- App Style: Educational Kids App
- Age Target: 4-10 Years of Age
- Company: Zyrobotics LLC
- Company Page: Zyrobotics
- Application Links: iOS – Apple – Free , Android – Google – Free
- Social Media Links: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube
Tommy the Turtle – Learn to Code is a children’s educational application available on both the Apple and Google Play app stores. As its name suggests, Tommy the Turtle is going to help your children learn to code. Tommy does so by accepting instructions from kids and then executing those instructions after being told to do so. As someone who’s done significant coding in my past, I can tell you that this application is going to be very effective at giving the basics of coding. Here’s why.
First off, Zyrobotics have thought through a couple of major reasons why kids become frustrated with apps. Reading is one of the most difficult things for young children, and I know I’ve personally watched my little guy have trouble with reading in apps and then give up. What Zyrobotics have done that helps is that they narrate most of the game. They’ve also given a completely narrated and guided tutorial that ensures little people get the greatest understanding of the UI possible.
What immediately caught my attention is that the game runs very much like actual programming does. See, in programming, you build your code, and then you compile and run your program. You do this a large number of times until everything works out perfectly. This is exactly how the game works. In the first challenge, Tommy is asked to walk up to a friend and say hello. If you hit the Forward button 3 times, he’s not close enough and you have to try again. If you hit the Forward button 4 times and then execute the “program”, you win and pass the level. It works exactly like programming does, and it prepares young minds for the way their mind has to work in order to succeed.
What’s more, this game introduces children to things like the execution of “code” and more complex code elements. The best example of this is the do loop that you can program in to Tommy’s movements. You can begin and end a loop of movements that you program into Tommy. When I taught my little guy this, he immediately made Tommy dance…and dance…and dance…and dance. And then he laughed, and I realized he was learning.
In the end, this is an amazing free application from Zyrobotics. It’s certainly something that I’m going to leave on my phone and let me child play with. It’s certainly better than him playing with other games that have no reason or basis, and I love that it prepares my child for what is likely a very software-based world.
Until next time, Smash, Crash, and Learn!