In late 2013, a kickstarter was started for a board game designed to teach kids about programming. It wasn’t for junior high and high school kids either, this as aimed for kids as young as 4 years old! That game was called Robot Turtles and it became one of the most successful kickstarters for a board game of all time.
That kickstarter campaign managed to print and sell almost 25,000 copies of the game. But after that was done the game was gone. You could not get it anywhere. But after just a few months ThinkFun picked up the game and, with a few small cosmetic improvements, re-released the game! Now anyone can get a copy!
In the game kids assume the role of one of four turtles. Each turtle has a deck of cards that comes with it. Players then place target jewels on the board that their turtles are supposed to reach
For very young kids, parents should supervise the game and move the pieces (small children’s finger dexterity may not be up to par despite the large thick cards used in the game). Kids play the cards from their hand that have an arrow direction as well as a colorful symbol to show which way the turtle goes. For example in this picture a right turn card is played that shows not only the right turn arrow but shows the turtle facing the flower that is on the right side of that turtle’s card:
Movement is not permanent and if a child discovers and error in their ‘program’ they can call ‘Bug’ and go back to fix that mistake.
At first, the board is empty but the game can then be made more challenging by adding ice walls, lasers on the turtles to melt the ice walls, stone walls (can’t be melted) and more.
By playing Robot Turtles young children will learn basic computer concepts such as commands, order of operations, and much more. Best of all they may not realize they are learning.
We don’t carry very many board games at Spectrum Scientifics, seeing as we are a Science Toy Store, but Robot Turtles was one game we had to carry!
Want to buy Robot Turtles?