Common Sense Review
Updated May 2014

Lightbot Jr 4+ Coding Puzzles

Cute, simple intro to programming for young learners
Common Sense Rating 3
  • Game levels are grouped into major categories.
  • Levels challenge kids to build increasingly complex programs.
  • Move the Lightbot and light the squares.
  • Higher levels increase the challenge with nested procedures.
Simple interface, delightful graphics, challenging puzzles engage young learners.
There's not a lot of content here, and the app stops short of teaching programming.
Bottom Line
This is a fun and engaging introduction to the world of programming.
David Thomas
Common Sense Reviewer
Director of academic technology
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

Featuring a colorful and inviting graphical style, the puzzles will draw kids in.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

Puzzles really only scratch the surface, providing little more than an intro to programming concepts.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

The game offers simple support and direction; kids may need help from an adult.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

For the teacher looking to provide a savory taste of what computer programming is like, Lightbot Jr is a perfect snack. The charming Lightbot, in boy blue and girl pink, seems harmless as he or she marches and hops across the minimalist landscape. And with few actual commands available, kids can quickly pick up the basics and will enjoy playing through the puzzles. Once hooked, a teacher may want to take advantage of some of the lesson supports available on the Lightbot website. And the regular Lightbot app is a great follow-up app for kids to expand their new skills.

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What's It Like?

Lightbot Jr 4+ Coding Puzzles presents kids with a cute little robot, small levels comprised of blocks, and a handful of drag-and-drop programming icons. Move, turn, light, and jump comprise the core of Lightbot Jr's available commands. And when the player places these command tiles in a row, LightBot Jr moves merrily through the level, lighting up designated tiles. The player must light up the correct tiles to move on to the next level.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Because Lightbot Jr focuses on the gameplay, it's easy to get kids engaged. But without some context and possibly some guidance and encouragement, young players may get stuck long before they internalize some of the key lessons of programming. Also, when compared to the many learn-to-program titles on the market, Lightbot Jr only scratches the surface. This is a fine introduction to programming concepts for young kids, but for a deeper dive into coding, kids will have to look elsewhere.

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See how teachers are using Lightbot Jr 4+ Coding Puzzles

Lesson Plans