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Bitsbox: Teach Your Kids to Code Before Middle School!

Photo courtesy of Bitsbox

We’re all familiar with the basic skills of learning also known as the three Rs: reading, writing and arithmetic. Now that we’re in the 21st century, I think in addition to knowing the three Rs children should also know and understand the basics of coding.  How about reading, writing, arithmetic and … html?  Or reading, writing, arithmetic and … Javascript?

As a Computer Programmer and lover of all things STEM, it’s important for me to expose my children to technology in order to help them build foundations for future academic and career success.  I want them to be as code-savvy as possible from a young age.  Online skills are becoming as important as reading and writing for the younger generations, so why not give them a head start?  Since they are both still currently under the age of 5, my main goals are making sure they know their way around a computer and teaching them the basics of coding.  They already know how to navigate smartphones and tablets better than many older adults.

When I came across Bitsbox on Instagram I was thrilled!  Did you happen to see their appearance on Shark Tank a few weeks ago?  Bitsbox is a subscription box that sends coding exercises to kids each month in order to help them learn coding. It includes app cards and coding themed toys to keep the kids interested in learning more month after month.  Kids can see the exact code and the results of their changes in real time!

Here are a few reasons why I absolutely LOVE Bitsbox:

  • It sends a clear reminder to parents that “coding is the new literacy.”
  • Coding experience is NOT required!  Remember, this is simple and it’s designed for kids.
  • You receive a cute “Apper Keeper” to store and organize all of the coding exercises.  Remember the old Trapper Keepers from the 1980’s?
  • Through repeated repetition, kids have the chance to play around and see how basic coding and functions work before they graduate to more complex learning.
  • It encourages children to learn design while fostering their problem solving abilities. Kids can change colors, add different backgrounds, songs and sounds to their creations.
  • It is specially designed for young children (ages 6-14) to give them a developmentally appropriate understanding of how coding works.
  • It helps teach children how to type and become more familiar with a keyboard.
  • Once you become a Bitsbox user you have access to the website for free, and can continue to use the cards and online apps for as long as the website is available for continued teaching and learning.
  • They offer different resources for parents AND classroom teachers.
  • It’s fun: My kids LOVE doing it! (And they are currently only 3.5 and 4.5 years old!)

The first box focuses on the coding skill of coordinates.  Remember plotting x and y coordinates on graphing paper for math homework?  This is the exact same concept except it’s done by typing code.  The coordinates tell the computer where to place an object on the screen.  Sound too complex?  Don’t worry, Bitsbox made this super simple to understand by including a handy explanation guide for kids (and grownups).

To get started coding with Bitsbox all you need is a computer with a keyboard (desktop or laptop) and a web browser. (It’s currently not available to use on a tablet or smartphone.)  You then go to the Bitsbox website and login using either a grownup account or a kids account.  (All of your work will be saved to your account so you can refer back to it later.)  Next, your child starts building  their own customized apps which can be downloaded to a phone or tablet just like any other app!

Remember handing assignments in on paper, or even via email?  Thanks to the push for computer science education and subscription boxes like Bitsbox, it seems likely that students of the future will be handing in their homework with hand-built websites and even smartphone applications.  How cool would that be?

Our family is now officially a Bitsbox-loving family!  I honestly think it’s a fantastic way for kids and grownups to learn to code together.  It’s fun and easy to use even if you have no previous computer coding experience.  I’m confident as the kids get older they’ll need less assistance from me – that’s how easy it is to use and understand.

Ready to try Bitsbox for yourself? Save 20% on a subscription with my discount code: HEREWEEREAD20.  We can’t wait to receive our next box and share our experience with you!

Disclaimer:  We received a free subscription box from Bitsbox in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

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