As a parent, it is a dilemma I know all too well. On the one hand, I do not want my kids to be left behind in a world where computational thinking skills seem increasingly important. On the other hand, I am concerned about the amount of screen time, which means less reliance on coding apps for kids. Thankfully, there is a solution — the Learning at Home Set from Learning Beautiful.
- Suitable for children ages 3 – 9
- Hands-on and screen-free learning
- Handbook with over 30 lessons covering topics such as sorting algorithms, binary trees, mapping and more.
A set of educational toys developed at MIT and tested in Montessori classrooms, the Learning at Home Set is made from wood, cork and other natural materials. It is designed to teach basic computing concepts, such as sorting, encryption and mapping to children aged between 3 and 9. Included in the set are two playbooks, a handbook for parents, a set of alphabet cards, two pixel boards with tiles and lesson cards. And the key attraction for my kids, a wooden binary tree.
It didn't take long for my kids (aged 5 and 8) to assemble the binary tree. But getting them to understand the concept of exponential growth behind the tree — each tree branch grows another two branches — was like herding cats. They were already moving on to the next items — pixel boards that illustrates how 1s and 0s (or black and white tiles) can be used to represent information such as images and words. Meanwhile, I was trying to read the handbook for parents, a step-by-step guide on how to use the included materials.
While you can leave it to your kids to explore the set on their own, they may lose interest without parental guidance. But older kids are probably independent enough to read the two included playbooks — illustrated story books about the binary tree and the pixel boards. In short, parents will need to invest plenty of time and patience to get the most from this set of educational toys. In fact, it would likely take many weekends to go through the over 30 lessons in the handbook. I feel it would also be a good fit for homeschooling or preschools.
The Learning at Home Set is available from the Learning Beautiful SG website at a promotional price of S$236 (usual price S$295) when you sign up for their newsletter. It is ideal for parents who are looking for a screen-free way to teach their kids basic computational thinking skills.
Note: Review unit provided by Learning Beautiful.
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