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June 24, 2013 / carlispina

Daisy the Dinosaur – Programming Concepts for Kids

Daisy the DinosaurAs computer programming, and particularly drag-and-drop computer programming tools, become more popular, there are always new options emerging. One of the cutest aimed at young children is the Daisy the Dinosaur app for iPad. As with Hopscotch, this app let’s children drag and drop commands on the screen to control Daisy, an adorable dinosaur.

In the app, players have the option to select either free-play mode or challenge mode. In free-play mode, players can choose from nine different commands that can be dragged onto the program section of the screen. In both modes, an arrow pops up as you drag the commands to give a visual cue about where the command pieces should be placed. Some commands have multiple options, such as move, which can be specified as forward or backward, and when there are multiple options these appear as a drop down menu on the piece for the main command. Players can combine the nine available pieces in a wide array of different patterns to create an easy or complicated series of motions for Daisy to complete when the player presses play.

Free-Play Mode

Free-Play Mode

In challenge mode, players are given a goal and only a limited number of command pieces. The challenge is to figure out how to arrange the available commands to complete the assigned task. These challenges start out quite easy and slowly get a bit more complicated. There are only a few such challenges available but they are primarily intended to introduce the player to the available commands and build their confidence with the commands, and in this respect, the challenges are effective, though they do require some reading, which might not appeal to younger players.

Challenge Mode

Overall, the cute animations and easy-to-understand user interface make this a good alternative for introducing young children to computer programming concepts. You can find out more about other resources for teaching computer programming concepts to children in Lifehacker’s “How And Why To Teach Your Kids To Code” article.


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