BOULDER, Colo. — The kids are learning from home, and everyone in the family is going stir-crazy from being cooped up inside.
But, there is a fun, educational activity from the Colorado-based coding kit, Bitsbox, to keep kids entertained and prepare them for the real world.
It may be just what the doctor ordered this holiday season.
“You know how you can recapture a kid's interest?” Bitsbox co-founder Aidan Chopra said. “Mail her a box because that's like Christmas. It's like Hanukkah. That things comes, and it's so exciting!”
Chopra and co-founder Scott Lininger are the creative minds behind Bitsbox, a startup coding system for kids.
“If you ride an elevator, there's code in it,” Chopra said. “If you drive a car, there's code in it. There's code in refrigerators right now. And heaven knows, there's code in the software we're using to develop vaccines.”
The subscription gets you a new Bitsbox in the mail each month with colorfully designed coding cards for apps like games, greeting cards and puzzles.
“If I'm a kid, I go through and I go ‘oh, I want to build a birthday card!'” said Chopra, thumbing through the binder.
“And if I flip it over, it actually gives me the Java script code that I need to type, along with some little challenges.”
The activities range from easy to advanced, and there are challenges at the end of every lesson.
“Kids want to be on the computer, a lot of them, anyway,” Chopra said. “Bitsbox is kind of great. It's sort of like broccoli-flavored ice cream.”
The boxes are made for kids starting as young as 6 years old. Chopra says the sweet spot is about 9-12 years old, once they've had schooling in basic math.
Learning to code only puts them ahead of the game.
“It’s not like learning to jump rope or something like that,” Chopra said. “It's actually more like cooking or learning to play a musical instrument. You have to spend weeks or months or, in some cases, years learning this and practicing it and repeating it.”
The next generation of workers and entrepreneurs will likely need computer skills, even if the technology is moving too fast for parents to keep up.
“Making stuff that's really educational, really nutritious and really fun for kids means that almost every morning I have an email in my inbox from some parent, or kid if we're lucky, just saying, 'thank you, thank you, thank you'” Chopra said.
Bitsbox orders almost tripled after their appearance on ABC’s “Shark Tank," according to Chopra.
Kids can also share their newly created games and apps with family and friends by emailing their finished work.
If you'd like to learn more about Bitsbox, download Denver7 to your Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, or Android device and look for the “In Good Company” section.