Disney Releases Free, Moana-Themed Coding Game for Kids

Disney Moana Hour of Code Tutorial
Disney Moana Hour of Code Tutorial / Disney Moana Hour of Code Tutorial

Learning to code can be intimidating, which is why Disney wants to simplify the process for kids, and make it fun to boot. As The Next Web reports, the company just released a free game, “Moana: Wayfinding With Code,” that teaches burgeoning techies the basics of software development.

“Moana: Wayfinding With Code” is inspired by Moana, the 2016 computer-animated Disney film that's slated for release on Wednesday, November 23. Just like the movie, the coding game features a Polynesian princess protagonist named Moana and her sidekick, a legendary demigod named Maui. Players complete code-based tasks to guide Moana and Maui safely through a dangerous ocean filled with pirates.

Kids don’t actually write individual bits of code themselves—they simply place the correct block into a window, using a drag-and-drop interface. According to TechCrunch, the game is intended to introduce essential concepts of text-based computer programming.

“Moana: Wayfinding With Code” is part of Code.org’s Hour of Code initiative, a worldwide campaign to teach students in more than 180 countries about computer science. Partners include Disney, along with companies and organizations like Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and the College Board.

Over the past two years, Disney has released two other Hour of Code tutorials, including Frozen and Star Wars-themed programming games. According to Disney, the games reached over 40 million students.

“We’ve found that kids are much more likely to try computer science if it contains topics they are interested in, like their favorite Disney stories and characters,” said Hadi Partovi, CEO of Code.org, in a statement. “Our work with Disney over the past two years has helped Hour of Code reach record numbers, inspiring millions of children of all ages to try coding and pursue an education in computer science.”

"Moana: Wayfinding with Code" is currently available online. Eventually, it will be offered to students in more than 180 countries, in 23 languages (including Moana's native tongue, Samoan Polynesian). Students who want to learn additional programming skills can visit Apple stores between December 5-11 and participate in a workshop based on the game.

[h/t The Next Web]