As coding for kids becomes more popular, there has been a recent surge in exciting and fun toys to get kids engaged in coding. Today I’m happy to share my review of Tangiplay, a coding toy that works with your iPad to teach kids the basic concepts of coding. Tangiplay was kind enough to send us a product so that we could provide you with this detailed review.
If you are interested in purchasing a Tangiplay of your own be sure to get in on the early bird pricing during their Kickstarter campaign.
If you’re looking for some other fun coding toys, check out our comparison of the best coding robots here
What is Tangiplay?
Tangiplay is a set of small colored toys that work with the iPad to teach kids beginner code. Children can use these toys along with the Tangiplay app to solve simple puzzles and learn about the basic concepts of coding.
Kids will learn the basic concepts of coding like algorithms, loops and debugging while playing with Tangiplay. These are coding concepts that even
Coding at this age is not just about becoming a computer whiz – learning to code has many benefits beyond the computer screen. Kids who learn the basic concepts of coding will also be learning to problem solve and think creatively.
How to Play Tangiplay?
The following video reviews how the tangible ‘Tangiplay Coding Toys’ work with the app to create a fun hands-on coding experience.
What age is Tangiplay aimed for?
Tangiplay is advertised for kids age 4 and up. My son is almost 6 years old and was able to complete the beginner puzzles with some help. Most 4-year-olds would need a lot of parental help to get started with this app. Tangiplay uses a picture based block coding system and therefore reading skills are not necessary to complete the game.
What coding skills are taught with Tangiplay?
In the Tangiplay app, the object of the game is to design a railroad track that allows the train to get from start to finish. The puzzles start out simple with only one or two steps to complete the railroad and get much more complex as you proceed through the levels.
Your kids will use the unique tangible coding blocks to program the directions for building the railroad. By doing this, they are creating an algorithm. Tangiplay has a simple function where kids will see their algorithm in real-time after they code each step.
There is also a ‘normal’ function in which kids will need to create their entire algorithm before testing it out to see if it works. Kids will learn to think ahead and predict what instructions are needed to complete the puzzle. Being able to plan out steps in advance and program them all at once is an important skill for young coders to master.
There are several other coding concepts that can be learned using the advanced features of the Tangiplay coding blocks. These include loops, functions, and conditions. Using these blocks will help young coders learn to make their algorithms more efficient. Instead of coding the same piece of railroad four times in a row, students will learn that they can code a loop to perform the same action 4 times in much faster speed!
In order to encourage kids to use the more complex coding blocks, you will need to provide some guidance to help them understand how these functions work. Once students have successfully completed a level, ask them if they can complete the same level using a loop or a condition. This will require some parent or teacher guidance and participation.
Our Hands-On Review
We opened up our packaging and found the tangiplay coding pieces. My son immediately had fun switching out their emoji faces and stacking them up into a tower.
We downloaded the Tangiplay app from the app store.
Once we were in the app, I had to use the toy myself to figure out exactly how the puzzles worked. It takes a bit of practice to see how manipulating the blocks on the iPad screen itself causes your algorithm to change. I highly suggest watching the instructional video below to understand how the pieces work.
We started out in simple mode so we could see our actions being performed in ‘real-time’. Once we experimented with a few of the pieces my son was able to quickly solve the first few levels. We mostly used the ‘move’ coding piece and the railroad piece. These are the most important pieces for beginners to learn to create a simple algorithm. We designed a simple loop to complete our railroad building faster. At age 5, this was as advanced as we went. There are lots of interesting features that can be explored with older children.
My son definitely thought it was cool to play with the iPad with a toy, and I liked that this app engaged him with the screen in a way that promoted problem-solving and critical thinking and not just mindless consumption.
Tangiplay How to Video
If you are looking to get the most out of your Tangiplay I encourage you to watch this instructional video that reviews all of the coding pieces and how they can be used to solve the puzzles in the Tangiplay app.
Where to purchase Tangiplay?
Tangiplay is currently available for purchase on Kickstarter.
For our ultimate STEM toy guide, check out this post!
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Katie is mom of two rambunctious boys and a self-proclaimed super nerd. With a background in neuroscience, she is passionate about sharing her love of all things STEM with her kids. She loves to find creative ways to teach kids computer science and geek out about coding and math. You can find her blogging at Teach Your Kids Code and in her spare time, documenting her families travels at Tear Free Travel.