New toys from Lego and Fisher-Price prove it's never too early to learn coding.
Children as young as three are being introduced to the principles of coding through new toys that aim to give them an early start in digital skills.
At CES 2016, Fisher-Price showed its Code-A-Pillar, a caterpillar-shaped device that will be available this summer for $50. Segments of the caterpillar’s body represent basic programming commands. By building different strings of segments, kids can change the way a finished caterpillar moves. Expansion packs with additional commands and movements will be available for $15 each.
The Code-A-Pillar aims at preschools, while another new device released at CES, the Lego Education WeDo 2.0, is designed for a more “sophisticated” elementary school audience.
The WeDo 2.0 is designed to teach basic science concepts in schools. Students can build simple robots and machines and program their movements through a graphical interface.
“They build Lego models and then they use this really easy icon-based programming software to control those models,” said Pamela Scifers of Lego Education.
The toy comes with over 40 hours of lessons and activities built in, but kids can also improvise. “Once you’re familiar with how to create the simple and complex machines, have the bricks interact with the motors and learn the basics of the software, you’re really only limited by your own imagination,” she said.
While our Generation Z report looked at teenagers using coding skills to develop their own apps and engage in entrepreneurship, the latest offerings at CES point to a future in which coding is integrated into children’s earliest educational experiences.
See here for our full roundup of key trends at CES 2016.