KIBO: the playful, creative screen-free STEAM coding robot for 4-7 year-olds

App of the Week

KinderLab Robotics’ KIBO STEAM coding robot kit offers an innovative, screen-free way for children to learn to code. KIBO is more than a toy that can be shoehorned into the classroom; it’s an educational tool based on 20 years of child development research by Dr. Marina Bers and her team at Tufts University. KIBO empowers young learners, ages 4 to 7, to create, design, decorate and bring their own robot to life.

Children program their KIBO robot with “tangible code” made of wooden blocks that they arrange in sequence and then scan with the robot. This approach not only eliminates screen time but takes advantage of years of research into how physical manipulatives inspire young children to engage with abstract skills like coding. With KIBO, they engage in learning STEAM concepts through physical play and creative self-expression.

KIBO is designed to be extended and decorated with craft and other building materials, providing a platform for play, sturdy building, and the engineering design process. KinderLab’s curriculum guides provide activities in which students transform KIBO into imagined animals, vehicles, storybook characters, and more.

KIBO enables educators to teach computer science standards through creative coding, arts, and imaginative play.

 

Formats/platforms used:

KIBO is a hands-on robot, where no screens are required.

 

Primary website’s URL:

http://kinderlabrobotics.com/

 

Problem solved:

KIBO introduces and integrates developmentally appropriate robotics and coding into early childhood education, teaching computer science, engineering, and computational thinking to young children in pre-K through 2nd grade. 

Since 2013, KIBO has provided a platform for young students to engage and learn STEAM concepts through play and creative self-expression. KIBO brings robotics and coding to young learners and sparks their interest in STEAM. When children code with KIBO, they are learning invaluable skills that will lead them on the path for success in science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) skills and future careers. 

It is important to introduce coding robots for kids at a young age, as research shows that even the youngest students can learn sequencing and coding in a fun and engaging way, regardless of curriculum. Specific, powerful, and positive learning outcomes for young learners when working with KIBO robotics include:

  • Improved sequencing ability in early childhood;
  • Mastery of foundational coding and robotics skills;
  • STEAM success: Integration of robotics across curricula; and
  • Positive impact on underrepresented groups in STEM fields.