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Preschool Programmers: Apps, Toys and Games Make Learning to Code Child’s Play

November 9, 2017 • Product Reviews

In a previous post, we told you how coding is another key literacy vital to success. Introducing preschoolers to crucial programming concepts can help them develop problem‑solving, collaboration and creativity.

If you’re a parent who would like to develop these key skills in your child, read on. We’ve prepared a list of toys, apps and games that teach children to code while they play.

  1. Intended for children 6 and older, Potato Pirates is a card game called that helps teach children about fundamental coding concepts.
  2. Kodable (ages 4–11) is an app is ideal for teaching young students to code. It requires absolutely no reading skills. Instead, children propel little fuzz balls through a maze using various commands the app introduces over the course of the game.
  3. LightBot lets children solve puzzles using programming logic.
  4. With ScratchJr, young children (ages 5-7) can program their own interactive stories and In the process, they learn to solve problems, design projects and express themselves creatively.
  5. Dash & Dot are robots that teach children to code while they play. Your child can make Dash sing, dance and navigate all around the house. Sensors on the robot react to the environment around them—and with your child.
  6. Aimed at children as young as 4, The Foos teaches basic computer programming skills through self‑guided puzzles, mini-games and challenges.
  7. CHERP is a series of blocks, each representing an instruction, such as “forward,” “back” and “spin.” The blocks come with a robot and snap together to complete a story for the robot to act out.
  8. Similar to CHERP, the Code-a-pillar encourages preschoolers to arrange segments in endless combinations, sending the Code-a-pillar on his path.
  9. The apps Daisy the Dinosaur and Hopscotch both use visual blocks to represent commands to teach syntax. This approach is physical, like puzzle pieces: commands fit together if they work together and are grouped into color-coded families.

These games clearly show that learning to code doesn’t need not be mechanical, boring and complicated. As programmer, storyteller and illustrator Linda Liukas points out, learning to code can be colourful, and computers can be expressive machines meant to be tinkered with.

So, as you spend time with your child learning about colours and shapes, patterns and sequences, you’re not only helping to prepare her for success at school. You’re also helping to shape the next generation of programmers.

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