Kids can cast sequencing spells using spell books and magic wands with Coding Critters MagiCoders from Learning Resources. The sets are available in two styles: Skye the Unicorn, featuring a theme of rainbows, unicorns, and stars, or Blazer the Dragon, featuring a theme of castles, flames, and dragons.
Designed for kids ages 4 and up, each set includes 22 pieces that make up a themed environment for the unicorn or dragon MagiCoder to play in. The spellbook tells a rhyming story with the MagiCoder figure as the main character. Kids can follow the spells by entering the sequences into the wand to move Skye or Blazer forward, backward, left, or right. The coding challenges supplement the spellbook’s story, such as moving Skye through her rainbow arch or making Blazer go on a growling dragon chase.
The coding wands are simple to use and the spellbook is easy to follow along, although it may be difficult for younger kids who don’t have a grasp on reading yet. Kids can press the arrow buttons on the coding wand and the sequence will transfer to the MagiCoder figure to make it follow all of the steps that kids entered. It works kind of like an R/C car, except kids have more control over each individual step. The wand works up to 3 feet away and the MagiCoder can perform sequences of up to 40 steps.
Some of the spells use the MagiCoder’s sensor — located on its nose — to help it “see” an object in front of it. Kids can use Spell Mode to make the MagiCoder chase its ball, “eat” treats, or travel from point A to point B. Kids can even make Skype or Blazer’s horn change colors by following the “Mood Horn” spell, in which each color represents a different feeling. After kids enter that specific code into the wand, they can wave their hand in front of the MagiCoder to activate the spell and watch as the horn changes color to see if the MagiCoder is feeling excited, grumpy, surprised, silly, or other relatable emotions. This gives the set an interactive element so that kids feel like they’re part of the magical world.
The Coding Critters sets are a screen-free way to teach kids about basic coding and sequencing, critical thinking, and how to follow instructions. Each set also includes coding cards that kids can place on whatever flat surface they are using to make the MagiCoder move. This gives kids a visual representation of the coding process to help them keep track of each step in the sequence.
Coding can be a complicated process to understand, but this set helps break it down in an interactive and magical way.