STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and coding toys make playtime ultra educational. STEM is now a major part of most school curriculums, and plenty of parents are eager to give their little ones a head start when it comes to cultivating a love of learning within these fields. After all, the earlier you can grasp these increasingly important skills, the better. While all kinds of toys and plain old imaginative play can help your kid learn and problem solve, coding toys for kids are a great option.
Toy makers are seizing on the STEM frenzy creating cool coding toys that foster problem-solving abilities, logical thinking, and design strategies. Coming in the form of robots, gadgets, and games, these gizmos teach as much as they entertain. And many coding and STEM toys are so much fun that kids don’t even realize they’re learning.
The U.S. Department of Education is a big proponent of teaching kids STEM skills because through them children learn problem-solving, processing complex concepts and information, and the ability to gather and evaluate evidence in an ever-changing world. Starting as early as age three, kids use their observation skills and base their understanding on trial and error and cause and effect, which serve as building blocks for logical reasoning. Giving them coding and STEM toys that increase their attention span by following multi-step directions helps with both short-term and long-term memory.
If you’re trying to reduce your child’s screen time, you’re in luck, as many coding toys don’t require a device. On the other hand, if you think that’s the secret to sparking their interest, coding toys that work in conjunction with electronics are available as well. Ready to send your child down the programming path? The following are the best coding toys for kids.
- HAND GESTURE CONTROL: Get hands-on interaction with Novie! Using hand-tracking technology, you can control Novie with specific hand gestures. Wave your hand left or right, up and down, toward him, and around him to see how this quirky toy robot reacts!
- TEACH HIM TRICKS: Train Novie to perform 12 awesome tricks like Spinout, Wheelie, Berzerk, Fartnado, and more! His pitch goes up as he learns, and you’ll know he’s mastered a trick when he makes his happy sound!
- THE MORE YOU TRAIN HIM, THE MORE HE DOES: Novie is ready to follow your commands and learn cool tricks! With 3 different training modes, teach Novie beginner, intermediate, and advanced tricks – he’ll get better with practice until he learns each trick!
- INTERACTIVE ROBOT TOY FOR KIDS: Novie makes a great birthday or holiday gift for kids aged 4 and up. Requires 4 AG13 batteries (included). Bring home the perfect little pal, Novie!
- Includes: 1 Novie, 1 Quick Start Guide, 1 Instruction Manual
- Early coding and problem-solving toy for preschoolers ages 3-6 years
- 1 motorized head and 5 permanently attached segments
- Each segment has a dial for kids to turn to program a path for Code-a-pillar Twist
- 1,000+ possible combinations
- Includes volume control, light-up eyes, and fun sound & light effects
This gorgeous Lego set teaches creative problem-solving skills, thanks to its 40 interactive missions and buildable props.Yes, this thing is pricey. But seriously, you almost cannot put a price on the level of ingenuity you get with this Lego set. Kids build Lego droids, and the set includes a color and distance sensor, a Bluetooth move hub, and 1700 pieces. That's enough to build R2-D2, Gonk Droid, and Mouse Droid models and embark on coding missions through the app.
Your toddler may think he or she is just playing around. But surprise! This Rocktopus has three modes to keep his or her brain engaged. In math mode, preschoolers practice their adding, subtracting, and patterning skills. In music mode, Rocktopus helps rockers compose their own songs. And in game mode, Rocktopus leads kids through five levels of musical gameplay. And they're having a blast the entire time. Kids three and up can play and simultaneously learn to detect patterns, and figure out addition and subtraction.
Matatalab’s coding set features completely screen-free coding. The educational coding games are created to develop kids’ knowledge of fundamental concepts of programming logic like sequencing, parameters, loops and functions, and also teach the basics of music notes and art. Plus, it's virtually indestructible and works with multiple users. This Montessori-approved coding toy is geared toward children 4 years and up.
- Early STEM learning: an introduction to the fundamentals of coding and robotics for grades K-2.
- Unplugged: no software, apps, or smart devices required!
- Clear explanations: the 64-page, full-color experiment manual guides kids through the Coding lessons and model building exercises.
- Story-based: six different storylines are included, Each with a Series of model-building and coding lessons, like a mouse moving through a maze to find cheese or a soccer player moving a ball into the goal!
- Correlated curriculum: The 30 coding lessons are aligned with the teaching standards developed by the computer science teachers association (crystal), The international Society for technology Education (ISTE), and code.Org
- A parents' Choice Gold award winner
Created for kids three and up, EL10T is a coding robot designed especially for young kids with its simple to use design. Kids insert coding blocks into the control panel base and upload them into his helmet and he goes to work.The set includes 16 mission cards, 20 coding blocks, cardboard obstacles, stickers, the coding panel and, of course, the robot itself. This coding robot helps build problem-solving, sequencing, and critical thinking skills.
If you want to cut back on screen time, you need and want Botley. Kids can code him without using any kind of app or device, and he's ready to go out of the box. Kids ages five up learn the core concepts of coding, without hounding you for your phone. They have a hands-on remote control to get Botley to complete tasks and perform tricks.
Powered by a tangible programming language made of colorful blocks, this Montessori and Logo Turtle-inspired toy makes programming accessible to children before they can read or write. Each coding block is an action so you can place the blocks on the board to tell Cubetto where to go. It’s geared toward children aged 3 and up.
- SKILL DEVELOPMENT: Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Analytical Thinking, Sequential Thought Process, Directional Concepts, Visual Tracking and 2-D to 3-D Correspondence
- INTRODUCE children to coding with this easy programmable Mouse; Mouse lights up and sounds and also features two speeds are perfect for tabletop or floor play
- Use the pictorial direction coding cards to plan a path; then, program the mouse with easy push-button controls and send him on his way to follow your commands
- Part of the stem line of activity sets that help students experience STEM through hands-on activities and experiments while challenging them to think critically, solve problems effectively, and acquire the skills needed to enter stem-related fields
- Ages 4+
- ► PLUGO STEM PACK is an AR-powered STEM gaming system with 2 gaming kits - Plugo Count and Plugo Link. It turns your device into a hands-on learning system and takes your kids through a series of story-based challenges. Plugo is suitable for kids 4 to 10 years of age.
- ► IN THE BOX - comes with 1 foldable gamepad, 1 Count Spike, 4 arithmetic operators (+ - x/), and 2 sets of digits 0-9, and 15 magnetic building blocks. No Bluetooth and no electronics. A help guide with step-by-step instructions is also included.
- ► PLUGO APP - download the free Plugo app and play 10 STEM games with 500+ progressive levels. Select your child's grade to adjust the difficulty of the games.
- ► SPARK STEM SKILLS - Plugo triggers auditory, visual, and tactile senses in kids and spurs their comprehension abilities, critical thinking, logical reasoning, mathematical intelligence, and spatial reasoning. It is the perfect gift for curious little geniuses!
- ► DEVICE COMPATIBILITY | iOS - iPad 3 and above, iPad mini 2 and above, iPad Air 1 and above, iPad Pro 9. 7 & 10. 5 inch, iPhone 6 & above | Android - Samsung tablets & smartphones, 2015 or newer with more than 2GB RAM | devices - Kindle Fire 7 - 2019, fire 8 - 2018 & newer (fire 10 not supported).
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