Parents and teachers who are truly aware of the importance of coding and innovation in the upcoming generation, are constantly looking for new methods, tools, and engaging ways to make the kids of today integrate the tools, and strengthen the abilities that will help them in tomorrow’s world. We all know how transcendental the numerous 21st-century skills are, and the importance of teaching our children to be critical thinkers, problem solvers, thought leaders, and team-workers.
These abilities, together with proven knowledge in programming and coding will open doors for your kids when it comes time to successfully enter the local workforce. Therefore, we must do something that goes beyond the efforts made by the faculty members at their school, and offer your kids an experience outside of what’s traditionally known as “academic”.
If we want them to be genuinely interested in coding and programming, initiatives like enrolling them in a fun, online, live, and useful coding course can truly help. Also, offering them the opportunity to experience the values of coding from a different, fun, and gamified place can cooperate in this process: we are talking about coding toys.
But, what is a coding toy and how it can help your children? Well, in the past we have mentioned the best programming games for kids because we truly believe in an engaging and gamified approach to education, in whatever field of education it is. On the other hand, we understand that the world has changed, and the new challenges our children will have to face in the future, requires them to learn a skill set that is different and broader than the one we learned in our school years.
That being said, what is a programming toy and how can a STEM coding toy, or a coding kit for kids be a real asset? Check it out while we show you, right here and right now, the best coding toys for kids.
A coding toy is an engaging plaything whose main goal is to teach children how to code, or at least, to teach kids the very basics of algorithmic thinking and computational processes. What is cool about coding toys for kids is that they will learn everything they need to know while doing something with their hands; and hands-on learning is widely acknowledged to be an educational methodology that works outstandingly well.
When deciding on a coding toy for your kid, you should pay attention to a number of different elements, since not every coding toy for kids will be a success with your little ones. Therefore, take into consideration:
- Your child’s age: There are coding toys for 3 year olds, coding toys for 10 year olds, and coding toys that parents will enjoy more than their own children.
- Your child’s personality: Your kid might be really into STEM coding toys, or instead, totally into arts and crafts… but don’t worry, there are several coding toys for kids who are more artistic. When deciding on the ultimate coding gift for your kid, keep in mind who they are, and what they like and dislike.
- The space you have at home: There are numerous coding toys for kids that will need a huge living room for optimal usage, but at least the ones we are mentioning here will work fantastically well in almost any environment.
- Your child’s prior knowledge: If your kid already participated in an online coding course and already knows how to work with Scratch, or how to create an app, there are more advanced STEAM and STEM coding toys you can get them… and they’ll enjoy them a lot more. If your children don’t know how to code, read the upcoming recommendations very well, because some of these coding toys will be exactly what they need.
Coding toys for toddlers and coding toys for teens
Here we need to face something a bit tricky. Even though all coding toys for kids have a recommendation regarding the minimum age of their users, we believe in the individual process of each person in particular. Just like Maria Montessori mentioned, each person needs to discover his own path by doing, and by developing real, reachable and scalable potential.
That is why, if you want to get your kids a coding toy for teenagers because they just turned 14, but they are just starting in the worlds of coding and programming, don’t be afraid to get them something for younger learners first. They will still enjoy the learning process and develop numerous 21st-century skills, such as critical thinking and problem-solving along the way.
On the other hand, if your youngest kid already knows what Scratch is and is already building an app in one of Tekkie Uni’s coding courses, you should think about a more advanced coding toy, regardless of their age or grade at school.
Everything is about the people, about your kids and their individual place, skills and interests in this marathon called life. There are coding toy options for everyone, and for every different age-group, here we bring you the 11 best, divided into a few categories.
Are you ready to discover how to boost your child’s potential with the best coding toys? Here we go!
11 Best coding toys for kids
After a lot of research, and after seeing what our team’s kids like the most, we came up with these 11 and extraordinary coding toys for kids. Some of them were thought up and designed especially for younger children, and others were built for people with a bit more experience. But keep in mind what we mentioned before: everything depends on the personal process of your own child.
Now, we are going to show you some STEM coding toys, a few coding kits for kids, and even a few, very exciting, robotics coding toys for kids. To make it more interesting, we divided the list into 3 big categories: Breathtaking coding toys for all ages, best coding toys for kids by LEGO, and finally, best coding toys for kids from movies and TV series. Are you ready to discover which one is the best coding toy for your kid? Take some notes and if you have any questions, just let us know in the comments below.
Breathtaking coding toys for all ages
This is the amazing top 5. We brought you these 5 coding toys because we think they are legendary. We have used some of these ourselves, and they are super exciting, engaging, and fun. Incorporating elements of gamified learning into your kids’ everyday life can benefit them tremendously in the near future. Trust your gut and get the one you feel is most relevant for your children… you know them well!
Dash and dot
As we have said before in this same blog, Dash and Dot is a spectacular way for very young children to begin their path in the programming world. The Dash and Dot set comes with an easy-to-use and very colorful free app that teaches kids how to program in order to make their new robot dance, talk or do a number of other things. Your kids can use this app from your tablet, or your smartphone… it is that easy! These two lovely robots are super fun. Sooner rather than later, you will see your children loving this coding toy and spending hours coding them, making Dash and Dot sing, dance, and even run after someone around your house!
These small, colorful and very friendly robots are recommended for kids between 7 and 12, but as we said before, it all depends on your kids’ personality and prior-knowledge.
Code-a-pillar is a great option for boys and girls who haven’t reached school age just yet. To make it even cooler and appealing for kids, it is in the shape of an animal, but not any animal. Code-a-pillar is a caterpillar with one big motto: encourage very young children to play and learn while strengthening extremely important coding abilities, such as critical thinking, sequencing and algorithmic thinking.
Code-a-pillar is a toy by the well-known Fisher-Price, specifically from their division “Think and learn”, and according to Amazon, kids simply “(…) connect the segments to make Code-a-pillar go forward, left, right or wherever they choose”. Kids start understanding the basics of coding, by comprehending, hands-on, how important sequencing is. That is what they do when putting the pieces of Coda-a-pillar together, in whatever order they decide.
With Code-a-pillar, your youngest children can truly become problem-solvers!
According to Fisher-Price, Code-a-pillar was designed for children between the ages of 3 and 6. But as you already know: It is up to your children and their very own individual process.
Kano PC and computer kit
As we’ve discussed many times in the past, when your children create something from scratch, especially when that something works and can be shown to the world, their self-esteem and self-confidence increases in a dramatic way. Kids who are able to turn their dreams and plans into breathtaking realities are not only happier kids, but will also be more successful adults in the future.
The Kano PC is here to assure more kids have this feeling. Kano, powered by Microsoft, allows kids starting from the age of 6, to build their own computer, either at home or at school and to make anything possible.
They work under the principle that by following a few very simple steps, anyone can build a computer, and then… create almost anything in it. With Kano, your children will understand circuits and software, and will see with their own eyes that any idea they might have can be brought to life.
We first saw the Sphero Sprk in our office, when one of our dearest colleagues brought it into play with himself. So even if this is one of the best coding toys for kids, adults can also have fun with it!
Actually, the Sphero team wanted to change the fact that “learning and playing are on different sides”, that is why they created this stunning coding toy for kids. It is a playful robot that is fun, and offers challenges for every skill level (remember when we say it is not about the age, but about the specific individual?). Just like Tekkie Uni, the guys from Sphero know that in the future, coding will be as important as reading or writing, and by creating Sphero they want to give everyone the chance to understand the language of tomorrow.
In their coding kit, your kids will find a number of useful gadgets and extras to make their Sphero experience even better. Did you ever think that your kids could code a ball? Well, now it is possible!
Artie is a very friendly robot for kids who know a little bit more about programming. With a website that could be a bit more colorful, by using drag and drop programming, kids program Artie to write or draw whatever they’d like. At the end of the day, that is what Artie does: either writing or drawing.
This cute robot comes with a number of lessons in the box divided into 3 categories: easy, medium, and hard. It also comes with a few beautiful colorful markers for your kids to decide which one to use, with Artie itself, and with all the instructions your children will need to start coding Artie right away.
As they describe themselves, this might be a great way to apply the “arts” of STEAM education. Artie is where coding meets creativity.
Best coding toys for kids by LEGO
The guys from LEGO Education really know what they are doing. They offer multiple educational kits for kids of all ages that can be used both in the classroom, and also at home as a coding toy. Among their multiple options, we have decided to mention the following 4, because you’ll see how your children could progress by using each one of these robot coding toys. Let yourself be surprised…
With WeDo your kids can make science come to life. This kit combines the LEGO bricks, friendly software, and real-world projects that will strengthen your kids’ 21st-century skills. This was designed for kids between 2nd to 4th grade, but as we said before… It all depends on your kid’s personal process and progress. Check it out!
LEGO Boost is just amazing. It allows very young kids to turn LEGO bricks into outstanding robots, to then program them by using a drag and drop programming software. With LEGO boost, kids will be able to do almost anything they can dream of; fun, exciting, and educational projects that will provide them with self-esteem and a number of useful skills and abilities for the near future. Check out this review in the Wall Street Journal:
SPIKE is one of the newest additions to the LEGO Education family. It is fun, colorful, and super engaging for kids. This coding kit for kids comes with everything your kid will need and it is, definitely, one of the best coding toys you can give them. Besides all the pieces, sensors, and circuits your kids will need, it also includes a great top-card that provides clear directions and suggestions on how to get started with this cool robot that also dances pretty well… if your kids want it to do that.
This is one of the classics from LEGO Education and we just love it. Actually, we have published in the past a number of projects your kids could do with their LEGO Mindstorms EV3. In the multiple robotics competitions that take place all over the globe, the Mindstorms is one of the most used robots by kids!
We believe in the educational power of this coding kit for kids. In Tekkie Uni’s online robotics course, your kids will learn how to program robots by coding their very own virtual version of the LEGO Mindstorms EV3. After learning this, they will be able to successfully participate in almost any robotic competition, and for sure, win first place in the upcoming CRCC of their school.
We are not really sure if the Mindstorms is a coding toy for kids, but it is indeed a great educational robot that can bring lots of fun and skills to their lives.
Best coding toys for kids from movies and TV series
Sometimes, your kids just want to have a coding toy that reminds them of a character they love, or of something they loved seeing in the movies or on YouTube. Also, some parents who love the stories of a galaxy far, far away… love seeing their kids talking about droids, Jedi, and Sith. Take a look at these very cool coding toys for kids, based on characters we all grew up with. If your kids don’t like them, we are sure that at least you will… Check them out!
With WowWee Elmoji your kids will be able to learn how to code with the great Elmo from Sesame Street, using a very attractive, easy, and friendly methodology: Coding with emojis.
As they themselves describe it, Elmoji is a junior coding robot that teaches kids the basics of programming using the language of emojis. Your little ones will have fun problem-solving using the app to control Elmoji’s numerous actions.
Elmoji has been considered one of the best coding toys for kids for several years, and still occupies the very first places in the ranking. Take a look at it. The recommended starting age for Elmoji is 4 years old… which opens a world of possibilities for your children!
Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… kids could code droids. This coding kit, that will enable your children to build their very own R2D2 is recommended for kids ages 8 years old and up.
Evan, a fantastic YouTuber kid, explains his experience with this great inventor kit much better than us. Check out this video and picture your kids programming Luke’s best friend. Amazing, isn’t it?
Using this droid inventor kit is harder than coding the Elmoji, so take into consideration your kids’ expertise and willingness to take on a bigger challenge.
Your kids should learn how to code today, here’s how!
You know what we are talking about, your kids must learn how to code. They have to do so because the world is moving towards a future in which those who don’t know what programming or coding is, won’t understand how that future works, and what is needed to succeed in it.
Coding is a way of thinking, and giving your kids STEM coding toys, or robot coding toys will open their minds to a reality that offers them countless possibilities. Kids who are more into the humanity fields, and don’t like programming at all must also understand that regardless of what they decide to do with their lives tomorrow, knowing how to code will teach them a new way of thinking that, no matter what, will be useful.
Developing skills like critical thinking, analytical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork is possible, and with these programming toys for kids, can be easy and fun. Also, by enrolling your kids in one of the phenomenal online coding courses offered by Tekkie Uni, they will gain these skills and strengthen them in every single session with their instructors and classmates.
It is up to you. Your kids can change the future and make this world a better place by experiencing a hands-on learning environment that will turn their “mistakes” into learning experiences, and that will give them all the tools they need to use the best coding toys to create meaningful things. The time is now!