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Kids Can Code with Let’s Start Coding

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You hear this buzz word all the time: coding. Even more, you hear how important coding is for kids. But, as a mom, I am a little clueless what it really means “to code?”

After doing a little looking on the internet I found a great article by DailyTekk called “What is Coding?”. What I learned from the article:

Coding is:

  1. a set of instructions that computers can understand
  2. almost anything that uses electricity uses code
  3. like a language for computers with many of the different coding languages sharing basic features

In our tech-filled society, exposing kids to code gives them skills needed to compete in a digital world

 

Benefits of Coding

  1. Teaches critical decision-making and logic
  2. Gives a kid the sense of accomplishment for creating something from nothing
  3. Encourages problem solving and troubleshooting
  4. Teaches kids to think about the possible outcome based on a certain decision and how different factors can change that outcome

 

Let’s Start Coding

Recently, my oldest son, who is 13, got the opportunity to check out a coding kit from Let’s Start Coding.

If coding is new to your child, like it was for the most part for my child, it can be a little intimidating to think about what you are getting yourself into. Let’s Start Coding helps by providing a ton of example code and great project instructions. 

Let’s Start Coding teaches using electronic kits, real code example and step-by-step guides. Rather than starting from scratch, you get to take things apart to learn what is going on. 

The kit is super fun. It comes in a little tackle box that holds all the electronic pieces as well as info cards you need to get going.

The Base Kit (the one we tried out) gives you 30+ example programs and the Ultimate Kit gives you 90+ example programs. You also have the ability to start with the Base Kit and upgrade to the Ultimate Kit if you are really enjoying it. 

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Getting started and setting up the computer is super easy. The biggest thing to note is that you need the Google Chrome browser in order for the kit to work. Once we installed Google Chrome, everything else fell into place. 

The website talks you through the process with pictures. After you’ve set everything up a green light will light up on your Maker Board telling you that you’ve set up correctly. The website will prompt you with an update and also explain how to upload your projects to your Maker Board.

 

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From there you can start making things like voice commands and activate lights by programming buttons. Once you make them, you can upload the projects to your Maker Board to see what you’ve created.

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I loved hearing my son create a project that played a little song and seeing the Maker Board light up with each note that played.

 

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When you’ve done everything right, the computer screen will give you a great big “Success!” encouragement.

 

While you are creating, you will see at the bottom of the computer screen some teaching points. It will tell you:

  1. What’s going on in the coding
  2. How it is useful to coders
  3. An explanation if your coding has a problem to help you troubleshoot the problem

You can progressively work towards tougher projects. Each project is categorized by difficulty. 

 

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The kit also includes cards that are super helpful. They describe the different components and give information about common computer code statements. They are definitely a timesaver – helping you find the information that you need without needing to search the web. 

 

Pros:

  • Easy and user-friendly
  • Appealing and engaging to my 13-year-old 
  • Helpful troubleshooting explanations
  • Cards that are very helpful and informative – teaching coding vocabulary

Cons:

  • Only works with Google Chrome (we didn’t have it on our computer so needed to download it)
  • The tackle box tends to tip over if it is not weighted down with all the stuff that is in it

 

The Base Kit is available on the Let’s Start Coding website for $40 and the Ultimate Kit is $94. If you want to upgrade from the Base Kit to the Ultimate Kit it will run you $55. 

 

A Mom’s PerspectiveWellConnectedMom.com

You know your kid is enjoying himself when he is diligently working on something and then you hear him say “Yes!” He was excited when after working through a project he finally got it to work.

I like that the projects get progressively more challenging and I like knowing that I can purchase an add-on kit if he finishes all the initial projects and wants to keep going. 

I appreciate that Let’s Start Coding includes physical components for a complete hands-on experience. The cards are super helpful – describing the different components and displaying common computer code statements. Let’s Start Coding uses C++ (C plus plus), a real coding language which shares features with every major coding language.

Now, when the word coding comes up, my son and I are less intimidated and have hands-on experience of what coding can actually do as well as knowing how many things using electricity were actually “programmed.”  Let’s Start Coding is suggested for ages 13+.  Kids can start earlier, but older kids will progress more swiftly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*I was given the Let’s Start Coding Base Kit for my honest review. All opinions are my own. 

 

 



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