Lightbot - Programming Puzzles

Common Sense Media says

Challenging programming puzzler teaches coding logic.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

Commands work beautifully, with only a tap needed to place or remove one. The challenge ramps up very quickly, but kids can redo each challenge, learning from their mistakes, until they get it.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

The very clear (and cleverly presented) privacy policy states that only anonymous data is collected. No personal information is requested.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Lightbot is a puzzler that teaches kids concepts used in computer programming. This programming app was developed for kids by an undergraduate student who's been coding since he was a kid himself. Brief instructions are included at the beginning of each level -- what you need to know when you need to know it. The level of challenge ramps up very quickly, making this best-suited for older kids and teens.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • patterns
  • sequences

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • logic
  • problem solving
  • strategy
  • thinking critically

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Kids motivated by challenging puzzles will enjoy Lightbot; others may find the challenge frustrating. The design is pretty simplistic. 

Learning Approach

New programming concepts transfer well to actual coding. Completing one level unlocks the next, but the challenge escalates quickly. Kids who stick with the challenge will develop a pretty deep understanding of programming concepts.

Support

No hints are available, but kids can replay levels as often as they want, learning in the process. Instructions are given as new concepts are introduced. Kids can restart levels from the beginning with the reset slider on the start screen.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • patterns
  • sequences

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • logic
  • problem solving
  • strategy
  • thinking critically

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology

Kids can learn programming concepts and terminology such as procedures, loops, and conditionals. Settings can be customized for seven languages, making the app accessible to students worldwide, with programming as the universal language. Kids will learn that, even though there's often more than one way to solve a problem (or write a program), cleaner and more efficient solutions are preferred; here, those are rewarded with stars. With the growing availability of kid-targeted programming apps, Lightbot best suits kids already drawn to programming and logic who also thrive on puzzles and challenges.

This Learning Rating review was written by Amanda Bindel

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

Kids move a robot along a Q*bert-style maze by dragging commands into place, lighting up specified tiles as they go in LIGHTBOT. Completing one level unlocks a more challenging level that introduces new programming concepts. Kids collect stars for meeting certain requirements, such as completing the program in no more than a specified number of steps. They can collect up to 20 stars over 40 levels, working with such programming concepts as procedures, loops, conditionals, and overloading.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This very challenging puzzler does a fabulous job of teaching kids programming concepts, but it's most likely to engage kids who would be drawn to programming anyway, mostly because of the quickly escalating challenge. There are no user accounts, so only one player at a time can work through the levels, but kids can erase and start over for a new player. The level of challenge ramps up very quickly, so younger kids may enjoy more programming playtime with My Robot Friend or Kodable Pro. It's easy to get stuck for a while on some levels, and no hints or clues are offered. Kids get as many chances as they need to be successful, though, and they'll learn from each failure.

Families can talk about...

  • Stress to kids that there's no penalty for trying and failing in Lightbot. If they want to find the best solution, they'll have to try, fail, and try again.

  • Talk to kids about what computer programmers create (and how it's changing the world). Share with them President Obama's encouraging words to kids about coding.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
Price:$2.99
Pricing structure:Paid
Release date:December 11, 2013
Category:Educational Games
Topics:High school
Size:30.00 MB
Publisher:Danny Yaroslavski
Version:1.1.5
Minimum software requirements:iOS 4.3 or later; Android 2.2 and up

This review of Lightbot - Programming Puzzles was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 12 years old January 1, 2014
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Lightbot is a fun game that helps you learn how to make lines of code! :D

Lightbot was introduced to me in my 7th grade computer elective in the Computer Science Education Week website(known as Hour of Code). My sister and I love playing it on my birthday Samsung Tablet! Not only does Lightbot help you actually think, you are really learning how to make lines of code on a computer. It probably would be difficult to understand if you are eight years of age or lower, but in other words, this game is educational and puzzling and can become addicting.
What other families should know
Great messages
Safety and privacy concerns
Educator and Parent of a 6, 8, 11, 13, and 15 year old Written byabdrahman November 16, 2014
AGE
7
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

very engaging

I gave to all my kids (5) to try out this program for teaching them about concept of programming. Or atlest the game who ask them to think not just to play arround. and they love it and they can do it. Thanks alot to the developer
What other families should know
Easy to play/use

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