Toy Teaches Toddlers Coding Without Screens
Another product in a rapidly growing arsenal, MangoBot teaches kids the principles of coding with blocks and a bot on wheels
Many argue that kids need to learn how to code ASAP to be prepared for an increasingly digital world. PSFK has seen many ideas on how to teach kids the complicated science, including through modular objects and the Internet of Things. Startup toymaker Little Tinkerer proposes a toy that’s devoid of digital displays but still familiarizes kids with the basic principles of coding.
MangoBot is an adorable robot on wheels that receives commands from a control module. To use it, children connect several commands to the control module and press play. MangoBot executes each command similarly to how computers execute computer code.
The snapping blocks serve as lines of code and they include simple directional instructions, like spin, repeat and a magic command. There are also commands to change the mood of MangoBot’s face. These basic commands help the MangoBot navigate a “map” that comes with every set of the toy, much like Cubetto.
MangoBot is suggested for children aged 3 and up. The toy also uses its modularity so that it can “grow” with its owner. MangoBot has more complicated functions if the child craves a bit more challenge. There are three kinds of function blocks and “equals to” block. There are also conditional logic coding blocks such as “Wait Until,” “Forever,” and “If.” The MangoBot has a Sound Detected block to trigger actions by making noises.
Dawn Zhang is the founder and CEO of Little Tinkerers, and she is also a mother of a two-and-a-half-year-old. She says of her company’s flagship product:
“Coding is becoming an essential tool and skill, with MangoBot, children are learning more than just technical script on a computer, it’s a way for them to create, learn and engage – without the screen. My ultimate goal was to create something that would not be daunting or isolating, but rather purposely made to allow kids to problem solve, interact with friends and family and most importantly, grow freely.”
On its first run, the sets are available at discounted prices. The Core Coding kit, which contains 18 blocks, animal and plant cards, and the coding guidebook is on sale at a discount for $125. The Complete Coding Kit, which includes the extra 7 function blocks and 9 conditional logic blocks, is available for $195.