Lightbot Jr 4+ Coding Puzzles App Poster Image

Lightbot Jr 4+ Coding Puzzles

(i)

 

Colorful, engaging intro to programming for young kids.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn the basics of procedural thinking and programming. Because Lightbot Jr focuses on the gameplay, it's easy to get kids engaged. But, without some context and possibly some guidance and encouragement, young players may get stuck long before they internalize some of the key lessons of programming. Also, when compared to the many learn-to-program titles on the market, Lightbot Jr only scratches the surface. This is a fine introduction to programming concepts for young kids, but, for a deeper dive into coding, kids will have to look elsewhere.

Ease of play

Because the puzzles vary in difficulty from basic "move forward, turn/move forward" commands all the way up to nested loops and subroutines, kids might get stuck; they're likely to need a parent's help.

Violence & scariness
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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Lightbot Jr is a simplified version of the popular Lightbot coding puzzle app and features the same cute, programmable robot. Kids drag and drop basic commands -- such as move, hop, light, and turn -- into strings of instructions. Each blocky level challenges kids to string together a program that guides Lightbot through the level and to light up specific tiles. A puzzle game with a taste of coding, this title offers a neat way to let future developers sample what programming might be like. Most kids will need help as the difficulty of the puzzles ramps up.

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What's it about?

LIGHTBOT JR 4+ CODING PUZZLES presents kids with a cute little robot, small levels composed of blocks, and a handful of drag-and-drop programming icons. "Move," "turn," "light," and "jump" comprise the core of Lightbot Jr's available commands. And, by placing these command tiles in a row, Lightbot Jr moves merrily through the level, lighting up designated tiles. Light up the correct tiles, and the player moves on to the next level.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

As a puzzle game, Lightbot Jr is cheerful and fun. Littler kids will find the basic graphics appealing and the drag-and-drop programming a breeze. As the game progresses, some of the concepts may slip past the beginner and require some explaining. And the harder puzzles require long sequences of steps that may baffle even the adult partner. As kids get better at the game, they will have learned many of the basic concepts of procedural thinking. But, without follow-up, Lightbot offers only a taste of what programming is like.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how all computer programs are lists of commands that a computer (or robot) runs.

  • Families also can talk about how thinking in steps makes a big problem seem easier.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Fire phone, Kindle Fire
Subjects:Math: addition, patterns, sequences
Skills:Thinking & Reasoning: decision-making, defining problems, logic, problem solving, solving puzzles
Tech Skills: using and applying technology
Price:$2.72-$2.99
Pricing structure:Paid
Release date:April 14, 2014
Category:Educational Games
Topics:Robots
Size:35.40 MB
Publisher:LightBot, Inc
Version:1.0.0
Minimum software requirements:iOS 5 or later; Android 2.3 and up

This review of Lightbot Jr 4+ Coding Puzzles was written by

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Adult Written by_Angie_ May 12, 2015

Simple, fun, effective, not overly stimulating, no adds or in app purchases

I love this app! I have a mathy 5 year old (both parents are computer scientists) and I felt it was a great introduction to procedural thinking and computer programming. Yes it was easy for him, but he still learned something and he really enjoyed it. I probably could have started him on the non jr version. I loved having the option of starting him on one I knew he'd do well at though, since this was his first iPad app. I think he had fun, it wasn't graphically overstimulating or distracting and he did learn to break problems down into smaller problems, etc. I like that you can turn the music on or off. As a female software engineer, I love that there is a boy or girl robot you can pick - yay! The navigation between levels, etc was very clean. All in all, a pretty simple, well done app. Loved it. This is the same kind of learning you get from a game like Robot Turtles or Kodable. I'm sure for simplification purposes, but it's interesting that the recursive functions have no stop condition. Stack overflow!
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