We all want our children to learn, but you can’t expect a 4 year old to sit down and learn by reading books, right? It will most likely end in tears (most likely from the parents). With technology so abundant as well, there is no escape, but how can we manage their screen free time whilst also encouraging learning? Our favourite way to learn is through play and that is why we love Learning Resources. We recently reviewed their GeoSafari Jr. My First Microscope and absolutely loved how outdoor play continued to indoors and nurtued #JasperBean’s curiousity of science and the great outdoors. This time, we got the chance to try out their cute little Coding Critters. Here‘s what we thought.
I hear the word coding and instantly feel intimidated. I know nothing about coding, so how do I guide my 4 year old? Of course, I forgot, it was usually my 4 year old who taught me how to play with his toys from the get go anyway! At a glance Coding Critters teaches your child how to think critically, follow directions and perform tasks provided by the booklet or from free play. Advertised as suitable for children from 4 -10 years, this could well be your childs first coding STEM toy. Recently back in stock, we were absolutely thrilled to receive the Ranger and Zip Coding Critter from Learning Resources.
Coding Critters – playing and learning
Coding and screen free time starts as soon as the packaging comes off (and when you insert 3 AAA batteries).
There are 5 buttons on Ranger, 4 of these directional and the last to perform the inputted instructions. These are pretty basic commands – forward, reverse, left and right. It is intuitive and super easy for little ones to figure out how to program instructions to move Ranger around. The booklet acts as a great starting point for little ones to get to grips with a story line and act out the tasks. The coding challenges guided #JasperBean to fetch Ranger’s ball, play with Zip, play hide and seek and also go back into the doghouse for a snooze.
The little accessories that come with Ranger are perfect for imaginative play.
Tired of bossing Ranger around? Why not feed him, give him a nap or have a song and dance together? By pressing and holding Ranger’s nose down for a couple of seconds until the light on his back is lit, you can activate Play Mode. This changes the directional buttons into fun commands such as eating, patrolling, napping and dancing. Our favourite feature was seeing Ranger and Zip interact when their noses touched.
Areas to improve?
Ranger makes big turns and movements, especially when dancing, so when coding him to reach a certain location. You and your little one will need to take this into account.
We loved playing with Zip, although unlike Ranger, he is not interactive. Zip is more like a toy car you push around. It was a fun accessory and the only one who could fit on the slide. Although it would have been nice to be able to code Ranger to play on the slide as well.
Coding Critters is advertised for up to 10 years old, which I think is a bit old. I believe the older kids will get bored of it rather quickly as what it does is pretty basic and simple. However for a 4 year old, it has proven to be a fun toy on a rainy day. #JasperBean has enjoyed reading and following the directives from the booklet. Therefore, it would have been nice if there were more stories included. However, this isn’t a deal breaker. We had loads of fun making up games and creating stories for both Ranger and Zip.
#JasperBean had lots of fun engaging with both Ranger and Zip. It didn’t feel like he was forced into learning something. I think it has improved his critical thinking and helped him practice thinking ahead. Of course, I don’t believe he is coding yet as the toy does not teach him any coding language. The aim is to teach logical skills that is needed in coding. Sometimes, my boy just wants Ranger to go straight into play mode for a quick feed or dance and I think that’s a nice little feature.
Interested? There is more to the range!
For more information, visit Learning Resources.
Thanks for reading and until next time…
Love, MsMamaBean x
I was provided with a product in return for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own and not influenced by the developing company, and/or its affiliates, in anyway.