In many ways, learning to code can be like learning a language itself, often the best results come from teaching basic things early and simply being surrounded by the topic.
Obviously, no one is going to start teaching your kid how to code in Python, in the same way you wouldn’t start teaching your kid grammar right away, but computational thought and general problem solving skills can be honed so that when it is time to learn how to code, the concepts are already locked in.
While this makes a lot of sense, and there are loads of ways to teach basic computing concepts to young children, one thing parents worry about is screen time.
You are already probably fighting a losing battle with screen time, and adding a few hours of coding lessons on a computer, app, or tablet, may just push them into dangerous territory, on top of their leisurely screen time already.
One solution are physical toys, many of which are great at teaching younger kids the basics of problem solving and computational thought, skills that will be useful in later life.
‘With these toys you can still socialize with your child while they learn and not have to worry about too much screen time during their younger years.’
With these toys you can still socialize with your child while they learn and not have to worry about too much screen time during their younger years.
We have found the best toys to teach coding (see also: Can You Teach Yourself To Code?)skills, below, so that your child can learn coding quickly and in a way that is fun. Keep reading to learn more about coding toys for kids(see also: 7 Tips For Getting Your Kid Into Coding).
1. Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-A-Pillar Twist
This pre-school toy is the perfect coding experiment for a young child. The code-a-pillar has many functions on it that you can program in a simple way so that the code-a-pillar moves around.
Kids see direct results from their sequencing experiments that result in physical action, a perfect equation to learn basic computational thought.
The programming of the code-a-pillar is really simple and easy and requires simple physical manipulation of the toys, twisting dials and such, that doesn;t require much thought.
Yet, your child will eventually realize that sequencing certain actions lead to specific results, a foundational building block that will help them understand coding concepts in the future.
2. Think Fun Gravity Maze Marble Run Brain Game
This marble run set is really popular among parents looking for toys that teach STEM (see also: STEM Saturday: 2D Vs 3D Gum Drop Shapes)and coding concepts to kids.
Everyone loves marbles, even older adults can relate to playing with marbles when they were a kid.
The toy is great to train their visual and logical thinking, with the main objective of the set being to create a specific maze that the marble can run through.
While it also teaches problem solving skills necessary for coding, it’s both a satisfying game to play but also teaches STEM topics like gravity and such.
Even without all its educational properties this is a really fun marble run that is specialized for STEM kids.
As a high quality marble run in its own right, it’s the kind of toy that even an adult would enjoy. As a result the toy has actually won awards for its popularity.
3. Wonder Workshop’s Dash – A Coding Robot
This is ideal for slightly older kids to learn how to use technology in combination with robotics. While this does involve some screen time, your kid sees the results of their screen time in the physical robot itself, so it’s not the kind of screen time that would be negative.
Moreover, your kid gets their own little robot that they can interact with by coding it and programming(see also: Are Programming And Coding The Same?) it and playing with the results of their programme.
While there are other robots out there for a similar price range, Dahs is considered one of the best mainly for the user interface the app offers, being easy to programme.
Your kid can easily programme Dash to sing, dance, navigate courses, respond to voice commands, and more. The benefits of your child seeing the physical results of their virtual programming is something really useful for understanding how we should be using technology.
4. LEGO Star Wars Boost Droid Commander
Kids, no matter their temperament for STEM subjects, love Star Wars and there is perhaps no better way to get them interested in STEM than through Star Wars themed toys.
Building LEGOs on their own is a really fun activity all sorts of kids really enjoy and building LEGOs on its own is a super learning activity for kids that teaches lots of transferable skills.
However, this isn’t just a build it and forget it toy. This is much more than just a LEGO set. Once built, you can actually programme these droids really easily and with great success.
Kids will love nothing more than seeing their Star Wars droids come to life. The game has hours of fun involved and you can even buy an extra book of programming ideas related specifically to the droids. There’s no surprise that this toy has won awards for combining entertainment and education in one.
5. Artie Max The Coding Drawing Robot
Getting girls into STEM subjects such as coding can be a little tough at this early age, but can be done, especially with help from Artie Max the drawing robot. No matter the gender, anyone can enjoy this fun programmable robot that combines art, drawing, and coding into one fun activity.
The programming is really fun and easy and works in tandem with creativity. Kids can use Artie to draw lots of complex patterns and pictures that may not be possible by hand.
These coding languages are used throughout the coding industry and if you can teach them to your kid now they will be way ahead of the curve.
6. The Learning Journey: Touch And Learn NumberBot
One thing that is necessary for coding is a comfort with numbers. Many kids lose their confidence in math as they grow older because they maybe had a bad experience with it in their younger years. Part of being confident with numbers and math is being familiar with them as a younger person.
In any case, this toy is a really fun one for kids that makes numbers feel fun and interactive more than a chore. If they begin to relate math and numbers with fun and logic now then this is something that will stick with them for years to come. Suitable for kids aged three and up.
As you can see there are a whole host of different kinds of toys out there which can help young kids, and older kids, as well as kids of different gender backgrounds, to become confident with STEM and coding concepts from this early age.
As they become familiar with STEM concepts, numbers, and coding practices, they will enter their later life with a confidence and familiarity that will help lead them to success, rather than being afraid of the latter.
With these toys they can enjoy learning and make learning part of having fun, which will undoubtedly lead to success in the working world too. We hope this list has helped you find the right toy to help you kid learn coding practices and STEM subjects.
Frequently Asked Questions
Of course! There are loads of kids out there that can even code in the modern computing languages out there such as Python and C++, even some of the toys listed can teach your kids these programming languages in an easy way.
While we should try not to limit what our kids can achieve, it can seem a little far fetched for sure. Regardless, these toys show that kids can learn even the most basic and fundamental concepts of STEM subjects, programming, and coding.
For example, even a small child can understand basic problem solving skills from something as simple as building blocks.
Even something as basic as sequencing, or a simple familiarity with numbers, can be more than enough to help them on their way to a well paid STEM job.
It can certainly be surprising what kids can learn, there are kids out there who can even speak three languages by the time they can even conceive of something like grammar.
THis occurs because we immerse them in the topics of language, your child will hear people speak everyday in a multilingual household and can easily differentiate and pick up multiple languages.
If we do the same thing with STEM subjects and coding, surround them in it, they will undoubtedly pick these skills super easy, like any other skill they may be surrounded by.
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