If you’re looking for a new mobile app to try for Hour of Code, Box Island might be the one for you. The full version is not available yet, but there is an Hour of Code version that you can get for free in the iTunes or Google Play app store. There are 20 levels in this free version, and the difficulty increases slightly with each one. I must admit that even with my somewhat varied experience with coding apps there were a couple of levels that I had try a few times before reaching the goal.
The app is designed for ages 6+. Your basic mission is to program Hiro (an animated blue box) to collect a stopwatch through paths and obstacles that get harder as the player learns more skills. Although there is a bit of reading involved, I think that pre-readers would still be able to enjoy this game with little guidance, as the arrows are pretty self-explanatory.
Box Island’s Hour of Code page offers solutions, lesson plans, and a detailed curriculum that explains the computer science involved in playing the game.There are 3 sections in the game: Sequences (levels 1-6), Loops (levels 7-13) and Conditionals (levels 14-20). You can also print out a certificate of completion for the students once they finish all of the levels.
Box Island isn’t ground-breaking as programming apps go, but it’s a good app for introducing the skills that are needed in many programming languages.