Code Karts - Pre-school Programming Preparation

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
Code Karts - Pre-school Programming Preparation App Poster Image
Race cars to learn early programming skills in cute coder.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn the most simple, basic concepts related to coding as they solve puzzles. Through the process of trial and error, kids also can develop sequencing skills. They may also begin to notice patterns and part-whole relationships.

Ease of Play

Very easy to play. On-screen prompts guide kids through the first few levels or when they get stuck more than twice. The parents' guide helps parents understand the game features.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

There's a small icon promoting other apps by this developer on the intro screen. In-app purchase to access all game levels is only accessible through the app's parent gate.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Code Karts - Pre-school Programming Preparation is a puzzle app that introduces the most basic programming skills to young kids. Based on a racetrack, kids set the directions the race car must go to navigate around the track. They do so by organizing colored "bricks" with the same directional arrow on them as the race car should proceed to "code" the car's path around the track. Kids can play in two modes: one-car mode with no time limits, or two-car mode to race against the app's car. The free version includes 10 levels; accessing all 70 levels requires a $0.99 in-app purchase. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

To play CODE KARTS - PRE-SCHOOL PROGRAMMING PREPARATION, first sign up for a "grown-ups' account" by entering your email and password. Then enter your kid's name and return to the home screen. Kids choose one- or two-car mode by tapping on one or two cars. Kids tap the number "1" to begin the first puzzle. Watch as a pointing finger shows which brick to move first (the brick with the purple key is always first to start the car) and where. Decide what directional brick comes next and so on to move the race car. When finished placing the bricks to "program" the car, tap it and watch it move around the track. If a kid has completed the puzzle correctly, the car will cross the finish line and applause will sound. If not, they will hear an "awwww" sound and the car will not move at the point of error. Bricks can be moved back in place to make corrections. Upon the completion of a level, the game automatically moves to the next puzzle. 

Is it any good?

If you're looking for an app to help your preschooler dip their toes into the coding waters, this is a terrific choice. The word "preparation" is key in understanding the purpose of this app because Code Karts - Pre-school Programming Preparation isn't going to give kids the nuts-and-bolts knowledge needed to code anything. But what kids will get is a developmentally appropriate understanding of how step-by-step patterns, cause-and-effect relationships, and their own input into a device affects the output of that device. That alone is plenty to make the time spent on the app worthwhile for any preschooler growing up in the digital age. Plus, it's fun! One suggestion: It would be nice if the visuals changed from race cars to other objects (racing snails, bananas, kids?) on some levels to pique the interest of kids who aren't into race cars. Overall, though, it's is an excellent, pre-beginner coding experience.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about various ways to express directions. Young kids are just learning right from left, up from down, and cardinal directions. Parents may need to help kids learn this language over time, so kids can focus more on the coding aspects in Code Karts - Pre-school Programming Preparation.

  • Explain to your kid in simple terms how skills like the ones they're learning in the app help program other games they play.

  • Talk about clues kids can use on this app. Note the color-coded bricks, the arrows on the track, and the ability to move bricks back and retry if your kid doesn't solve the puzzle correctly.

App details

For kids who love coding and STEM apps

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