Lightbot : Programming Puzzles

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
Lightbot : Programming Puzzles App Poster Image
Challenging programming puzzler teaches coding logic.

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

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.

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.

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What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 6, 8, 11, 13, and 15 year old Written byabdrahman November 16, 2014

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 arro... Continue reading
Parent of a 3 year old Written bySinem_tunc August 23, 2016

Programming Game for kids

In a lesson which I used LightBot. I said "we are going to be playing a game called Lightbot. There is a robot and he lives in a world of square tiles. T... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old January 1, 2014

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 play... Continue reading

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?

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.

Talk to your kids 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

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For kids who love puzzles

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