As coding is increasingly becoming a form of 21st-century literacy for kids, California-based startup codeSpark has launched a new game that teaches kids five and up the basics.
The Foos will be a featured part of nonprofit Code.org’s Hour of Code event, which aims to get kids tapping away worldwide. Running from December 8 to 14, Hour of Code expects to draw 40 million kid participants eager to spend 60 minutes learning about computer programming. A total of 47, 519 localized events are planned for this year, and more than 15 million students participated in 2013.
A free Hour of Code version of The Foos is currently available for download. It focuses on a virtual world brought to life by cute characters. The multiplatform, text-free game is also available on the App Store, Google Play, Amazon and online.
Accommodating multiple learning styles, The Foos has 24 levels of structured play and three open-play areas for character-driven storytelling. The structured play introduces basic computer science concepts, while open play lets kids practice their newly acquired skills.
It’s the flagship offering from codeSpark, an emerging company focused on learning games. Its co-founders include Joe Shochet, a gaming and virtual reality expert who as creative director of Disney’s Internet Group led the design and development for several subscription games including Toontown, and Grant Hosford, an entrepreneur and online marketing specialist.
Along with being named a partner for Code.org’s event, codeSpark also made waves at Lego, where it was a finalist in the brick maker’s Re-image Learning Challenge.