A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
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What's it about?
Help direct the path that will lead to the target in THINK & LEARN CODE-A-PILLAR. Tap and drag commands such as straight, turn right, dig, or dance from the command tray to each empty spot on a maze-like path. When all empty spots are filled, tap the target to set Code-a-pillar in motion. If the commands are correct, Code-a-pillar will reach the target. If not, it will stop, and kids must fix the mistake. Complete three puzzles, then feed Code-a-pillar a target number of leaves. Puzzles and leaf-feeding get more complex as levels progress up to 13 total levels.
Is it any good?
Things start out slowly but get more exciting as kids level up and program complicated paths to lead Code-a-pillar to its target. Overall, Think & Learn Code-a-pillar is very complex and rich for a free app, but there are a few drawbacks. The early levels are not explained fully or well, so parents may need to help kids plug through to get to higher levels, where the app starts to shine a bit brighter. Even on higher levels, however, there remain a few issues that could cause confusion, such as commands that don't match the true direction that Code-a-pillar needs to travel (e.g., the "straight" command points up, but going straight can sometimes mean moving to the right, left, or down). The leaf-feeding interludes don't tie in smoothly to the coding, though they get more challenging as kids level up. And that techno electronica music soundtrack will be exciting and fun for some but annoying for others, so it's great that it can be turned off on the home screen. For little kids, this is a cute coding activity that doesn't carry any of the pitfalls of so many free apps.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what coding is and what it does. Explore together how computer programs (and apps) are a collection of commands in a particular order and how Think & Learn Code-a-pillar explores this idea.
Encourage kids to think about sequence and problem-solving. Point out how we can solve problems or reach goals by following a certain sequence of small steps.
Help interested kids learn more deeply about coding. Find more complex apps, look online together, or go to the library to find books about computer programming.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
- Subjects: Math: counting, numbers
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: solving puzzles, strategy
Tech Skills: coding, using and applying technology
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free
- Release date: June 9, 2016
- Category: Education
- Topics: STEM, Numbers and Letters
- Size: 73.30 MB
- Publisher: Fisher-Price
- Version: 1.0.3
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 7.0 or later; Android 4.0 and up
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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