A Guide to Picking the Right Coding Games for your Kids

May 7, 2020 / Parent Resources

‘Toys are children’s words and play is their language.’ Garry L. Landreth, leader in child-centered play therapy

There are plenty of options when it comes to coding games for kids nowadays. So how do you pick the right coding game online? Most of these interactive learning games have a companion app that guides commands and gives feedback through sound, lights, and movement and have some level of interactivity with a toy or pieces.

So what to keep in mind while selecting a coding game?

Open-ended

Picking toys that do not have only one outcome and let kids interact with them in several ways is necessary to ensure kids continue their exploration of coding concepts and understand it at a deeper level. Some toys that tend to be more basic can be restrictive, leaving kids with nothing more to do after a quick play. Osmo’s Coding Jam is an open-ended music studio that comes with several characters and instruments, giving access to sounds such as interplanetary pings and science-lab techno grooves. This gives kids the opportunity to endlessly create intricate compositions.

Flexible and adaptable

STEAM educational games that can be scaled-up with the child’s progression will last longer. For instance, Coding Jam can cater intuitively to younger kids while also offering higher levels of complexity for older children by giving them the space to store code into subroutine blocks, reproduce musical patterns, layer music and add chord progressions.

Kid-friendly

Sometimes toys can require an adult’s help with setup, guidance, or supervision. iPad games for kids can encourage initiation and play provided they:

  1. Balance these needs well
  2. Aren’t heavy on the instructions
  3. Don’t take too long to build

How to choose the appropriate toy for your child?

  • Follow the manufacturer’s age recommendations: Toys that teach physical programming without the use of a screen tend to work best for preschoolers. Look out for simple creative games for preschoolers that involve physical pieces. They can be connected sequentially and teach basic commands. For older kids aged 5 and up, consider coding games that follow commands on a screen and teach kids rudimentary programming. For instance, with Osmo’s Coding Jam game, kids can create their own music by arranging physical blocks into patterns and sequences. For pre-teens and teens, coding games for kids that involve the construction of a toy that can be programmed to carry out a specific action such as dance or bark work perfectly well.
  • Consider the skill set and attention span: If it’s too easy, the game is likely to become boring too soon; if it’s too difficult and it will catch dust in a corner. Figuring out where kids are in their coding journey is important. Also, in a time where modern humans have an attention span that is shorter than that of a goldfish, fun coding games are key. Hands-on games can be successful in keeping kids hooked. Those that emphasize on letting kids explore by themselves and involve elements such as storylines, levels, leaderboards, and badges can keep kids practicing for hours. Through Osmo’s Coding Awbie and Coding Duo kids can master coding concepts by leading Awbie, a strawberry-loving cartoon character and monster Mo through an adventure, solving puzzles, finding secrets, and grabbing strawberries using tangible magnetic blocks.

Easing kids into coding through toys that are right for them can encourage them to keep at it, experiment with commands, and build their skills. The payoff with coding games for kids is huge and well worth it.

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