Code Monster from Crunchzilla

Website review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Code Monster from Crunchzilla Website Poster Image
Fun programming lessons from a friendly monster guide.

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Kids say

age 8+
Based on 1 review

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Educational value

Kids can learn how to code using Javascript, creating and changing simple properties (like varying the shape, size, color of boxes) to more complex programming (design intricate trees and fern branches and animated sequences). The lessons introduce things like coding vocabulary, variables, operators, lines and loops, functions, rotation, and arrays. Kids can also learn a bit about mathematical concepts (fractals, geometry) and physics (velocity, acceleration). Even though presentation and instruction are very simple, the hands-on, cause-and-effect approach can be an effective intro to coding for kids.

Positive messages

Kids may find themselves feeling empowered as they can immediately see the effects of the programing they write. 

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Code Monster from Crunchzilla is a very simple computer-programming tutorial that uses live JavaScript. It's intended to teach both kids and adults about the basic (and more complicated) things you can create using code. Lessons start simple and get increasingly complex, so kids of various ages can learn at their own levels. Kids can exit Code Monster and start again where they left off when they're ready to come back, if they use the same computer (though Code Monster doesn't use cookies to store information about previous visits). It's not all about coding, though! As they figure out how to write code to make things happen, kids play around with concepts in math (such as geometry and fractals) and physics (such as velocity and acceleration).

User Reviews

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Kid, 10 years old April 12, 2014

What's it about?

CODE MONSTER BY CRUNCHZILLA is a website that shows kids how to code using JavaScript. It has a very simple design: the googly-eyed blue Code Monster and his speech bubble are at the top of the screen where kids read straightforward explanations, commands, and questions. Below are two boxes: on the right, Code Monster provides a piece of code for kids to manipulate; on the left, you see the output from the code. Fifty-nine lessons progress from simple (make a square) to complex (change its shape, color, and position and make more shapes), to really complex (make complicated fern leaf patterns and animated sequences). There also are "quizzes" in which Code Monster asks kids to write their own code. Though lessons progress in order, you can go back and repeat or choose lessons at will. You also can exit the program and return where you left off if you use the same computer (and if no one else has visited Code Monster in the meantime).

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.

Talk to your kids 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. 

Website details

For kids who love coding

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