Coding toys and products are becoming popular in the market now, and for good reason; the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) are experiencing a surging need of interest as well as employment, especially for the larger areas of computer occupations and engineering. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that nearly 500,000 new jobs in computing will be created through 2024.
Fostering a child’s interest in coding and other STEM fields can certainly lead to a bright, productive future. We have compiled a list of toys and other resources to help you decode some of the better options that go beyond the hype:
This video game-based coding toy allows kids to move tiles around on a device connected to a tablet which then directs the characters on-screen, based on coding sequences. For ages six and up, this programming game helps your kids code with over 40 hours of gameplay.
Recommended for ages three through six, this toy lets young kids learn about sequencing as an introduction to coding. The segments of this electronic bug are what allow it to move based on what order they are placed in. Featuring lights, blinking eyes and sounds, the Code-a-pillar is an excellent toy for learning some coding basics at the youngest levels.
Tynker.com (Free, or added features with a subscription)
This site provides several hours of coding methods and basics for kids through a variety of games. Typically for ages seven and up, this site offers additional curriculum options that you can use to combine coding with other school studies such as math or English. This site also provides methods for kids to build their own games and applications, in addition to creating modifications for the popular game Minecraft. With a paid subscription, your child can have access to the rest of the site features, such as a private Minecraft server and full access to the library of games and tools.
Jewelbots are electronic friendship bracelets that are able to be coded in a variety of ways through Arduino IDE and its potential commands for the device. These bracelets light up with LEDs based on how they were programmed with their specific commands and are able to communicate with other Jewelbot wearers. Ideal for preteen girls, this device is a great way to keep coding trendy (and fashionable).
This site is another game-based resource dedicated to helping kids learn coding. Players help the monkey in the game collect bananas with text and coding skills and eventually are able to learn enough skills through the gameplay to create and build their own games. Code Monkey also has additional resources for classrooms as well as an option for a home school subscription. This site is recommended for elementary ages nine and older.
furReal Makers Proto Max by Hasbro
Want a pet, but without the mess? furReal Makers Proto Max from Hasbro might be the answer. Just assemble and program this electronic pup to play with a variety of animations, lights and sound. This toy also has a downloadable app it can connect to for even more fun. Kids can program Max with all kinds of coding combinations – a perfect pet for any STEM-loving child (though recommended for ages six and up).
For ages six and older, your kid can build their own laptop computer with Kano’s Computer Kit. When they’re finished putting together the hardware, they can subsequently program it with coding, all while learning how a computer works. This coding toy is great for any hands-on kid.
Blockly is a great resource for elementary kids who don’t have a lot of familiarity with coding. The site teaches some basic coding principles for free with its visually-based set-up providing puzzle games for its users. When the story-like puzzle is complete, kids can see the animated result of their puzzle-solving skills.
Interested in learning more about coding resources and products for budding coders? Contact UMSA and let us answer your inquiries today!