Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Code Gamer

Code Gamer

Fall 2016 Toys
Ages: 10 & Up
Manufacturer: Thames & Kosmos
Price: $149.95

The CodeGamer Experiment by Thames & Kosmos teaches children aged ten years and up the basics of coding. The 47-piece set includes: an Arduino-compatible microcontroller with Bluetooth, a cable, rotary control wheel, circuit board, gamepad housing, two push buttons, motion sensor, temperature sensor, sound sensor, light sensor, miscellaneous project parts, and an instruction manual. In true Thames & Kosmos style, the 64-page manual includes detailed, step-by-step instructions with photographs and tons of information on coding vocabulary, concepts, projects, applications, and more.

The kit, which must be used in conjunction with a tablet or smartphone, teaches coding through gaming. First, young coders assemble their game pad and four sensor bots; this alone is great for sequencing, a necessary skill for coding, not to mention problem-solving, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and patience. The game pad is then used to play through 15 progressively difficult game levels on the tablet. During the game, children learn and use Arduino programming language to solve simple programming puzzles by plugging in the appropriate sensor bot/ Code Monster. The kit's 34 experiments in coding include making light blink to creating a working thermometer.

This well-designed coding workshop-in-a-box kit bridges the digital and physical play worlds with age appropriate (and appealing) hands-on experiments that are as fun as they are instructive.

Sharon Heuscher   ©2016 Parents' Choice
Sharon holds B.A.s in English Literature and Ancient Studies as well as a B.S. in Psychology. She is currently a masters-level trainee in Clinical Psychology specializing in neurodegenerative diseases. For the past thirteen years, Sharon has focused primarily on raising, educating, and nurturing her five children who range in age from three to thirteen.

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