Programming Zemi

App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
Programming Zemi App Poster Image
Coding tool is cute, but rough around the edges.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn programming logic while also expressing themselves creatively. 

Ease of Play

Tutorials and help are available, but they aren't always clear. Reading is required.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Programming Zemi is a sandbox-style programming, block-based platform for kids that also includes tutorials. Kids can upload to and download from a collection of games created by users around the world. Most of the dialogue and names are in Japanese. Tutorials and hints are available throughout the app, but sometimes they are too vague or confusing to be helpful. All of the commands are written, so kids will need basic reading skills. Users will need to agree to the terms of service immediately upon starting the app, so parents will want to be available to help. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

PROGRAMMING ZEMI is a coding tool to help young kids get involved in creating their own "programs." The coding is done by snapping code blocks together in a manner similar to Scratch. Programming Zemi combines puzzle-based tutorials that introduce a variety of coding concepts with an open-ended sandbox where kids can design games and interactive stories. There are also sample games that kids can play with and explore to gain a better understanding of how the tools work. They can even test their skills by snapping the building blocks of a game apart and rebuilding with hints if they are stuck. When kids finish a game of their own, they can upload it to the global database of shared games. They can also browse and download games other kids have made, although the bulk of them are in Japanese. 

Is it any good?

Though this coder is cute and free from distraction, it's not the most intuitive experience for kids. Programming Zemi has a minimalist quality that makes tutorials, hints, and even menus less clear than they could be. It also isn't quite as welcoming graphically as you might hope for the target age range. On the other hand, there isn't a lot of distraction on the screen, which may work best for some kids. There is a wide library of blocks to work with, so kids can create without a lot of limitation on their imaginations; newer coders may be overwhelmed by all the choices. Programming Zemi is cute, but not as cute as other options. And it's of reasonable quality, but perhaps not as high as other options. Since it's free, it's worth a shot to see if your child responds to this aesthetic over more colorful/visually engaging choices. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about coding logic and how it's presented in Programming Zemi. What are some common types of commands (conditionals, loops, input/output) found in programming languages? What do they do?

  • Talk about what coding/programming is for. Why do we need programs? Why can't we just tell our computers/devices what to do?

  • Families can talk about learning with apps. Do you think this is a good app for learning? Why or why not? What can you learn? 

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love coding and STEM

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