It crawls across your table, blinking and smiling. It turns and makes fun sounds. And this caterpillar is on a mission to teach your toddler coding.
Fisher-Price's big 2016 toy might be the Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar. It's hard to tell from apress event here in Las Vegas, but this toy is instantly cute. It's also reminiscent of classic toys of the past. And, in a small way, it's meant to inspire kids to understand coding.
Coming next June, the $50 toy comes with eight modules that snap together. Each one has a different function: turn left, turn right, make a funny sound. Depending on what order you plug Think & Learn together, it moves differently. In a way, it's similar to other kid-coding games like ThinkFun's Robot Turtles, and works a little like that old Logo turtle programming game I used in school about a million years ago.
This isn't complicated stuff like Lego Mindstorms: the individual pieces just snap together linearly, forming a chain of caterpillar "code" that can be as long as you want. But the idea behind modular connected pieces forming instructions...well, that's a step towards coding.
Separate add-on packs of modules will be sold separately for $15 a pop, three to a set. Some will do different tricks, or have different sounds. Think & Learn is meant for kids ages 3-8. I already want to get my sons one.