The Codie robot operates with a smartphone app to make coding simple and engaging to learn.

 Photo courtesy of  Codie’s Indiegogo page

Photo courtesy of Codie’s Indiegogo page

For any parent looking to give their kids a leg-up on the future job market, add this toy to your birthday gift wish lists.

Introducing Codie: a wooden robot created by a Hungarian startup that accompanies children as they learn the fundamentals of coding through a supplemental app. The Next Web reported that the concept for the robot and app came about while co-founder Adam Lipecz was teaching coding to college freshmen. After seeing how the standard teaching curriculum wasn’t as engaging as he knew it could be, he decided to develop a better method.

According to the Codie website, the creators say that Codie helps children utilize logical thinking and problem solving while also encouraging them to exercise creativity. Coding is taught through the app via a touchscreen device where kids can arrange and connect colorful blocks using arrows in order to pick a program’s order of execution. The robot itself is also connected to the smartphone device via the app and can be programmed as an alarm clock or even as a dance teacher. The kids also receive instant feedback from the robot when they complete the coding activities.

What makes Codie’s programming language especially user-friendly is that it gradually introduces the learner to more complex programming structures. The creators note on their Indiegogo page: “As kids get to know these more and more complex structures, they unlock more possibilities within Codie. Codie grows with your child as they will have new features to explore for a long time.”

Another important element is Codie’s design, which has evolved over the past two years with the team striving to make it as gender-neutral as possible.

“We definitely want to see more girls getting into coding in the future,” Peter Erdei, who is in charge of visual and UX design for Codie, told The Next Web. “We designed the robot to be appealing for girls as well by avoiding the use of features, which are said to be more ‘boyish,’ like wheels and sharp edges and using a more friendly-looking material: wood. ”

If all goes as planned, the team hopes to release the first round of Codies by the end of October 2015.