Bitsbox 2.0: Coding with Kids
A year ago we introduced Bitsbox to you- a subscription box that teaches kids how to code. And we LOVED it. The team at Bitsbox hit it out of the park, and it’s easily the best subscription box out there.
We recently teamed up with Bitsbox again because a.) When you find a great product, you want to tell people about it, and 2.) they’ve rolled out some updates to their box that we want to share about.
So, if you haven’t yet, take a second to read our initial review. You’ll learn all about how it got started, why coding is important for kids to learn, and how it all works. Or, if you’d prefer a 30 second version, check out this quick overview:
So, what’s changed?
First, they’ve changed the format. Instead of giving a booklet each month, they give a collection of cards that fit into a three-ring binder. Each card is its own coding activity.
Second, their collection of images has exploded. While they had a fine collection before, they’ve added a ton of variety over this past year, allowing kids to have a lot more image choices as they create their apps.
Third, the sets not only have a kit-theme (ours was Animal House), but also a coding theme. Our set of cards each had apps where kids used coordinates to place objects. I REALLY enjoyed this aspect of the box. By the end, the kids were challenged to create an app from scratch using everything they had learned until that point.
Oh! And it’s more affordable! They’ve created kits at different price points to allow for more families to jump on board.
And what’s stayed the same?
- Excellent quality.
- Coding projects that are fun and totally relevant to kids. Bitsbox will never be accused of being boring! For example, one of the apps in this set is called “Couch Potato Unicorn Ring Toss” where kids build an app where they throw donuts at a unicorn sitting on a couch. It sounds crazy, but the kids think it’s really great.
- A variety of coding projects, each with opportunities to make it harder for kids who have been at it for awhile and need a challenge.
- The ability to take the app that kids code and transfer it to an iPad for kids to play. Awesome.
So, what did the kids think?
They still loved it! The apps are just as interesting, and Asante and Aly thought it was SO FUN that they could create an app on our desktop and then transfer it to our iPad for another sibling to play in real time. I love that these boxes aren’t just playing with coding “for pretend”, but they are creating real apps.
Our only complaint is that this set of cards was pretty easy. Only 1-2 of our cards were over 20 lines of code, so the kids ended up breezing through this set faster than they did last year. Maybe it’s because they are older and WAY better at typing (a great side benefit from learning how to code!). Or maybe it’s because this might have been a beginners set. I checked out the website, and it looks like some of the sets are leveled at moderate to advanced, so perhaps as people order more, the kits become more advanced too.
Overall, we absolutely loved it. Asante and Aly have played with this set for quite a few hours, and I just love that this is something that they can collaborate on. No fighting, just a lot of laughing and “I wonder what would happen if….” Warms a momma’s heart!
I’m also considering suggesting a classroom set of coding books for a year-end gift for our kids’ teachers. If you’re an elementary school teacher, check out their own line of school-oriented materials!
What you need to know about subscribing
The first option is the cheapest, and it’s digital. For $19.95, you’ll get a set of coding cards emailed to you– you can print them out and get to work! This option works great for those who aren’t in the U.S.
The second option is for a basic box. You’ll get a box mailed to each month with a set of app projects and an app binder to put it all in. This starts as low as $18.95/month.
Finally, the third option is for a deluxe box. This one comes with everything in the basic box, plus trading cards, stickers, tattoos, and an educational/creative toy that goes along with the theme. For our wildlife theme, we received a cool sticker mosaic book. Other toys I’ve seen shipped include kendamas and robots. This option starts as low as $32.95/box.
Okay, so there’s one more secret option I’m going to tell you about. If you’re not sure if your child will enjoy this, but you want to give it a chance, you can purchase the Let’s App! Mini-booklet. It’s for beginners and it gives kids just a little taste of what Bitsbox is all about. You can purchase it for $.99.
What are your family’s favorite ways to code together?
Thanks so much to Bitsbox for teaming up again this year.
We received a free box in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are 100% our own.