Upon landing on the website for this coding application and you will be greeted with a beautiful quote. “The Foos is the most fun way for kids to learn coding and computer science.” Guess what? It is actually pretty good.
Initially created by codeSpark, the Foos has received widespread recognition. This includes the fantastically named “2015 Tillywig Toy Awards”. It has also been praised by parents, kids and teachers calling it ‘super cute’ and ‘engaging’ with ‘intuitive level design’.
Let’s Get Coding!
Foosville is the animated setting for gameplay. Kids must help small little characters called Foos to solve various problems where the “baddie” of the program Glitch is causing mayhem. Computer science concepts are gradually introduced as kids navigate through Foosville. Such activities as capturing the sneaky donut robber and rescuing puppies and are extremely engaging.
Kids learn about logical sequencing and pattern recognition by determining which actions are necessary to solve each problem,. Testing and re-ordering those patterns encourage an analytical mindset, where problems are broken down into smaller parts. Successes equate to coins. These coins are added to the coder’s inventory, which in turn unlock various features including a nifty ninja RPG similar to Mario. Also, be sure to check out the Foo dancing when a level is complete. It’s hilarious!
Kids can then progress onto making video games using the patterns and techniques learned in earlier sections. This is the main appeal of the app – the prospect that kids will be able to use the lessons to build their own games instead of just ploughing through coding exercises. One critical comment on the app is that on small screens some of the blocks of code appear quite small, which may prove difficult to manouvere at first for small kids or people with fat fingers (like me – ED.).
Nonetheless, reports by our usability team, and by that I mean my kids, say that it always feels like they are involved in a video game. The bright colours and detailed interface contribute a great deal to the user experience. Having tested the app on iOS and Android devices, testers reported that playing on the iPad was by far the best. The larger screen really demonstrates a the full feature of the app.
After the puzzles kids can then take on the creative mode. This is a very attractive addition. Programming ideas can be put to user here. The initial exercises are fun and motivational and there is plenty of scope for imaginative play with this entertaining coding app.