Move the Turtle. Learn to code

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
Move the Turtle. Learn to code App Poster Image
Great concept; younger kids will need some guidance.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn the basic concepts of computer programming (coding), such as how to draw a line or box, as well as how to incorporate graphics and noises into the program. Kids practice following written directions and applying technology to create digital content. Step-by-step programming requires lots of critical thinking, too. A voice tutorial and more specific instructions could greatly enhance learning for younger kids. If kids can read and quickly pick up the basics, Move the Turtle can be a useful tool to learn many basic (and some advanced) programming skills.

Ease of Play

No audio tutorial or prompts. The main help section is minimal, at best, although kids can tap to view the solution within the task. Difficulty in chapters progresses quickly by tapping "Skip" after any failed command, whether or not a kid has actually mastered the command being learned. For kids younger than tweens, this app is likely going to be difficult to play without a parent's or teacher's help.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Move the Turtle. Programming for kids sets out to teach kids the basics of computer programming (coding) concepts built within a colorful game starring a cute turtle. Tweens and teens can get a lot out of it, but the game can be quite confusing for younger kids if they cannot read or don't understand the very basic instructions. Most younger kids will need a parent's help to get the most out of the app.

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What's it about?

Kids choose an account and start with Chapter 1. They read the instructions and try to complete the task requested for moving the turtle on the screen. Then they tap "Play" to implement the command, and the game will immediately indicate whether a move was successful. Kids get brief, written instructions for moving the turtle around the screen; use graphics; choose color; include a sound; and more. Kids can also create their own programs from scratch and view examples of pre-written programs.

Is it any good?

MOVE THE TURTLE is one of the few apps that does a good job helping kids learn some coding basics. Younger kids will definitely require help from an engaged parent or another adult. Tweens and teens, however, will be able to explore the app more independently, and once they're into it, it can be a lot of fun. If Move the Turtle included more directions, more explanations, and some audio prompts, it could be an effective and fun learning tool for more kids within that broad age range.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • If your kid cannot read yet but is really interested in programming, read the steps to him or her.

  • If your older kid can read but remains frustrated with the concepts, suggest continuing to work through the first level until it "clicks," providing guidance as needed.

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science, math, and engineering

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Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

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