When I took BASIC back in the dark ages of computer programming, I found it to be anything but, a feeling that has remained which is why I’m thrilled that my kids have sites like SCRATCH and code.org to teach them some “basic” programming–and now an awesome new board game.
Yes, board game. As in, actual game you play on a coffee table with no batteries. Crazy right?
Created by Dan Shapiro, a dad of twins and former executive at Google, Robot Turtles is, in essence, a very simple programming language smartly disguised as a game that is coming out soon. With no reading necessary, kids as young as three lay illustrated instruction cards down in whatever order they think will help move their “real” turtle game piece through the maze and to the Robot Jewels.
With just one “grown up” or older person needed to read the rules and move the game pieces, the players—or “turtle masters”—are really in charge as they decide which ways to move their turtles.
While this game doesn’t promise to have your preschoolers designing computer games or creating apps by the age of six, it will teach them things like order of operations, debugging, and planning a program. And as they learn the game, kids can “unlock” new features and add more complex cards to the deck.
I’m not the only one who thinks this game looks really neat: Their modest Kickstarter goal, as of today, has already been met nearly 20 times over (!!) by more than 10,000 supporters. Turns out, there’s a lot of us who are hungry for ways to get our kids interested in programming in a way that is absolutely nothing like my 10th grade BASIC class. –Christina
Support the Kickstarter campaign in the next few days and you could have the Robot Turtles game in time for Christmas.