LEGO Education is riding the rails with its new Coding Express toy launching first in the US and China this October, before rolling out in all other markets next spring. The toy train combines the LEGO Duplo brick train set with five new action bricks to teach kids foundational coding skills such as sequencing and looping.
Players can use the action bricks and a set of switches to make the train go around the tracks, but also to trigger reactions like sounding the horn, turning lights on and off, pausing to refuel and changing direction. And group play with trains that interact will be possible as well.
To support the launch, LEGO Education is rolling out a Coding Express Teacher Guide with eight lessons incorporating national standards and guidelines.
The release of the new toy follows on the heels of LEGO’s recent report examining the state of play for parents and children in nine countries that found a strong link between hours spent playing together and the happiness of families. The LEGO Play Well Report revealed that nine out of 10 families surveyed who play together for five hours or more a week claim to be happy, but nearly a third of families spend less time than that on play.
The construction toymaker has been doubling down on technology integrations for its toys as of late, including its BrickHeadz AR app, which enables kids to bring their BrickHeadz toys to life by personalizing a digital version of their characters. It also released an Amazon Alexa Kid skill that ties its LEGO Duplo to voice-activated stories.