Disclosure: This post brought to you by Wonder Workshop and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.
Time have definitely changed since my dad was a kid, heck even since I was a kid. I grew up when computers were first becoming mainstream in middle class households and very early on I taught myself HTML coding. It all came naturally to me and I thought it was pretty fun to figure out what symbols and letters made the computer do certain things.
Now 2015, insert the new day of teaching kids as young as 5 years old to code computers. After realizing that kids spend far too much of their days hearing about what they should and shouldn’t do, Wonder Workshop believes that every child should be empowered to question, think, and create, and I 100% agree with them. We want to encourage them to be curious and to find their own joy in learning. Coding enables creativity and agency in this new world. By learning to code, they are becoming shapers of their own world.
Children learn best through guided play. What exactly is the difference between guided play rather than just telling the child what they should be doing? The adult establishes the objective, but let’s the child figure out how to accomplish it. How do you do that? With Dash & Dot, the parent can tell the child to get Dash to Dot, but it is up to the child to use trial and error to figure out how to do that. Asking open-ended questions about what they are finding and how to get their desired results.
Child-centered playful learning has been shown to boost young children’s academic development in reading and math, lasting into the primary grades.
Originally, Wonder Workshop’s team planned on focusing on elementary-age kids, but after some testing found that they could bridge the gap between digital coding and creating apps and programs themselves. For instance, once kids get good at coding in the Wonder Workshop app “Blockly”, the next step is coding for Android or iOS! My 4-year-old loves playing around in the app “Path”, but my 10-year-old has since moved on to “Blockly”.
She coded Dash and Dot to communicate together in this video. She coded it that Dash wouldn’t start moving until he sees Dot. Then he went through a series of events and then had to wait until Dot looked to the sky to continue on. It happens pretty fast but that’s the way she made it. She could have coded that Dash pause for so many seconds, move slower, look around, change colors, ect!
I’m personally excited that the Wonder Magazine has finally been launched! I was looking at it yesterday and found so many cool things. As they release more magazine issues they’ll have more tutorials and challenges on there for kids to create amazing things.
Another cool site is the Play Ideas page. There are lots of cool idea to get children involved and again, give them the guided play. The kids chose “Robot Greeting Challenge” then got a few stuff animals to make Dash greet!
The girls actually have no idea that they are learning a life skill that I think is extremely important. They are just having fun and playing with cute robots that talk, move around, and make funny sounds!