Coding Critters Go Pets!: Dart the Chameleon

Lower Age: 4
Upper Age: 104
Price: $21.99
Year Added: 2021
Amazon URL:
Dart the Chameleon
Coding Critters: Go-Pets! by Learning Resources is an introductory coding puzzle game for ages 4+.

The toy includes 12 double-sided puzzle cards, a 12-page story book and activity guide, and Dart the Chameleon- a robotic, battery-powered chameleon that follows the path created by the puzzle pieces.

Coding Critters provides a fun new twist on the classic car-ramp toy model. With several intriguing story-activity combinations provided, the toy inspires the user to interconnect both problem solving and creativity skills. The toy integrates engineering thinking and design processes through its unique ability to get children to ask the question, “Why?” Why is Dart unable to move across obstructions in its path? Why does Dart go off path if the puzzle pieces are not connected? By recognizing the patterns upon which Dart operates, the user will in turn learn about the consistency of most programming languages. Though the user will not be conducting hard-coding practices, they will be introduced to the integration of coding and real-world applications. Coding Critters is a fun way for the user to exercise their creative thinking, problem-solving, and logical thinking skills. Through the process of playing with Dart the Chameleon, the user will learn to recognize that Dart is programmed in a unique way that will only allow him to fully operate on the path created by the puzzles, by recognizing this pattern the user will be able to complete the story book activities successfully. 

Each story book activity contains unique constraints based on the design of the puzzles. In order to follow the constraints, the user must accurately identify the guidelines each activity states and design a process by which they will create a pathway that accomplishes the goal of the activity. There are a limited number of activities included with the toy, but the user is also given the opportunity to create their own unique pathway upon which Dart can move on. With the endless possibilities of how the user can create a unique new path, it is inevitable the user will practice iterative design processes and creative problem solving. 

Framework Categories

Engineering Thinking (EThink)
Processes of Design (POD)
Computational Thinking

Moore, T.J., Glancy, A.W., Tank, K.M., Kersten, J.A., Smith, K.A., & Stohlmann, M.S. (2014). A framework for quality K-12 engineering education: Research and development. Journal of Precollege Engineering Education Research, 4(1), 1-13.

Dasgupta, A., Rynearson, A., Purzer, S., Ehsan, H., & Cardella, M. (2017). Computational Thinking in K-2 Classrooms: Evidence from Student Artifacts (Fundamental). 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition Proceedings.