Cubetto is an innovative little guy from Primo Toys; a wooden toy that teaches pre-schoolers rudimentary coding rules in a fun, and engaging way. Teaching coding to kids isn’t a simple task – there are a lot of difficult concepts to grasp, but Cubetto is a good place to start to learn.
He’s also pretty darn cute.
What is Cubetto?
The Cubetto package has a lot about it…
Did I say he was cute?
But he isn’t just a pretty cube; no. He is also a very engaging teaching tool for coding with kids, particularly younger children. Coding is an extremely important part of our lives now. Everything seems to need a microchip. And if it doesn’t have a chip, you generally feel that it needs one.
Cubetto is a gorgeous wooden robot on wheels, that uses simple shapes (blocks or counters), and a wooden board to help kids understand basic commands, programs, functions, and sub routines.
Yes – I know that sounds impossible, but it really does.
The box comes complete with Cubetto, your little robot, a mat, two instruction booklets, a bag and a set of coloured counters to provide the commands for your robot.
How does Cubetto work?
Each of the colourful tiles is a command, and the wooden board is used to put those commands in sequence, so you can move Cubetto around the mat. The order of the commands is indicated by an arrow on the board. a rectangular block of four commands lets you build a sub-routine, which can be repeated using the blue counters within the set.
Put in your program with the counters, and watch Cubetto move!
What did we think of Cubetto
This is a simple idea, beautifully executed in wood that will enchant your kids. It is simple enough for the younger children to understand, but is sufficiently interesting for older children as well. Older kids will potentially be put off by the younger looking packaging, but once they get beyond this; they are likely to be intrigued and distracted from their screens…just for a moment at least ;-)
The instructions are clear, and most importantly, very concise, so set up is extremely quick. We were off programming with Cubetto just five minutes after we had him out of the box.
I wonder if we can get him to tidy up the playroom?
The second booklet that comes with the set is a story book. It uses the mat, and the robot, to teach kids about different parts of our planet; offering questions, and quick activities for the kids to take part in.
The mat, which is designed as a basic world map, enables kids to easily able to create their own challenges. For example, we picked a couple of target squares in one of our games, and dared each other to get Cubetto to those destinations without falling in the water! I am sure kids could come up with a few other ways to use the pictures, and the letters on the mat as well.
Perhaps you could draw some of the pictures on the mat, for example the castle, boat and tree, and then pick one of them out of a hat to try and get Cubetto to next? There are plenty of options to look at.
Getting Cubetto to move around the map is a joy as well – the kids love to watch him move about, and the simple counters really do work as well. All you need to do is add your block in the correct sequence (follow the arrow), and then press start when you want Cubetto to go.
It is worth making sure that the map is completely flat when you use him though, as otherwise the wheels can get stuck, and the 15cm he should move with each block can become a wee bit less.
Overall – 8/10
This is a lovely idea, and a great way to get coding with younger children, in a fun, and rather charming fashion. Kids can’t fail to fall in love with the little character, and WANT to move him around the mat using the ingenious counter system Cubetto comes with.
The only real issue is the price of Cubetto, which is £159 RRP. This means the toy is really something special for your kids. The product is perhaps likely to provide the most value within the nursery market at this price point.
However, the eco focus, and the ability to learn to code far away from a computer screen is something that far outways that additional cost. The beautiful design, and the illustrations on the world map mat are enough to make you realise why the cost is a little higher. This product have been designed to take coding away from the computer, and if that take a little more money, then so be it.
Cubetto allows very young children to explore computers without the need for one, and that should be applauded.