Cubetto will be at the Yarrow Library on April 24. (Submitted)

Yarrow Library one of the stops on Cubetto’s grand tour

FVRL’s friendly wooden robot, Cubetto, travels throughout Fraser Valley to teach programming basics

Meet Cubetto, the friendly wooden robot that teaches computer programming basics to children.

Cubetto is the newest addition to The Playground at FVRL – a collection of library items and experiences to foster STEAM learning (science, technology, engineer, arts and math).

To celebrate Cubetto’s debut, Fraser Valley Regional Library (FVRL) is launching a grand tour. From April 23 to May 30, Cubetto will make stops at 14 library locations across the Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland, and it’ll be in Chilliwack on April 24.

Cubetto is the third programmable robot in the FVRL Playground. It follows on the success of two other robotic learning tools – the Sphero SPRK+ and the Ozobot Bit – both of which have been popular with library customers.

Cubetto is special, however, because it is designed especially for children as young as three years old. The Cubetto robot, originally a Kickstarter project by Britain’s Primo Toys, encourages imagination and exploration through stories and hands-on play. Kids control the robot’s movements by placing coloured coding blocks on a wooden control panel. Cubetto has no screen, and there is no reading to do. Children use shapes and colour to learn the basics of coding, directions, logic and pattern recognition – skills and concepts that will help them succeed the digital economy of the future.

“Cubetto offers a fun first step into the world of computer programming. Because there’s no computer screen, this is an ideal learning activity for our littlest coders,” says Heather Scoular, FVRL customer experience director.

This screen-free philosophy is supported by the Canadian Paediatric Society, which recommends limiting screen time for children under five years old and emphasizing learning in real-time interactions.

Cubetto is just the latest addition to the FVRL Playground, which includes a number of non-traditional lending collections and learning experiences. The Playground began in 2016 when FVRL received a donation of ukuleles from a local arts group. Since then, the Playground has grown to include programmable robots, telescopes, green screens, circuit boards and virtual reality experiences.

See Cubetto at the Yarrow Library on Wednesday, April 24 from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m.

READ MORE: A new kind of literacy immersion is coming to the FVRL

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