Technology is quite literally taking over the world, and with the continued widespread dependence on it comes an increased demand for coding and computer science skills across all industries. To properly prepare the next generation of computer programmers, PlayShifu has created a fun and entertaining way to get kids acquainted with coding at an early age.
PlayShifu’s Tacto Coding is an interactive STEM game that introduces kids ages 4 and up to coding concepts such as input and output, sequencing, and loops. The game requires a 7-inch or larger tablet and has a corresponding app, Tacto by PlayShifu, that is available for free download on the App Store or Google Play.
Although the game takes place within the app, it has physical aspects as well. The set comes with five figurines that serve different purposes, such as drawing, sliding, and rotating. It also includes two frames that kids can attach to opposite sides of the tablet. Each figurine has a designated place on one of the frames and once the app is downloaded, kids can use each figurine as a stylus to program different pages on the screen.
For kids to access the game, parents will have to register an account using an email address and create a password. After logging in, players can choose between three different adventures: Mr. Buffy’s Code to Happiness, The Code of Moka-Ika, or The Legend of the Last Iceberg. Each of the games has three levels, which kids can unlock by completing coding-related challenges.
The challenges vary across the three games in relation to whichever skill they are focused on. In Mr. Buffy’s Code to Happiness, for example, kids are presented with the task of correctly assembling ingredients to achieve a specific outcome. Visual cues with diagrams and prompts appear on the screen to direct kids toward fixed combinations, teaching them the importance of inputs and outputs. If kids do not get the order correct, the game will not move forward until they do so, without revealing what they did wrong. This enhances kids’ critical thinking skills, encouraging them to analyze the situation and investigate their mistakes.
Tacto Coding also presents opportunities that simulate actual code building. In the Code of Moka-Ika game, players control the movements of characters by selecting which movement a character should make and how many times that movement should repeat. As the obstacles advance, the string of codes lengthens, replicating the experience of developing an intricate code.
This physical and digital gaming system provides kids with an engaging way to develop their problem-solving and logical reasoning skills. The fun characters and colorful images in each game make otherwise intimidating topics accessible to kids. Plus, once the app is all set up, kids can play the game without WiFi, ensuring that wherever kids are, they’re learning.