Steve Jobs once said that everyone should learn how to program a computer because it teaches you how to think. Now, the question is. Was he right? The UK Government have introduced coding in schools and I have seen this first hand when I visited my son’s computer lab. As I was teaching the local Beaver troop at the IT lab (They have laptops now – In my day, we had a single BBC for the whole school), I noticed that they had Scratch which introduces programming in a nice and fun way.
Not every kid should be a programmer. Just like everyone shouldn’t be a plumber or a pilot. Some people need to be creative and others need to be logical. What I believe is that everyone should be taught on how to look at a situation and know how to solve it (Even if the answer is that they need more help).
What Robot Turtles does is take this concept and put it in the form of a boardgame.
The objective of Robot Turtles is for the children to direct their turtle from one corner of the board to the gem that has been placed on the board. It sounds easy but depending on the age of the child, obstacles can be placed on the board that the child has to navigate around. The way that they navigate the turtle is by the use of cards.
All the adults do is take the instructions from the child and moves the turtle.
Have a look at the video for a guide to how to play the game and our thoughts hosted by Malachi, my son.
Parents want the best for their kids and don’t want them to be stuck in front of the TV or the ‘PlayTendio One‘ all day. They want to strike the balance between having fun and making them do studies. I believe that Robot Turtles achieves this. It’s education but most importantly, it is fun. The child gets to be in control of the game, the adult cannot alpha game but they can provide guidance. They can praise when the child gets it right and if they get it wrong, no harm or foul, they just use the bug card and discuss what went wrong.
This is an important point – This game does focus on the logical programming side but it also bolsters communication, everyone talks to each other about the game. Everyone is focused on each other and in a day where everyone’s head is buried in a phone, this can never be a bad thing.
I know that this game helped my son when it came to his school work. Recently, his homework was to navigate a pirate to his treasure using the Forward, turn right, turn left mechanic. As he had played Robot Turtles, it was very simple for him to complete. What more could I ask for.
Also, he loves this game and it is what made him get in front of the camera, an activity that he’s never done before.
He looked on the site and now wants CodeMasters and I’ve got my eye on Compose This.
Would I recommend it to other parents and children – Yes I would.
CoiledSpring Games – http://coiledspring.co.uk/product/robot-turtles
Easy to Understand – 5 turtles out of 5
Setup – 4 turtles out of 5
Game Footprint (Table space) – 3 turtles out of 5 (Smaller footprint gets higher points)
Social Interaction – 4 turtles out of 5
Theme – 5 turtles out of 5
Fun Factor – 4 turtles out of 5
Kid Friendly – 5 turtles out of 5