Nintendo president Reggie Fils-Aimé on Labo’s educational potential

Nintendo Labo, a series of video games for Switch that make use of real-world cardboard construction kits, has a freeform mode dubbed Toy-Con Garage that allows kids to make their own DIY creations and visually "code" how they behave.Nintendo

Since its launch last April, Nintendo Co. Ltd’s line of Labo crafting games for Switch has inspired kids (and a few grown-ups) to create some pretty imaginative cardboard constructs.

The kits, which come with interactive in-game instructions to build some remarkably complex cardboard machines, from fishing rods to a rope-and-pulley robot suit, also feature a freeform mode called Toy-Con Garage that allows users to visually “code” behaviours into their handiwork, which has resulted in kids creating everything from working musical instruments to analogue clocks.

This immediately caught the eye of many STEAM — science, technology, engineering, arts and math — educators, including those at Actua, a Canadian charity with educational programming that reaches a quarter of a million kids across Canada annually. The non-profit organization partnered up with Nintendo to design a learning framework for both younger and older kids using Labo kits, letting them use the unique crafting and programming platform to design cool things like customized RC cars with infrared sensors that can detect specific objects.