There is an ever-increasing push to get younger kids into coding as soon as possible, and one of the organizations leading that charge is Code.org. Through their Code Studio platform and Hour of Code initiative, Code.org has provided several ways for kids to learn in a format that is easy to digest, and often times comes in collaboration with a big-name company.
Code.org’s latest such collaboration is with Disney, and more specifically their Disney Infinity brand. You won’t need to buy any $15 figures to use it, but the Disney Infinity Play Lab will let kids use the familiar characters to create logic loops, simple WHEN statements, and assign actions to certain button presses.
Using popular Disney characters such Elsa and Anna from Frozen, Hiro and Baymax from last year’s Big Hero 6, and Rapunzel from Tangled, kids are tasked with completing 9 different puzzles. These range from simply making Hiro walk over to Baymax when the program is executed, to programming button presses and other actions later on. All puzzles are done with a simple drag-and-drop interface. Once the puzzles are completed (or if you’re impatient you can skip right to the end), it’s an open field giving the option to use all the commands at your disposal to create your own story.
Past Hour of Code collaborations have included Flappy Bird, where kids were tasked with programming the insanely frustrating mobile game that took the world by storm last year, and another Disney collaboration that had kids helping Anna and Elsa create snowflakes. And of course if your child shows more interest in coding, there are 20-hour courses available for them to sign up for with skill levels ranging from early readers to pre-teens.
According to Code.org, more than five million students have enrolled in Code Studio to date, a majority of them being girls. They also note at the end of their announcement post that a more comprehensive coding environment is coming sometime next year, and it will allow older students to create mobile and web apps.