I am honored to bring you another app by Kidlo and this one is a fantastic idea! My son loves coding so this game is right up his alley. Stay tuned for our honest review of Kidlo’s Coding for Kids app, plus screen shots and a demo video!
I appreciate Prachi and Kidlo for allowing us to play this game for free. They have received our honest feedback and work to make their games the best that they can be.
So what is a coding app? Essentially coding is like basic programming: writing a series of functions to make the game do something. If you write the code correctly, you successfully complete the task; if not, go back and review your work to see where you went wrong. This is the foundation for tons of technology-based fields, from robotics to video game design. It’s also a type of critical thinking which is really good for anyone!
I was excited to hear that Kidlo had made their own version of a coding app, specifically designed for young children. Like I said, my son really enjoys coding-type stuff, but a lot of apps out there are too advanced for him at this point.
Coding for Kids is geared for children about ages 6-8 years of age, but it’s fun to play with younger kids too, like my enthusiastic 4 year old!
How the Game Works
Essentially, Coding for Kids is a set of various mini-games, each with quite a few levels. You choose which game you want and follow the intro and prompts.
For example, in the Monster Dentist game, you have to move the toothbrush to the dirty tooth. Use commands like “Left” and “Down” to get the brush where it needs to go; then select the “Brush” command to clean that sucker up!
You’ll line up all of your commands in a row, and then click “Play” to have them run in sequence. That’s the true test: did you complete the task you needed to? If so, you get a cute little animation and then can dance to the next level. If not, go back and fix what you missed by dragging out the improper command, or re-ordering the ones already in the task list.
The mini games are:
- Little Firefighter
- Garbage Truck
- Pop the Balloons
- Chomp the Fruits
- Monster Dentist
- Ice Cream Time
I feel like all of Coding for Kids’ bright colors, and animations, are really enjoyable to look at. It seems like every screen and every action rewards you with the characters moving and speaking. I know that takes a lot of time and I appreciate it.
I also think the background music is quite good for a kids’ app. As a music teacher, I’m super sensitive to things like that!
I think that the “tutorial” mode at the beginning of each game is helpful, too. (There is no way to scroll or click past this, so it might get old after a while, but I think a little extra reinforcement of what to do is okay.)
And of course, the concept of getting kids to “code” without making it seem like a computer class is fantastic. I think all the various games like the dentist and the ice cream truck are really creative too!
And as with all Kidlo apps, there is a ton of content. So many games and so many levels. This is good because it means your child can get a lot of reinforcement in without a lot of repetition. The screen shot below doesn’t begin to show you how many levels each game really has! It’s impressive.
There are a few minor things which I’m hoping Kidlo will improve as they continue to fine-tune this app. Nothing really negatively affects game play, and it certainly doesn’t harm your kids or teach something incorrectly.
I already mentioned that you can’t click through or skip past a tutorial in one of the games; that doesn’t take too much of your time, but I think some kids in the older age range might get a bit frustrated.
On a few of the mini games, you might get confused (like my son did) when you successfully complete a level. You get the animation and a pop-up that says “Good job!” but then nothing happens. You have to push the “Go” button again to advance to the next level, it’s just not that clear. Maybe a pop-up which says “Continue” to go to the next level? Or get rid of the black text bubble and make the “Go” button light up more brightly, so it’s more obvious? We figured it out after a minute or two!
The screen sometimes clicks away too fast from something that I consider essential, or at least beneficial to look at. The main one for me is the screen showing your level progress, as a road map where you advance from one level to the next. (Think of the old-school Mario maps where Mario would be moved from one zone to another.) This screen is shown for only a second or two, and you don’t actually move your character. It does it automatically and then that progress screen is gone. I think either you should be able to physically touch the next level, or that the screen shouldn’t be showed at all.
The biggest thing which I think would be helpful is to have the app speak the command as a child touches it. To reference my earlier example, in the dentist game, have the app audiate “Left” each time the child touches that command, or whenever they drag it into the order. And then when the child hits “Play”, the commands should be spoken in sequence. This would help not only with learning names of directional commands and such, but I think it’s important to help reinforce the commands that the child is selecting.
I will say again that Prachi and the Kidlo team are extremely receptive to feedback and they already have a copy of my suggestions! I know they’ll review all the feedback they receive and will make the right choices for all of the Kidlo users out there.
And I think it’s really great that the app and all levels of all six games are free through December 31, 2017. I appreciate working with a group of people who really are about “The kids” not just in word, but in deed. Look for all of Kidlo’s great content on your device’s app store, and thanks for reading!
To see my review of the original Kidloland app, including screen shots and a video demo, click here.