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Coding Critters

Torrey Wiley on Flickr

Have you ever wanted to program your pet? Well, now you can! Coding Critters robots were released by the STEM company, Learning Resources, known for their line of award-winning, screen-free, coding robots. You can now program Ranger the Dog, Scamper the Cat and Rumble the Dinosaur!

Coding Critters seem similar to Code & Go Robot Mouse, but the Critters take the programming experience even further. Each of these robots come with storybook coding challenges that kids can complete. Robots also come with their own accessories that become part of the coding adventures. Each robot comes with toys, homes, landscape and best of all, their own play dates (Zip the Puppy, Sneaker the Kitten and Bumble the Baby Dino).

Like all coding projects, before we can jump into programing our Critters, we have to develop a plan!

Step 1) Create an algorithm

We can plan our movement by developing an algorithm (step-by-step instructions) first. To increase our accuracy, it will help to measure how many inches a Coding Critter can move in one step (jot that number down!). If we want Scamper the Cat to reach his friend Sneaker, simply measure the distance in inches between Scamper and Sneaker and then estimate how many steps Scamper will need to move to reach his target. It can be helpful to create a grid map that is split into inches for your robot to travel on. Once we know how many steps Scamper needs to take, we have our algorithm.

Step 2) Develop code

Next we have to translate the algorithms into a language the robots will understand, which is called code. Each Coding Critter comes with a pack of coding cards. The coding cards have symbols on them that show the direction the robot can move (forward, backward, left and right). We can turn the algorithm into code by selecting the coding cards that represent the steps the robot must take to reach its target. For example, if we want Scamper to move five steps forward and two right turns, we would select five forward and two right turn coding cards and lay them out. It helps to visually see the code on cards, especially when the programs get more complicated.

Step 3) Input the program

Last, we have to input our programs, which are the sequence of steps laid out in the coding cards. We input the sequence in the program by pushing the directional buttons on the robot. When the program is inputted, it’s time to run the program by pushing the round GO button! If the program doesn’t work as planned, we can ask a friend to help debug our program.

Learn More

You can go online to get free copies of the coding storybooks, coding cards, coding activities and even Certificates of Adoption!

Coding Critters Review


Stem Coding Play


Coding Critters Review


Motion planning