Code Monster from Crunchzilla
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
What kids can learn
Thinking & Reasoning
- problem solving
- digital creation
Engagement, Approach, Support
There are no bells or whistles here, but kids who are interested in programming, and even those who aren't, should enjoy these hands-on lessons. However, once they've finished all the lessons, there's not a big incentive for them to return.
Kids learn by doing. With code on the left and visual output on the right, they can immediately see the impact of their actions. More detailed explanation could help kids who are just beginning or having trouble.
There's little support for those who don't find the short, simple instructions enough, although there is a brief How to Play section. It would also be nice if kids could save, and even share, their creations.
What's it about?
Is it any good?
Code Monster is simple but mostly effective as a self-led journey of programing discovery. The hands-on manipulation and immediate feedback can give kids satisfaction and joy in discovering how what they're writing changes what they're seeing. It should also help them understand how the different pieces of code work. This can be a fun exercise, even for kids who wouldn't normally be excited about computer programming.
Yet Code Monster teaches almost exclusively through example rather than explanation, and there's little to no help for kids having trouble. When kids can't come up with the right code (such as in a quiz), Code Monster moves on ahead (which may discourage kids from trying to get through a tough coding challenge). More hints or code analysis could help kids who can't figure out where they're going wrong. An option allowing kids to save what they've created also would be a nice addition.
Families can talk about...
Discuss and explore the many things computer programmers have been able to create with this kind of code.
Talk to your kids about careers that use coding, from video game design to engineering.