If there ever was a question whether science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) toys were the wave of the future, Fisher-Price just answered it once and for all. The toy giant just introduced the Code-a-Pillar ($50) at the North American International Toy Fair in New York City, and it is nothing short of a game changer.
The adorable creeping caterpillar actually teaches tots coding basics — think sequencing and programming — before they can even say the words! The toy, which will be available this Fall, comes with eight segments that are connected individually via USB-like plugs. Each piece communicates a different action or command — turn left, play noise, turn right, spin, etc. — to the caterpillar's head. Once the parts are attached, kids press the start button, and the toy moves following the sequential commands. Individual segments light up as the toy performs the commands. Expansion packs with three additional pieces/commands will be sold separately for $15 each.
Games and toys designed to get kids coding early have been gaining traction in recent years, but none have focused on the preschool market quite like this. The Code-a-Pillar is designed for kids 3 to 8 years old (there's a free companion app filled with challenges for older kids), and based on the demo we've seen, this is guaranteed to excite kids — whether they know they're coding or not!