The winner of 2020 iF Design Award, Tangiplay is “a new generation of coding toys that encourages kids to learn as they play.” It features twelve robot toys that interact with an app on iOS devices (it's currently not available on Android). These robots control the game as children work through a series of coding exercises.
I was fortunate enough to be able to play Tangiplay with my nieces and nephew, aged 5, 8, and 10. This allowed me to get a good feel for what gameplay might be like for a younger child, as well as a child more ready to take on some of the true challenges that Tangiplay has to offer them.
At all ages, the girls needed help to get going, but once an adult got them started, they were confident in their abilities to take the wheel and engineer their own learning from there! Because the learning system is pictorial, reading skills are not necessary to enjoy Tangiplay.
TangiPlay boasts more than 120 adaptive puzzles for kids ages 4 through 12 years – families with multiple children will be dazzled by the myriad of ways that this toy appeals to all ages!
Note: We received a free Tangiplay set for review. Regardless, our review of this product reflects our unbiased opinion. We were not compensated for the review, however, if you choose to purchase via one of our affiliate links, we receive a small commission. The price to you remains the same.
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What’s in the Box?
Tangiplay is a set of twelve robot toys that interact with a free app available across all tablets. Children use the app to input commands through the robots by pressing, sliding, or rotating them across the screen. When you purchase a Tangiplay, you receive:
- 12 robot toys, each with their own interactive command
- 20 replaceable emoji faces
- 1 free app download, with multiple update iterations
The Robot Toys
As stated before, the twelve robot toys come with the kit. They are very pleasant to the touch because they are made from silicone. Incidentally, this makes them quite durable. The robot toys also have a square design, which gives them an intuitive grip for children who have not yet begun formally writing. The toys are created without any electronic parts, which makes them utterly safe – even if you have a little one who still tests out their technology by putting it in their mouth!
Although there are many venues through which users can learn coding on the internet, there are very few that are interactive. As all parents know, little people demand hands-on learning, and if you want your children to learn concepts as complex as coding from a young age, it’s critical that they are offered a means to learn it on their own terms. Tangiplay does just that!
The app features enticing sound effects and expertly designed graphics to keep your little one engaged throughout the entirety of their experience. Once downloaded, it is easy to navigate to and does not require a login to use. The commands on the app match the etchings on the robot pieces, which help to ensure that your little one can navigate their new coding toy with relative ease.
Your goal while playing Tangiplay is to build railways and send passengers to their intended destination. This is done through a variety of sequences: move, rail, charge, and tools. Using the move robot, you can send the building machine in a direction. With the rail robot, you can begin construction of the tracks behind the construction vehicle. Ultimately, there is no “right or wrong” answer in Tangiplay, but it is your child’s job to design the most efficient path that they can. We love the way that this teaches your child trial and error, as well as some basic tenets of the engineering design process.
As the game’s levels increase in difficulty, your children will be asked to move their railway around obstacles or even loop them through various elements of landscapes. They will be asked to program conditions into their scenarios to deal with non-static elements of the landscape in the program. Overall, this is an incredible introduction to computational thinking for small people.
The unique coding blocks that your children will use to play this game allow them to create an algorithm. However, unlike competitor applications, Tangiplay allows them to see their algorithm in real-time as they code each step. This is a great way to encourage your littles to keep going!
When playing with older children, on the other hand, this feature can be turned off. This requires children to analyze their entire line of code if something goes wrong, and test their ability to memorize and plan steps in advance. Young coders will be asked to create loops to increase efficiency, and deal with functions and conditions to understand potential constraints. In fact, Tangiplay comes with a variety of programming options, including:
- Move – Move your robot one step forward
- Rail – Build sections of the track
- Charge – Ensure the robot's battery does not drop
- Tool – Melt ice and clear other roadblocks
- Loop – Rotate to choose the repetition
- End Loop – Stop repeating the selected move
- Function – Record commands
- M – Stop recording commands
- Call Function – Apply the shortcut
- If – Set up a rule for the robot
- Else – Try a new step if the rule doesn’t work
- End If – End the rule you are working with
This thoughtfully designed toy is based on Montessori principles, meaning there is never a right answer. Children are encouraged to learn through exploration. They will learn the fun of sequencing, math, and coding logic without ever realizing that they are gaining an education through playing!
Perhaps the thing we love the most about this toy is its adaptive manner. There are more than one hundred in-app games for your children to work through, and if ever they finish those, they can opt for free play to create their own unique stories. Although there may be a slight amount of sticker shock with the price tag on this toy, we can assure you that it is well worth it, given the potential for longevity that your child could gain with this incredibly designed toy!
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should my child learn to code?
If we want our children set up for success in a global economy, we should help them learn to code. Coding improves students’ mathematics and sequential thinking skills along with providing skills that later prove valuable in life and the workforce. Teaching your children how to code will help them learn to problem solve, teach them to develop resilience, and ask that they expand their creativity.
Margaret Meade famously said, “Children must learn how to think, not what to think.” Teaching children coding allows them another avenue for maneuvering their thoughts through possibilities, rather than one-way problems with black and white answers. Learning coding activates the part of the brain that children open when learning new languages, which strengthens their verbal and written skills. Additionally, coding teaches children collaboration and problem-solving. Even if your child never enters a STEM career, learning to problem-solve will serve them throughout the duration of their lives!
What is tangible programming?
It’s nothing new that the best way for children to learn with their hands. Tangible programming is a fairly new concept in childhood education that asks children to physically build code with blocks or other tangible elements. This is more effective and more developmentally appropriate than expecting children to develop code from scratch, using only a keyboard and computer monitor.
How can I get my child to learn to code?
Experts recommend that when teaching your little one to code, you keep your hands off the keyboard and mouse! This is because asking children to code on the computer is asking them to work on a technical skill that they really might not be ready for. By embracing learning through play, you are ensuring that your child develops a positive relationship with coding and will want to continue it of their own volition.
Last update on 2021-02-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API