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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that CodeMonkey provides practice coding with a real programming language to solve a variety of puzzles. The game's developers have worked hard to make the puzzles accessible and provide the right guidance at the right time. But parents should expect kids to get stuck, requiring some encouragement and, depending on their age and ability, some help to get past some of the more challenging levels. There's no offensive content to be found on the site or in the puzzles, so parents can focus on helping their kids learn how to code.
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What's it about?
Is it any good?
In a market filled with lots of great code-learning games and sites, CodeMonkey stands out with its cheerful graphics, carefully constructed puzzles, and thoughtful sequences of puzzles. Though the programing language this game teaches (CoffeeScript) is not as widely used as some other code languages, the game still provides a solid introduction to the basic concepts of programming and code structure. Students help a monkey retrieve her lost bananas, journeying through a whimsical map full of procedural coding puzzles. Each level is viewed from a top-down perspective, and students must write and "run" code snippets on the right side of the screen to steer the monkey across each level on the left side of the screen. This two-sided style helps students instantly see the results of their work.
Each new level introduces an additional piece of code or a new function, or challenges the player to put the pieces together for themselves. After players get the gist of the interface and puzzles, the focus is on getting each solution not only to work but to work well so they receive the maximum number of stars. Students can share their best solutions and even create challenges once they've finished all the puzzles, while teachers -- with the paid classroom or school version -- can track students' progress and help students with an answer key of all solutions. Be advised, though: Puzzles can be tough and will stump users. Though there's a lot of support, a better hint system or more helpful debug messages would be welcome, especially for users who are confused. But this provides some challenge and something to strive for, which makes CodeMonkey a great tool for fledgling programmers.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how computer code controls what happens in programs, such as games. Has CodeMonkey helped you figure out how some of your favorite games are made?
Families can talk about careers in computer programming. Would you like to become a programmer? What seems appealing about programming? What doesn't?
Families can talk about how computer programming helps you break down complex problems into smaller, easier-to-solve pieces.
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions
Math: measurement, patterns, sequences
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, decision-making, logic, problem solving, solving puzzles
Creativity: combining knowledge
Self-Direction: achieving goals
Tech Skills: using and applying technology
- Genre: Educational
- Pricing structure: Free to try, Paid (Code Monkey is free to try up through level 30 (out of 200). Annual subscriptions open up additional levels featuring more complex coding concepts and start at $39/year.)
For kids who love coding
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