10 December, 2019 - While learning to code may not be top of everyone’s agenda, having some basic coding skills has become something that is valued in numerous industries ranging from engineering to science, art and design. As more schools have incorporated coding lessons for kids, it’s also become clear that learning the basics at an early age can develop innate coding talent and build self-confidence to help children grasp more abstract concepts at school.
This is the inspiration behind a new educational toy, set for launch on Kickstarter on December 16th 2019. Created by a team of parents, teachers and tech innovators, The Ifs is a toy that teaches children the basics of computer programming through imaginative play – without the aid of screens.
The Ifs are a family of four, interconnected robots, full of sensors and actuators and are able to work together to solve problems and complete various actions – from measuring movements, light, sound, temperature and humidity to speaking, singing, imitating, vibrating and lighting up.
Each member of the robot family, including Emma, Liam, Noah and Holly, has a unique function or ‘super power’ that sets them apart and allows them to take children on amazing adventures by programming them, simply by placing blocks on their heads using magnets.
This process of tangible programming makes coding easy and accessible to children of various ages and abilities.
“We know kids naturally play and love making things with their own hands, and technology is transforming childhood education. We embraced these ideas to create a hands-on learning experience that allows children to explore, follow their curiosity, and discover things on their own and with each other,” explains founder Luis Martín, “At the same time, by creating a gender-neutral toy, we wanted to inspire young girls to develop an interest in STEM to overcome the gender gap that persists in the tech field.”
But how do these games teach basic computer coding skills? “The Ifs are programmed by combining different blocks using simple ‘if’ and ‘then’ statements, which operate like algorithms, with the blocks being a physical representation of an instruction that children then combine to create an action,” says Esther Borao, “Each of the instructions of a computer program are executed in a sequence, so children add different instructions by combining different blocks in different sequences. Correcting errors and debugging is as easy as changing the blocks until the robots work as expected.”
The Ifs also encourage healthy habits for technology use because they require imagination, encourage interaction with others, and promote teamwork, all of which are integral in a coding environment.
There are endless opportunities for The Ifs to educate and entertain children from three to 10 years old, and even beyond and parents don’t need to know any code to play along.
The Ifs will be launching on Kickstarter with a stretch goal of $200,000 to get The Ifs into the hands of parents and kids by the end of 2020. With media and industry interest already piqued, the creators should have no problem reaching their goal.
To date the creators have won several awards in Spain, including the Banco Santander Explorer Program in 2017, Vodafone Ideas Camps and Rafael del Pino Foundation Awards and Elle Talent Project in 2018 to name a few. The Ifs have also been featured in multiple Spanish media outlets including; Periódico El País, La Vanguardia, 20 Minutos, Expansión, Xataka amongst others.
“Our mission is to inspire young girls and boys to explore the digital world around them. We want to provide children with opportunities to use their knowledge and concepts of programming as a tool to better their futures, and we believe The Ifs has the power to do that,” says Fergus Reig.
For further information or PR enquiries, please contact:
Company name: The Ifs Toys S.L.
Address: C/Mas de las matas 20, 50014 Zaragoza Spain
Contact name: Luis Antonio Martin Nuez
Phone: +34 619913824