Bitsbox is a subscription service that teaches grade-school children (ages 6-12) how to code apps! Isn't that amazing? I am well on my way to raising my two boys to be complete nerds, and this subscription may be the key piece to the puzzle.
My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out our review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
This review is of the Bitsbox Original, $40 a month, box.
The Subscription Box: Bitsbox
The Cost: There are 3 options. Digital Book is $20/month, Bitsbox Book is $25/month with free shipping, and Bitsbox Original is $40 + $9.10 shipping = $49.10/month.
The Products: All subscription types come with an online account for kids to create their apps. All subscriptions come with a book of projects, although the digital book option is a download. The Original Bitsbox also comes with toys and swag that support the little coder lifestyle.
Ships to: Worldwide
Good to Know: If you have multiple grade school children in your household, they can each set up an online account for free for working on their apps. There's no need to purchase multiple subscriptions!
Also Good to Know: You need a computer for your kids to work on; Bitsbox's interface won't work on a tablet or phone yet.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
This month, our package came with this note to parents, describing some changes to the subscription. They are moving from a book of projects to oversized cards. I guess we will see how this works out!
Here are the oversized cards. This month's theme is "Animal House!"
Here's a look at some of the cards. I like that each project seems to have a whole card dedicated to it, whereas in the old book each project might only have one page. That leaves room for more tips and tricks. I just worry about kids this age keeping track of the cards. Every project contains the code for the kids to copy to make their app work. Additionally, there are snippets of info such as "What's a Flag?" that help explain what the child has just copied, plus little challenges to see if the child understands the code well enough to alter the app a little. This technique works really, really well!
This is our "toy" for the month. It's a DIY animal origami kit! There are lots of pages of animal printed paper along with instructions. How fun! I hope my kids get into this, origami is really fun and good for the brain.
Bitsbox also seems to include stickers, temporary tattoos, and trading cards as a regular inclusion in every box. The trading cards have additional little apps that the kids can code.
When the kids log in to their home screen, this is their "tablet" where they can see all the apps they have built. They can also go back into them and edit at any time.
This is the coding interface the kids use. Obviously, the graphics and sounds are already there for the kids to use, but they are writing real honest-to-goodness code! Bitsbox makes it a really fun experience.
Now onto the apps! Feel free to click the links and actually see the apps in action! (They will run in your browser, no download required.)
My eight-year-old made this app for a birthday card! It's pretty basic, but the cool thing is that it comes with instructions on how to send it to your loved ones on their birthday. I think this one is going to get a lot of use! His friends and family will be so impressed!
He also made this app which made us both giggle pretty hard. It's a lion scaring away a giraffe. It's also pretty simple, but this is a good example of some of the "learning" projects that are provided. This app taught him about the use of time in his apps, as you can adjust when the lion roars and when the giraffe runs away.
My ten-year-old made this app, which is a game where you make the dodo jump to try and avoid running into a windmill. Fun!
He also made this app which is really similar to that old game "Brick Breaker" they used to have on the Blackberry. You drag a trampoline around to bounce a dodo and try to hit the acorns. How amazing is it that a ten-year-old can code something this complex?
Verdict: Bitsbox has become one of our favorite boxes! The apps are funny and engaging, and they're not hard at all. I'm still astounded that they actually teach the kids how to code! It's a great value since both kids can share one box with separate accounts online for working. It's one of the rare boxes that last the kids all month because they can keep returning to it whenever they like to try new projects - and they do! We are huge fans!
Have your kids tried Bitsbox? What do you think?