Coding Critters MagiCoders: Skye the Unicorn

Lower Age: 4
Upper Age: 104
Price: $54.99
Year Added: 2021
Amazon URL:
Unicorn Critter Model and Contents
Coding Critters Magicoders: Skye the Unicorn, by Learning Resources, is a fun and interactive toy for ages 4+ that introduces users to the basics of programming.

The 22-piece toy includes a robotic unicorn, coding wand, spell book, user guide and several fun accessories that will construct Skye’s fantasy adventure land. The manual tells a story where users must code a path to complete each story element and solve a problem Skye and her friends faced. 

Children use the coding wand and the sequences of code instructions in the manual to create code "spells" that make the unicorn complete different actions. Using this screen-free method, the coding is simple but children are able to learn the basic building blocks of programming. As with many of the Coding Critters toy sets, the association of coding to magic is a neat concept and puts coding in a perspective that children can relate to. While the storybook often instructs the user which specific commands to use in order to help Skye solve her mission, there is much room and encouragement for the user to find the solutions to each storybook problem on their own. The toy's inclusion of many accessories makes the storybook more interactive while giving purpose to the coding and spells provided. It also helps the user understand the coding aspects of the toy in a much more fun and digestible manner. The storybook and toy do an excellent job of keeping the user engaged, and the symbolic usages of the wand for coding commands and the fantasy land as the coding platform will not overwhelm the target audience, but rather spark their interest in programming in an efficient and cute way. 

Coding Critters does a fantastic job of exercising the users critical thinking skills. Rather than having the user read about why the functions of the wand work, they will instead ask themselves, “Why?” Why does one set of wand commands make Skye take a nap, and another help her pick up fallen stars from the ground? In the process of helping Skye perform her unicorn duties, the user will learn much about not only programming, but also the conceptual aspects of engineering such as iterative design. As the user becomes more comfortable with using the wand and starts to explore the functions of the wand, they will be able to recognize patterns within the functions and can then create new spells that will help Skye reach her goals. 

The association between magic and coding in this toy provides a stimulating and interesting platform upon which the user will build their coding skills. Coding Critters: Skye the Unicorn is an excellent gift for any young user entering the complex world of coding. Skye will not disappoint, as the user will learn about programming in a fun, interactive, and magical way. 

Framework Categories

Engineering Thinking (EThink)
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.