With the nationwide push to incorporate more STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) activities into our schools, parents are also on the hunt for games and apps that teach the same at home.
Osmo, the award-winning STEAM brand, has introduced a Coding Starter Kit to introduce kids to coding at home. And what exactly is coding? That was my first thought when I heard my kids talking about learning coding at school. When it’s broken down, coding is simply writing computer programs using a programming language. So are kids actually learning to write computer programs with this kit?
With the Osmo Coding Starter Kit, the simple answer is yes. The kit comes with all you need to write simple codes, including colorful tiles for hands-on learning. The Coding Starter Kit is available for Kindle Fire or Apple iPad. According to Osmo, with this kit, “Children learn basic coding concepts including problem-solving, computational thinking, and coding fundamentals, in addition to more complex concepts, such as sequencing, looping, logic thinking, and pair programming.”
The Kit is recommended for ages 5-10, so my 8-year-old girl and 9-year-old boy were the perfect ages to test out all three different apps. Everything in the kit works for all three apps, and each app is rated at a different level.
On Coding Awbie (beginner level) kids take the little Awbie character on an adventure through the woods. Using the included coding tiles, kids chart pathways and navigate Awbie as he catches rabbits and collects strawberries. Kids progress and write more complicated routes as they complete each level.
Coding Jam (intermediate) is my daughter’s favorite. Using the coding tiles you can lay down a drum beat and then add a melody to create a whole song. There are endless creative possibilities!
Coding Duo (advanced), my personal favorite, provides a chance for two kids to work at once. My oldest two kids had to problem-solve and write different codes together in order to finish each level. Duo is similar to Awbie, in that you navigate two creatures so they can rescue pets.
My kids loved these apps. They were both motivated by the scheme of each game and the rewards they collected as they mastered each level. And while my son had worked on some coding apps at school, he said he had never done anything as interesting as Osmo. My daughter thought it was “awesome” as well.
I even sat down with my daughter and let her teach me about coding, which she loved. We were able to play the Duo app together and work our way through a couple of levels.
Because schools are facing uncertainty with in-person versus distance learning, it is nice to have the option of these three apps at home. Apps that are entertaining enough for my children, but also allow me to feel like they are learning something. The Osmo Coding Starter Kit is a great addition to your home educational materials.