Recently there has been an increase in the number of coding apps for kids. Many of them aim to help kids visualize abstract programming concepts, but are simple enough for parents with no prior coding experience to accompany their kids. Typically they include puzzles that must be solved with various programming elements, including loops and conditional statements.
Today, I want to highlight a brand new coding app for kids called Robot School Learn to Code. It’s a pretty straightforward, yet well-designed, game where you get a robot to a specified destination using various sensors in a LEGO-like environment.
Help R-obbie the Robot to Return Home Safely
The main character in this game is R-obbie the Robot, a poor robot who crashed his spaceship in a faraway galaxy. Your job is to guide him through 45 levels of coding challenges to help him reach the fuel he needs to return home safely.
Each level is designed around the idea of programming the robot to move to a nearby battery. In the first few levels, you will learn how to move the robot and count the number of steps it needs to reach the battery. Then, you will learn how to turn left/right and collect new powers that would enable it to open doors/boxes and use various sensors, such as collision sensor, color sensor, and distance sensor.
As you move to more advanced levels, you will learn about basic programming elements, such as numbered loops, conditional loops (“while”), loops within loops, conditionals (“if”), and how to “break” from an infinite loop. The game also introduces you to concepts such as parameters (method arguments), variables, and equations.
Each programming element that you use requires one or more battery powers. You get a limited amount of battery powers in each level. Often times, this will lead to a single, most efficient solution.
Parents Need to Know
If you have been wondering how to help your kids learn how to code, Robot School is a great place to start. It’s suitable for ages 7+ who love to play LEGO and want to learn how to control their own robots. The game is an excellent playground for kids to practice their critical thinking and creative problem solving skills.
Robot School works great on Airplane mode. It doesn’t include any in-app purchase or advertising. If you want to share the code your kids created within the app, you can do so by tapping on the Facebook icon as soon as you complete a level.
Things I Like
As a long-time software developer, I really like Robot School. The levels are well-designed to match the learning curve of someone who is just learning the basics of programming. After playing all 45 levels to completion, I really appreciate how the game forces you to code efficiently and debug a program.
To make things more familiar with its intended audience, Robot School uses LEGO-like bricks in a LEGO-like environment. The game also introduces you how to use sensors, as you would in real-world robotics, to make sense of the environment and guide your robot to its destination.
I personally enjoy how the game lets you preview the code you created in Swift. Considering how Swift is going to be crucial for app development in Apple ecosystems (both iOS and OS X), it maybe the perfect first language for our kids.
Robot School Learn to Code is an excellent game to help kids ages 7+ learn the basics of computer programming. Using 45 levels of challenging puzzles, the game teaches you how to use programming elements, such as loops, conditional loops, and conditionals, to guide R-obbie the Robot to find enough fuel to return home. The well-designed levels have a gentle learning curve and force you to code efficiently, making the app a perfect introduction to programming for all ages.
Robot School. Learn to Code is available for iPhone and iPad.
App was provided for our honest review.