Introduce young kids to the basic concepts of coding with Tangiplay Code N Play. It comes with 12 robot figures that interact with the free Tangiplay app when placed on a tablet screen. The robots come in five different colors, and each color does something different. You can see what each robot's action is by the symbol and word on its head. The four blue robots are for sequencing. The two green robots will start and end a loop. The two yellow robots are function robots. The three purple robots add conditions, such as "if", "else", and "if". And the one red robot is Start/Pause.
Once you open the box, there are no real instructions except to download the app. Then you can activate the game and start playing. There are 120 puzzles to solve, and it's all about building train tracks and sending passengers to the station. When you start off, you're just using the blue robots. So you would tap and/or rotate the Move robot to indicate what direction the track should go, and then tap the Rail robot to complete the piece of track, repeating this sequence until the track is complete. If you've got obstacles in the way, tap and/or rotate the Tools robot to destroy blocks of ice, for instance. If the on-screen track builder gets tired, tap the Charge robot to give it some extra energy.
As you progress through the levels, you'll add more of the robots. Tapping and rotating the green Loop robot determines how many repetitions of an action there should be. This allows you to only tap the blue robots once while still building three pieces of track, for instance. And when you're using several same actions multiple times, the yellow Function robots let you pack and apply them as one. The purple condition robots will help you bypass obstacles without destroying them, and in any level, if you input the program wrong, use the red robot to debug the program and find the error.
To make the hands-on play with the robots even more fun, kids can choose from 20 different emoji faces to add to their robots. Each face attaches magnetically.
This is actually the kind of toy that grows with your child. The youngest kids can start out learning sequencing with the robots, and then progress to using loops, setting conditions, and choosing functions. As you're playing, you can see all the codes you've input on the side of the screen and watch as the app moves through your entire sequence, pointing out which step it's on.
It might take a 4-year-old time and practice to understand how to use this toy and successfully solve puzzles. That's where parent participation comes in. But hopefully, the combination of colorful robots with their funny emoji faces and engaging on-screen graphics will be enough to keep kids wanting to play and problem solve.
Tangiplay Code N Play is for ages 4 to 12.
The box says the free app is for iOS and Android devices, but the Android app is only a test app. According to the Tangiplay website, the app is currently only for iOS devices.
Build Your Own Burp N Fart Machine and Lite Blox
Circuit Blox, Story Blox, and Light 'N Flight
Hexbug Nano Zone and Junk Bots
Tangiplay Code N Play
Junior Rainbow Pebbles and FunPlay Rainbow Pebbles
from Edx Education
LEGO Gear Bots and Gadgets
Galaxy Rocket Ship