Kids'n'Code

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Kids'n'Code App Poster Image
Fun, basic game gives limited idea of how coding works.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn very basic concepts of coding. They'll experiment with arranging four different commands in varying sequences to move a robot toward a target. To put the sequence together, kids will call on problem-solving and planning skills.

Ease of Play

A tutorial explains how to add commands and test your coding.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Kids'n'Code is a kid-friendly, easy introduction to coding language. Through a series of levels, kids use four coding commands to program a robot to capture a hanging gem. Kids should know how to read in order to play. In settings, kids or parents can turn off music and sound effects. If registered, kids can post their achievements to their device's game center. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your information is collected and shared.

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What's it about?

When opening KIDS'N'CODE for the first time, kids complete a quick tutorial to learn how the coding robot works. Then, in each group of five levels, kids create code that directs a robot to end on the space that holds a gem. Tap on the robot to see the four available commands: turn, step, jump, and push. At any time, tap play to test out the coding sequence. If the robot finishes in the right place in the least number of moves possible, move to the next level with full points. If not, remove or add commands to rewrite the code.

Is it any good?

Kids get a very basic introduction to the mechanics of coding with a simple, easy-to-follow game. In fact, going from level to level can get downright addictive as kids guide a little robot to a target. Some puzzles have more than one solution, which gives kids a certain amount of creativity in writing their code. There are only four commands to use: turn, step, jump, and push. So, beyond playing around with four codes, there's not much complexity to Kids'n'Code. Also, if kids need to edit their code, rather than inserting different commands in the middle of the sequence, kids have to delete everything that comes after the part they need to edit. Some of the app's wording, such as "optimize the algorithm," isn't very kid-friendly. And there's a big jump from easy puzzles to suddenly complex ones. In some levels, kids must mentally picture a long sequence to plan out their coding, which may be challenging for younger kids. Despite its downfalls, Kids'n'Code is a decent way for beginners to get a feel for how coding works.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how to plan out a sequence in Kids'n'Code. Help kids talk through the steps the robot will need to take to reach its target.

  • Try out a few different coding games so kids can get a feel for the limitless possibilities available. If kids are into it, let them try out some more complicated coding apps.

  • Encourage kids to engage in STEM activities on and off the screen. Are there experiments your kid wants to do? Are they interested in building and making things?

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For kids who love STEM and coding

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