Parents' Guide to

Little Miss Inventor Coding

By Christy Matte, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 5+

Cute idea lacks clear directions and entertainment value.

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A lot of apps out there introduce kids to coding logic and, unfortunately, most do it better than this one. Right out of the gate, Little Miss Inventor Coding drops the ball by not explaining the backstory. Kids may never realize that the little pink garden cart is a robot that has been invented by Little Miss Inventor. The tutorial consists of a series of screenshots that are supposed to show kids what to do, but it starts out with the instruction buttons already in place instead of showing them being dragged out from the holding tray. Without words, it's hard to get a clear picture of what's happening. When the "A" button is introduced, it shows the robot watering a flower but never explains that it's also used for any similar activity, like clearing rocks. Later, a double arrow button appears with no introduction whatsoever. This lack of support and explanation will be extremely frustrating for younger kids with no coding experience. Kids with coding experience may know what to do, but that's when the next flaw becomes apparent: There's no incentive to do any of it. Without any feedback, kids just move on to the next level and do it all again. Kids can earn up to three stars on a level, but the game never explains why you haven't gotten a perfect score. Did you use too many buttons? Make too many mistakes in early attempts? There was room here for something cute to happen, such as a story about why she's gardening for 30 of her closest friends, but without enough support, no clear narrative, and no feedback, kids are just left with what feels like a real gardening chore.

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