While we're all gearing up for the Beauty and the Beast live-action remake, Hasbro is using the opportunity to teach kids to code in a unique way. As i09 reports, the toy company announced just before the Toy Fair 2017 that they are launching a Belle doll that pairs with a basic programming app for iOS or Android.
The doll is wearing Belle's classic, golden ball gown, and she can talk and dance on her own. She also speaks over 100 different phrases, and sings four songs from the original Beauty and the Beast film.
Of course, she's a lot more than a pretty dress and a hairy boyfriend. Unlike other dolls, her movements are based on commands input into an app by the doll's owner. Whether your child is younger or older, this doll can help gear a child's mind towards coding. For the younger kids, you can program Belle's movements with a basic connect-the-dots mode, where the screen is filled with shapes that coincide with basic dance moves. When a child drags their finger across the shapes on the screen, in whatever pattern they choose, Belle dances in conjunction with the selected commands. For older kids, you can use the "block coding" mode where you can drag and drop moves and commands into a sequence for Belle to perform.
More and more focus has been put on creating toys and games that help children learn the basics of coding. While it won't necessarily make them computer geniuses overnight, it will help them develop problem solving skills, give them an interest in how things work on a fundamental level, and likely increase a child's interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields. And while any child can enjoy this toy, it is another stride towards getting young girls interested in STEM. Girls have historically been far more likely to stray away STEM education and careers, and it's incredibly encouraging to see toy companies actively welcome more little girls into the community. (Check out our pals at Amy Poehler's Smart Girls for more amazing stories of women in STEM.)
Of course, such a rad toy isn't cheap. If you want to pick up this toy for an aspiring coder in your life, it'll run you about $120.
What do you think of Hasbro's new doll? What are some other useful coding toys or apps you've come across? Let's talk about it in the comments!
Image credits: Hasbro