Join thousands of grownups who get articles on teaching kids to love coding.
Back to Articles

Build an app in Bitsbox in under 5 minutes!

This example app, called Wanted: Mr. X, teaches kids to program the computer to do simple math while creating a wanted poster

Actually two minutes, but five minutes sounds a little more believable.

With Bitsbox, you write programs that work on a simulated tablet that lives right next to your code on the screen—it looks a lot like an iPad. These days, people refer to programs as apps, which is short for applications.

You type your code in the area on the right side of the screen. When you want to run your program, you click the green Play button. The result of your code—the program (app) you're building—appears on the tablet on the left.

Building a Super-Simple App

When you're learning a new language, you usually start with a couple of simple words. The same thing works when you're learning to code.

We've found that these three Bitsbox commands are perfect for beginners:

fill() Fill the screen with a color or an image
stamp() Stamp a graphic on the screen
text() Write text on the screen

Let's write a program that uses all three of these commands.

Start your kid coding with this simple app

See how each command specifies what to fill, stamp, or write by including a word or two between a couple of single quotes? Bitsbox has a huge library of options for fills and stamps; you can check it out by clicking the Library of assets library icon on your screen when you're coding.

It would be better if the sheep moved up a bit and the text moved over to the left. Luckily, the stamp() and text() commands each have additional options that you can specify to control how they work.

For stamp() and text(), you specify where on the screen the stamp or text should appear by typing a pair of coordinates, separated by a comma. Check this out:

App that teaches kids coordinates

In each pair of coordinates, the first number refers to the position in the x (horizontal) direction. The second number refers to the position in the y (vertical) direction.

Kids learn programming with this simple coordinate app

You can see the coordinates for any spot on the tablet's screen by hovering over it and looking at the little numbers above and to the left. The upper-left corner is 0,0. The lower-right corner is 768,1024.

One last thing: You can specify size by using another parameter when you're using the stamp() and text() tools. Just add a third number after the first two, like this:

The completed app

Neat, huh?

Aidan Chopra
About the author: Aidan is a dad, the Content Factory and a Cofounder of Bitsbox. He is also inspirational, manly and taller than you think!
Join thousands of grownups who get articles on teaching kids to love coding.