Kickstarter Success to Mass Availability Shows Support for Code Literacy & STEM Skills
It was a Kickstarter sensation, graced the front page of the New York Times, garnered accolades from families, experts and educators, and today, Robot Turtles™ by ThinkFun®, the first board game to teach coding skills to kids as young as four, makes its national debut. ThinkFun is the world’s leading developer of addictively fun games that sharpen your mind like Laser Maze™, Rush Hour® and Zingo!®.
Awarded a “Best Toy for Kids” by the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association, Robot Turtles is now available at Target stores nationwide and on Target.com in addition to neighborhood toy stores, with a suggested retail price of $24.99. Robot Turtles was invented by Seattle software entrepreneur Dan Shapiro who wanted to spend quality time with his then four-year-old twins and share what he feels is the single greatest superpower – the skill of programming. Robot Turtles began as a Kickstarter project where it became the most-backed board game in the history of the popular crowd-funding site. The Kickstarter goal to raise $25,000 and produce 1,000 games turned into $631,000 and 25,000 games as passionate parents from 65 countries kicked in support to make Robot Turtles a reality, and the game sold out.
With appeal to both boys and girls, a screen-free format and a concept that sneakily teaches coding and STEM skills while being silly with the family, Robot Turtles proved a perfect fit with ThinkFun’s mission to change the world through play. The company licensed Robot Turtles in January to bring it to families everywhere.
“Learning how to code is an essential 21st century skill and not just for designing apps and video games,” said Bill Ritchie, ThinkFun President and Co-Founder. “You learn how to break big problems into small steps, work backwards and visualize multiple solutions. You learn to persevere, to experiment and be patient. Robot Turtles teaches these life essentials to the youngest kids who stand to benefit the most.”
“Kids naturally learn how to use computers,” said inventor Dan Shapiro. “But to create a new program to solve a problem – that means knowing how to speak to computers in their own language. I don’t care if my kids grow up to be programmers, chefs, or dancers. But whatever they do, if they know how to program, they will have better tools to help them do it.”
Robot Turtles is played with a grown up and up to four kids, ages four and up. (Pre-Kindergarten to 2nd grade is the sweet spot!) Kids take the role of a programmer, playing cards to direct their turtle. The grown up takes the role of the computer, moving the turtle in response to the child’s every command. Kids quickly learn to maneuver their turtles to collect jewels and unlock new features like Lasers, Ice Walls, and the Function Frog. As kids create code, parents respond with goofy beeps, bops and zaps, eliciting shrieking delight and belly laughs.
Parents can brush up on game play, check out reviews and learn more about the value of code literacy at ThinkFun.com/RobotTurtles. Be sure to explore Adventure Quests, ThinkFun’s burgeoning online community where kids can dream up, build and share their own Robot Turtles adventures, complete with storytelling, photos and drawings.
About ThinkFun, Inc.
For 32 years, ThinkFun Inc. has been dedicated to creating games that spark curiosity, cultivate confidence, and nurture life-long learners. Our games encourage interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM), while generating excitement for a world of learning through play. Innovation, creativity, value, and fun are the four elements that comprise the development of every game. Ignite the mind, and change the world for each player.