’s teen romance, and the next we’re jumping off the couch at the sight of those possessed by the Mind Flayer.

No matter how seamless the Duffer Brothers' Netflix series is in weaving together these moments, it seems like it would be impossible to make the Demogorgon cute. But somehow, one crafty fan has done just that.

Etsy shop ThatCraftyFriendShop has created Demogorgon headpieces that fit perfectly on your dog’s head.

People reports that the headpieces range in size from extra small (for 5- to 10-pound dogs) all the way to extra large (for dogs over 75 pounds). Prices range from $25 to $75, depending on the size of your four-legged friend.

These wool and felt doggy costumes are perfect for Halloween, or even a Stranger Things watch party while you continue to binge and re-binge the third seasonwith a decked-out doggy by your side.

[h/t People]

12 Expert-Level BBQ Gadgets to Buy This Summer

Giang Nguyen/istock via Getty Images
Giang Nguyen/istock via Getty Images

Outdoor barbecues are a beloved tradition, but that doesn’t mean you have to use traditional equipment. Grill masters and inventors are always cooking up new gizmos for the rest of us to play with. If you want to up your BBQ game, get your mitts on these 12 nifty items before the summer’s end.

1. Char-Broil SmartChef TRU-Infrared 420 3-Burner Cabinet; $644


This high-tech, Wi-Fi-connected grill lets you control your cookout from your phone. You can adjust the burner temperature and monitor cook times on your mobile device with the SmartChef Gas Grill Mobile App, where you can also access a whole library of delicious recipes. If you so desire, the grill will also remind you when it’s time to flip the meat and insert the temperature probes (among other tasks). The burners can also be operated manually, in case you want the occasional experience of cooking with a conventional grill. Whether you're using your phone or controlling temperatures manually, though, the infrared cooking system heats evenly and prevents flare-ups to keep your meat juicy.

Buy it: Walmart

2. Looftlighter Original Electric Fire Starter; $80


Never buy lighter fluid again. In just 60 seconds, the eco-friendly Looftlighter Electric Fire Starter can superheat air to set your charcoal ablaze, no flammable liquids required. Briquettes, natural coal, and wooden kindling can all be easily ignited by the handheld wand.

Buy it: Amazon or BBQ Guys

3. Grillbot Automatic Grill-Cleaning Robot; $100

An automatic grill cleaning robot on a charcoal grill
Grillbot, Amazon

Scraping the crud out of your grill is a nasty chore. The good news is, now you can outsource it. Grillbot is an automated cleaner—like a Roomba for grills—that removes charred residue with swiveling, removable brushes. Heat-resistant plastic allows the Grillbot to operate on sweltering surfaces, so it can be used whether your grill has cooled down or not. Just plop it on top of the grate, set the timer, and close the grill lid. Then grab a cold one while your new best friend terminates some grill scum.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Royal Gourmet 8-Burner Gas Grill; $366


Anyone throwing a big company party or family gathering will want this massive eight-burner grill on standby. It can cook more than 120 hot dogs (or upwards of 60 hamburgers) at the same time. If feeding that many hungry guests all at once doesn’t make you a summertime superhero, we don’t know what does.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Meater Smart Meat Thermometer; $70


The time has come to toss your simple meat thermometer in favor of something a little fancier. MEATER's wireless thermometer probe has two different sensors to ensure your meat is perfectly cooked. One sensor gauges the meat’s internal temperature, and the other measures the ambient heat. Status updates are sent to the free MEATER app, which you can use to keep an eye on your food from pretty much anywhere. (Webber’s iGrill2, $60, is another good option for backyard chefs seeking an app-connected thermometer.)

Buy it: Amazon

6. BBQ Grill Light & Fan; $90

Kill—or should we say, “grill”—two birds with one stone with Sharper Image's barbecue-top light/fan combo. The unit’s adjustable LED fixture gives you a light to cook by after the sun goes down. And no matter what time it is, you’ll want to take advantage of its other key feature: a pair of smoke-clearing fans. The clamp is designed to fit most grill hoods.

Buy it: Sharper Image

7. Stingray 7-in-1 BBQ Grill Multi-tool; $15


Barbecues are busy events—you’ve got burgers to flip, red-hot sausages to pull off the grill, and a six-pack of beer bottles to open. Normally, you’d need at least three separate tools to get everything done. But that’s the beauty of this stainless steel multi-tool from Stingray. It’s an ingenious cross between a BBQ fork, a pair of tongs, a spatula, and a bottle opener. And here’s the best part: You can operate the whole thing with one hand.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Bear Paws Shredder Claws; $13


Able to withstand temperatures as high as 475°F, the Bear Paws are a slick replacement for more conventional cutlery tools. They’re versatile, they’re easy to wash, and they’re just plain cool. Use them to lift, pull, and shred hot meats—all while embracing your inner grizzly.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Chef's Kitchen 7-Piece Outdoor BBQ Apron and Utensil Set; $13


You'll have no more panicked searches for misplaced BBQ tools with this apron and utensil set from Chef's Kitchen. For under $20, you can get a set of salt and pepper shakers, three stainless steel grilling tools, an oven mitt, and, of course, a durable apron with enough pockets to hold all those things.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Grillaholics Stuffed Burger Press; $15


What’s better than a hamburger covered in delicious toppings? A hamburger that’s stuffed with ‘em, courtesy of Grillaholics' stuffed burger press. Take some patty meat, put it at the bottom of this press, and use the inverted cup on the lid to make an opening for your favorite ingredients. Then put the remaining meat on top and close the contraption. With a simple squeeze, you’ll have the makings of a perfectly round, goodie-filled burger. Included with your purchase is a digital recipe book worthy of Bob Belcher.

Buy it: Amazon

11. Charcoal Companion Stainless Grill Clips; $10 for Four


Grilled veggies are a welcome addition to any BBQ spread, but flipping individual pepper slices or asparagus spears one-by-one is a pain. Fortunately, Charcoal Companion offers game-changing clamps that’ll save you a bunch of steps. Once you’ve secured a handful of vegetables inside one of these clips, you can flip them all in unison.

Buy it: Amazon

12. Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grill with Sear Box; $900


You don’t have to micromanage your fuel supply to grill meats with that perfect, wood-smoked flavor. The Woodwind automatically burns just enough wooden pellets to reach and maintain whatever cooking temperature you set. Inside, you’ll find 811 inches of cooking space. And next to the main grill, there’s a propane-powered sear box that gets as hot as 900°F.

Buy it: Amazon or BBQ Guys

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