bot.land

What is it: “An online strategy game with a focus on automation” bot.land is a free (and ad-free) game where you design robots to fight other robots. The design takes the form of drag-and-drop code blocks, similar to Scratch and other kid-oriented programming environments. The game is multiplayer and allows you to compete against AIs… Continue reading bot.land

Secret Coders

From graphic novel superstar Gene Luen Yang comes Secret Coders, a wildly entertaining new series that combines logic puzzles and basic coding instruction with a page-turning mystery plot! Follow Hopper and her friend Eni as they use their wits and their growing prowess with coding to solve the many mysteries of Stately Academy. What is… Continue reading Secret Coders

Blocksworld

What is it Blocksworld (not to be confused with similarly-titled games such as “block world”) is one of many Minecraft-inspired games, but Blocksworld stands apart in the quality of the game, the number of features, and the implicit instruction of programming fundamentals. What Lego is to Minecraft, Duplo is to Blocksworld. Who is it for… Continue reading Blocksworld

Stinky and Dirty

[amazon_link asins=’B00RSI4VDO’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’matchstickkidboo’ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’08328a12-f337-11e7-9d00-05a50c9e7c7b’] What is it Stinky and Dirty is a show based on characters from a couple of books, about a garbage truck and an excavator who solve problems together. Who is it for The show is good for kids of most ages, maybe 3-8. What Kids Like My kids like… Continue reading Stinky and Dirty

Children’s Museum Networks

There are four networks of children’s museums in the U.S.: ACM – Association of Children’s Museums ASTC – Association of Science-Technology Centers NARM – North American Reciprocal Museum and ROAM – Reciprocal Organization of Associated Museums (If there’s another that I missed, please let me know at matt@matchstick.com). Belonging to a network means you can… Continue reading Children’s Museum Networks

Puzzlescript

What is it PuzzleScript is an open-source HTML5 puzzle game engine. Open-source here means that it is completely free and all code is visible to anyone who wants to learn from it. HTML5 is what we used to call DHTML back in the day, and essentially means it’s made with JavaScript, and runs in a… Continue reading Puzzlescript

The Fixies

What is it The Fixies is a Russian cartoon series about a family of tiny (1cm tall) fairy-like creatures who repair everyday items, and in the process teach about physics, electronics, and other useful DiY knowledge. Who is it for The show is a big hit with our 4-year-old but a lot of the content… Continue reading The Fixies

Bloxels

[amazon_link asins=’B01FUFJ4ZQ’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’matchstickkidboo’ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’c15763e9-5acf-11e8-9873-efc5257a865a’] What is it Bloxels is a free make-your-own videogame app that lets kids (or adults) create 8-bit style sprites and levels for 2D platformer games without needing any coding. The Bloxels kit includes a 13×13 grid with colored blocks so that younger kids can manipulate ‘pixel blocks’ (bloxels) physically… Continue reading Bloxels

Spaceflight Simulator

Every week we try out at least 5 different apps, either on an Android phone or the iPad. They are all free except for the rare occasion when we decide that the paid version will be worth it (e.g. in the case of Plants vs. Zombies). The apps are free usually because they have ads,… Continue reading Spaceflight Simulator

Magformers

[amazon_link asins=’B002NGOH1W’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’matchstickkidboo’ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’4abc6a27-1d6e-11e8-a40d-c5c0ca798c19′] These things have been standard fare at childrens’ museums and science museums since they were developed in 2008. I had seen them many times but didn’t know what they were called. Unlike some other magnetic toys, these are perfectly safe for infants to gnaw on. From the website: “Each… Continue reading Magformers