Thursday, 22 August 2019

Learning Resource Coding Critters Review

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You may have seen my recent Learning Resource review about Botley, the coding robot. Following how great this item is for STEM, Learning Resources have just launched a coding toy that is perfect for slightly younger kids at pre school age. These are called Coding Critters and are to become your child's first coding friend. 

We had a choice of the 3 wonderful pets that you could choose from, Dog, Dinosaur or Cat. Lily chose the dog, which always seems to be her go to choice of toy pet. 

She was so excited when it arrived and wanted to get it out to play. Which I let her get it out straight away. Before I could even show her how to use it she was already doing role play with the dogs, and this was great to see. Perfect to know that as well as learning STEM that this toy also provides a great opportunity for the imagination to grow. This also meant that she could play while I set up all the other pieces. 

So what does the set come with? 

The set comes with - 

1 coding pet, (dog called Ranger)
1 Puppy Friend (called Zip)
Full Colour Story Book
10 coding Paw Prints
3 Cardboard Play Set decorations
Plastic Playset - Ball, Seesaw, house and slide

Quick start guide. 

Putting the cardboard playset together was very easy. There are plastic holders that you push the cardboard pictures into making them stand up. The see saw and house are also both very easy to put toggether and just clip. I did find the slide easy to do, but then found it didn't stay together very easily and I had to keep re building it. 

You then also need batteries for Ranger and he takes 3 AAA batteries (which are not included)

When it was all set up It was time to show Lily how to use it. 

First I showed her the simple way you make Ranger move. On the top of him he has 4 direction buttons and then a button in the middle of them. Its really simple to code. You simply push the directions you want him to go and then press that middle button and Ranger does exactly what you want him to do.
You can do a sequence of up to 30 steps which does take your dog quite far around the room.

To make coding Ranger more fun, you can use the story book to help think of fun ideas. Inside it shows you what to press and so you child can copy it. You can then make Ranger do all sorts like play hide and seek or play with the ball. Lily mostly likes playing with Ranger and Zip at the same time. You can make it so then Ranger pushes Zip down the slide or catches him at the bottom. If you make Ranger and Zips noses touch then magnets help them attach and ranger can pull zip around. 

You could also use the 10 coding paw prints to plan a route for Ranger to take, this really helped Lily be able to understand which buttons to press to make Ranger move the ways she wanted too.

The fun with Ranger doesn't stop there. He also has a interactive pet mode which means you can play and take care of him. Keep hold of his nose for around 3 seconds and he will switch over to interactive mode. You will know he has when a light on his back lights up. You can then press the direction buttons on him to make him do different things. Forward button is feeding him and he will say yum yum, left is making him sleep, back is playful mode where he barks, and right is to make him dance to music. Lily loved the dance move and thought it was hilarious watching him move around the floor. 

Ranger is very easy to switch on and off and has a button on his belly. 

Overall I think that the coding critter is brilliant, and a fantastic way to help children learn about coding and also directions. I love that they have come as a animal and that is also has an interactive mode so then children can have more fun with there new pet. I think the quality of Ranger is great, the buttons are very easy to press and so it isn't something you would need to help your child with.

My only thing I would say is that the plastics of the playset could be a little stronger and arn't up to the usual Learning resource plastic quality. 

But as that isn't the main part of the toy I would totally recommend this for your child as a fun way to learn.

You can buy your child's first ever Coding Critter from the Learning Resource website and it is RRP £40 recommended for ages 4-10. 

What would your child think to Coding Critters?
Would they choose Dog, Cat or Dino? 


  1. Probably Dog. Though depend on child, as we have dog lover, cat lover, and .Dino fans.

    Rachel Craig

  2. I think the Dog would be the favourite!

  3. Sounds like great fun, and learning for children. Perhaps the manufacturers will take on board your comments :- Cassie, in regards to quality of plastic for accessories. As quality is an important aspect, as can impact on durability.

    Rachel Craig

  4. Looks like Lily made a good choice. "Dog is Man's Best Friend". Dogs can be so sociable, friendly and loyal. Sounds like Ranger and Zip interacting together would be great fun. Dogs can interact well :- Chase and fetch a ball. Stick, etc. Play together. Obey commands, etc. So having toy dogs seems fun.

    Rachel Craig

  5. A fabulous way to introduce children to coding. It should be fun and this certainly is. Yes, our children would enjoy it.

  6. A playground :- Wonderful theme.

    Rachel Craig

  7. Colourful toy, and learning experience. An update on how Lily gets increasingly familiar with all aspects of the toy, especially coding would be beneficial.

    Rachel Craig

  8. Lily seems excited.

    Rachel Craig

  9. Technology :- Makes me Wonder, just what will be available in the future. Butler Service perhaps. As though some may want to be served / provided with service. There are others who are in NEED of being served / provided with service.

    The ' Inverse Care Law ' exists. We have an increase in the aged population. They have NEEDS, yet are these NEEDS addressed? If so, how well are they addressed? Recent episode of Casualty on BBC 1 : - We saw Duffy, who herself has been diagnosed with early onset dementia ( possibly Alzheimer's ) volunteering at a Care Home. Possibly the aim of the storyline was to show that Duffy was able to provide Peer Support, Empathy, as well as Professional Experience from her working life ( though she has since stopped working Professionally, as a Nurse. No longer a Registered General Nurse).

    Did the episode of Casualty perhaps show / express that the Resident had NEEDS. Through the 'Incident' those involved became aware that there was neglect within the Care Home. What took me by surprise :- Was the Care Home Manager being spoken to, and her management system being accused of :- How the neglect had, happened to occur. This seemed be be by overwork / overloading of junior staff. It seems time that Management / Management systems wer Investigated, as well as held accountable for Outcomes. As by 'Scapegoating' and getting 'rid' of a junior who was following Management guidance :- Is ineffective in providing :- Healthy, Safe, Effective, Appropriate, Acceptable Care. It also negatively impacts on many. Rather than tackling reason for negative outcome :- Irrespective,of where that is within :- Hierarchy, System, Organisation, etc.

    Robots / Robotics, Technology in the future could perhaps provide Service /s for the Royals, Celebrities, etc. Thus freeing,up Humans :- Perhaps improving services which NEED humans and for NEEDY humans. Whilst may allow some freedom from unsocial hours, and Royalty can relax more in regards to ' their Private life remaining Private'. As a Robot would not repeat what it heard. Tell what it saw, etc.

    Butlers, Maids, Cleaners, etc :- Possibly the future will bring these. There is already a robotic type of Hoover / vacum cleaner.

    Let us hope these technolological advances bring us real Quality of Life :- Access to Quality Time, Access to Leisure and Recreation.

    Rachel Craig

  10. this looks so much fun, my daughter would love it

  11. This toy looks like a great way to teach young children about coding. My granddaughter would probably choose the cat, or maybe the dinosaur.

  12. Aww so so cute, love the dog! And a great way to learn coding :)