Lego Boost kit aims to teach kids to code through creativity

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Lego revealed a new playset that teaches children to code using their own Lego creations and a smartphone app.

The kit, called Lego Boost, isn’t the first programming-centric line the company has rolled out, but Boost is the first to focus on making coding both accessible and fun for younger kids.

Different efforts like Girls Make Games and the Hour of Code have emphasized ways to explore and teach programming to younger generations, and Lego Boost is no different. However simple, tools like this can help younger kids develop an early understanding of basic coding, and can provide a strong foundation for the next generation of game developers.

The Lego Boost comes with building instructions for five Lego robot models: Vernie the Robot, the Multi-Tool Rover 4 (essentially construction-type vehicle), Frankie the Cat, the Autobuilder (which is a machine that builds tiny Lego creations for you), and the Guitar 4000.

Vernie the Robot, the Multi-Tool Rover 4, Frankie the Cat, the Autobuilder, and the Guitar 4000.

After that, any existing Legos can be glommed onto new creations, according to Lego: “a walking base for making animals like a dragon or a pony, a driving base for building vehicles like a dune buggy or rover, and an entrance base so that children can make their own castle, fort, or even a futuristic space station.” The kit is targeted at kids 7 and older.

But before you can build any of those, you have to download the companion Boost app. The app is essential to the process; it has all of the instructions, plus it’s the key method of programming and interacting with the Boost creations.

Basic commands within the app are broken down into categories for movement, speech, and action. Players are able to drag and connect commands to create functions for connected bots. This allows young kids to program their creations to do anything from basic movements to more complex tasks that make use of sensors that read color or sound.

“We know that children dream of bringing their Lego creations to life, and our chief ambition for Lego Boost is to fulfill that wish. Once children build a Lego creation, we give them simple coding tools to ‘boost’ their models by adding personality,” said Lego Group design lead Simon Kent. “We want children to first and foremost have a fun and limitless play experience; adding the coding opportunity is the means to get there.”

The Lego Boost base starter set is priced at $160 and will be available later this year.


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