Monday, 16 July 2018

Our Favourite Game For Introducing Coding To Little Ones

The skill of programming is totally a magic superpower in my mind. I'm not a strong coder at all, but my husband is one. It amazes me what cool creations or interesting solutions come out of the other side of a computer program he's written.

Sebastian is only 6, but I've discovered it is not to early to learn the principles of programming. He's been introduced to them at school through this game, Robot Turtles. And before we get started, I think it's important to share that Sebastian started playing this game at school over a year ago, so he was 4/5 when he first learned to play. He loves this game so much that he saved his own money to buy one for home.

Robot Turtles is a board game that teaches young children how to code. Interestingly, it is the most-backed Kickstarter board game in history! The goal of the game is for each turtle to reach their gem.

You can have 2, 3, or 4 turtles playing at a time. When the game begins, one person "sets up" the board. You can make the game as easy or as hard as you'd like. You can place your gems close to the turtles or far, and you can add different obstacles along the way. You don't have to make the path the same for each turtle, but the day I took these pictures, Sebastian had set up the board symmetrically.

For each turn, the player (or Turtle Master) chooses three cards to move their turtle, places them in a line, and then their turtle is moved according to their directions. They can choose between Left, Right, or Forward. When the player has a second turn, he or she will add three more cards to their line, essentially building/writing their code, and their turtle is moved again.

As your little coder becomes more confident, you can add other elements to the game. There are Laser cards that melt ice walls, and a Function Frog which will repeat a move sequence they have already played.

The Bug Tile (above) is also important because if a player wants to undo a move, they can tap their Bug Tile and shout "Bug!". This undoes their move and lets them fix their mistake. I have used this Bug Tile more than once when I play! I also love that they are using real programming language at an age-appropriate level.

There is much more that can go on in this game, but I think I've shared the main ideas here.

The educator in me is totally impressed with how quickly the littlest learners can handily understand the basic concepts of programming. The mom in me is delighted to see Sebastian having so much fun.

I sincerely believe that Robot Turtles would make an excellent gift for anyone aged 4 and up. You can find out more on the Robot Turtles website, and we bought our copy on Amazon. I'd be gifting it to all of his friends, if I didn't already know they have also bought their own copies!


Note - This is not a sponsored post. We just love this game and think you will too! 

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