To be a prodigy, you’ve gotta start young. And if you get your child the Code-a-Pillar from Fisher-Price, you can turn a toddler into a computer scientist. Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, obviously, but the new toy is geared towards very young children with the hopes of exposing them to the art of coding from the onset. The $50 toy, which debuted at Pepcom’s Digital Experience earlier this week, claims to help girls and boys attain the most rudimentary skills they’ll need to later master more complicated programming languages. And to ensure that your child doesn’t outgrow the Code-a-Pillar, Fisher-Price has also released a companion app, which will give older kids more complex challenges to explore.
The caterpillar-like toy works by actually taking the most fundamental concepts of programming and breaking them down into a format that would both entertain and (almost surreptitiously) educate a young human. The Code-a-Pillar has eight segments, each of which have a different command icon that controls how the toy moves or acts (forward, left, turn, generate a noise, etc). Children choose how to connect the eight parts, and once they push start, the caterpillar moves according to its “programming.”
Fisher-Price will also make available three extension packs, each costing $15, which will further the possibilities for the caterpillar. The coding gadget for tots is only one of a number of toys Fisher-Price has planned for its Teach & Learn line.
Of course, a number of other toys and games have sought to interest children in computer science and programming. But this particular toy may be geared towards the youngest demographic yet.
More details are expected to be released in the upcoming New York Toy Fair, but a spokesperson for the toy company told The Verge that ambitious parents could find the Code-a-Pillar in stores as early as July. So if you’re looking for your kid to become the next great tech star, consider this toddler coding toy.