When was the last time a champion speller rolled up to a Bee in a Ferrari? Never. If you really want to guarantee your kids make something of themselves one day, you'll want to forget board games like Scrabble and focus on building real-world skills. Not only does Robot Turtles teach a love of Herpetology (the study of reptiles) it also teaches them the basics of computer programming—aka coding.

The game, created by a Seattle software entrepreneur named Dan Shapiro, actually started life as a successful Kickstarter project, but is now finally available to anyone with $25 to spare and a desire to see their kids succeed. The goal of the game is for kids to maneuver their turtle across the board, avoiding obstacles and other players, in order to rendezvous with a jewel. But instead of rolling a dice and letting fate decide, they use a set of cards that serve as basic programming instructions, telling the turtle where to move and when to turn.

It's a great family game because parents serve as the computer, executing the kids commands as they play their cards. They won't be developing iOS apps after a few rounds, but kids will learn some essential basic programming concepts such as combining instructions to create a line of code, solving problems and fixing bugs, and breaking larger problems down into manageable steps. And we can't help but wonder if the pursuit of jewels, instead of food, will also help give kids a drive for seeing out venture capital funding one day. [ThinkFun]


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