Not long ago we did a video review of Cubetto – the tiny robot that helps young children learn how to code. Cubetto is made by the good folks at Primo Toys and it forms part of an overall methodology dedicated towards teaching young children how to develop problem solving skills, think laterally and generally use coding to enable them to think creatively in any situation.
To support this, Primo have now released an eBook called, Beginning computer programming for kids.
Much like Cubetto, the book takes the notoriously complicated topic of computer programming and demystifies it by explaining in simple, every day terms how the concepts inherent to coding can be adopted for young children. It covers some basic concepts and relevant history (I was very pleased to see the old Logo turtle featured!) and then covers how those concepts can best be delivered to children of different age groups.
The book outlines how learning about coding is not just suitable for those with an interest in computing but as something that has general developmental benefits for any child which I think is fascinating. All children will at some point need problem solving and rationalisation skills and this seems like a great method of teaching those.
You might expect a semi-technical basis to the text but there’s much more content here devoted to the psychology of learning through play and child development than there is to coding itself. That perhaps underpins the methodology about how to get young children to the table when dealing with something that is ultimately so structured. It’s great to see that so much thought has gone into engaging happy, playful children in a way that inspires their creativity.
The book contains a number of exciting exercises to help children engage with the concepts of things like algorithms and giving instructions. One particularly fun one, referred to as ‘The Programmable Parent’, shows children trying to give instructions to a robot person who can only do exactly as they are instructed, teaching that a machine can only do as it is told. The results, as indicated by videos on YouTube are often hilarious.
Overall I think this book is a great resource for parents and educators to introduce children to computational thinking. Like Cubetto it also helps teach these concepts away from a screen which I think is really important too.
If you’d like to get a copy, click the link below.