Cubetto teaches kids the building blocks of coding

Fraser Valley Regional Library’s wooden robot coming to Maple Ridge in May

Meet Cubetto, the friendly wooden robot that teaches computer programming basics to children.

Cubetto is the newest addition to The Playground at Fraser Valley Regional Library – a collection of library items and experiences to foster STEAM learning (science, technology, engineer, arts and math).

To celebrate Cubetto’s debut, FVRL is launching a grand tour. From April 23 to May 30, Cubetto will make stops at 14 library locations across the Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland. Cubetto will be at the Maple Ridge Library on May 21 from 11 a.m. to noon.

Cubetto is the third programmable robot in the FVRL Playground. It follows on the success of two other robotic learning tools – the Sphero SPRK+ and the Ozobot Bit – both of which have been popular with library customers. Cubetto is special, however, because it is designed especially for children as young as three years old. The Cubetto robot, originally a Kickstarter project by Britain’s Primo Toys, encourages imagination and exploration through stories and hands-on play. Kids control the robot’s movements by placing coloured coding blocks on a wooden control panel. Cubetto has no screen, and there is no reading to do. Children use shapes and colour to learn the basics of coding, directions, logic and pattern recognition – skills and concepts that will help them succeed the digital economy of the future.

FVRL Customer Experience Director Heather Scoular explains: “Cubetto offers a fun first step into the world of computer programming. Because there’s no computer screen, this is an ideal learning activity for our littlest coders.”

This screen-free philosophy is supported by the Canadian Paediatric Society, which recommends limiting screen time for children under five years old and emphasizing learning in real-time interactions.

Cubetto is just the latest addition to the FVRL Playground, which includes a number of non-traditional lending collections and learning experiences. The Playground began in 2016 when FVRL received a donation of ukuleles from a local arts group. Since then, the Playground has grown to include programmable robots, telescopes, green screens, circuit boards and virtual reality experiences.

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