Knowing code gives individuals access to a wide array of fast-growing careers. And now kids can learn the basics without being glued to a screen with the LoCoMoGo Train, a toy train set available on Kickstarter that helps children ages 4-12 learn code during playtime through the use of simple color-coded cars.
It all starts when a child taps the top of the red LoCoMotive car, which will automatically follow the route designated by tape that's laid down on any surface, so there are no cumbersome plastic tracks necessary. From there, kids can start building out their unique train with cars that have different functions, like a “color car” that reacts to different colors of tape on the track. For example, if there's green tape laid down, then the car will accelerate, and if there's blue tape down, the car's lights will flash. It's this "if-then" logic that helps teach the basics of coding without the need for a screen.
But when coding, screen time is inevitable, and the next way LoGoMoGo expands a child's personal coding toolbox is through the LoCoMoGo app, which is still being developed. When it’s complete, it will allow kids to use a simple drag-and-drop design to change the functions of the train tracks digitally, offer individualized learning plans, and feature regular updates with new challenges. When paired with the app through the LoCoMoGo "connectivity car," a child can touch their screen to customize what action each tape color performs. The campaign also promises the app will move beyond drag-and-drop coding and eventually teach kids about programming in C.
Currently, the LoCoMoGo Train is available on Kickstarter beginning at $99, which will get you the company's starter LoCoMotive car, along with tape to make the tracks. But if you pledge $276, you'll receive the LoCoMotive as well as two additional cars (color and connectivity) and access to the app.
It’s never too late to get the family on board with learning coding. Check out the Potato Pirates board game, which teaches players ages 7 and up coding basics without screens; it’s available on Amazon for $16.
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