In today’s modern world, some knowledge of computers is basically essential for most jobs.
This isn’t even mentioning the fact that knowing how to work with computers will basically guarantee that you always have a job available to you. Because of this, you might want to get your kids interested in computers and computer coding early on. The best way to get a child interested in anything is by making into a game.
In this article, we are going to show you some of the best coding toys for kids around. If you are in a rush, we recommend buying the Kano Computer Kit.
A Spotlight On Some of The Coding Toys For Kids in 2019
Base Coding Kit
The first of the five coding toys for kids that we are looking at is the Base Coding Kit by Let’s Start Coding. This is a very comprehensive coding kit that features a lot of great tools for getting young children interested in coding.
We should also mention right from the start that Let’s Start Coding has made their coding kit compatible with all major platforms. So, regardless of whether you use a Mac or a Windows PC, your child can use this coding kit.
First off, let’s start off this review by talking about what exactly you get when you buy the Base Coding Kit. In terms of the number of projects that you can complete with this kit, you can expect your child to be able to do roughly ten unique coding projects just with the stuff that comes out of the box.
However, Let’s Start Coding, the company behind the kit, offers free resources on their website that will allow your child to complete upwards of twenty other projects. So, not only will this coding kit keep your child occupied for a while, but it will also ensure that they get a lot of good experience coding.
Likewise, the Base Coding Kit comes with everything that your child needs to do some very cool coding projects and you shouldn’t need to buy anything extra. When you buy the Base Coding Kit, your kid gets access to both a maker board and mini carrier board, as well as a speaker, a USB cable, some LED lights, and 4 buttons.
Just as important as the actual components are the coding instructions. Obviously, if you are buying coding toys for kids, you want them to not only develop an interest in coding, but you also want them to learn the basics of coding properly.
So, getting instructions that are not only correct, but also easy to follow is essential. The Base Coding Kit comes with a handful of colorfully drawn instruction cards. The cards lay out the basics of coding in an easy to follow and intuitive way. While very young kids may need help, older kids should be able to follow along with no problems whatsoever.
Comes with all the components that your kid needs to start coding.
Easy to follow instructions.
Works on all major platforms.
Comes with ten projects out of the box.
Many more free projects offered online.
Some of the components, such as the USB cord and speaker break easily.
Boolean Box – A STEM Educational Computer Kit
Although coding and other computer science-related topics remain heavily dominated by boys, there are attempts to get girls more involved; and one of the ways that people are doing that is through coding toys for kids. The Boolean Box is a good example of this.
This is a really great coding toy kit that happens to be targeted towards girls (however, there isn’t really too much preventing this from being used with boys, especially if the boys don’t care too much about the look of the kit).
The way that the Boolean Box works is very smart. It doesn’t require any sort of internet connection or any connection at all. Everything that your kid needs to program is contained within the box. All you have to do is plug the HDMI cord into a monitor or screen, and your child can start coding.
So, how does the Boolean Box teach kids to code exactly? Well, it starts off by introducing them to a program called Scratch. Scratch is a really great way of introducing kids to the very basics of coding while remaining fun and interactive.
Instead of using written instructions, like some other coding toys for kids, the Boolean Box instead uses a fun program and it really makes a big difference.
Once they learn the basics of coding using Scratch, the world becomes your kid’s oyster. They can build new programs on their own, modify existing programs like Minecraft, and they can even do physical activities like building rudimentary circuit boards.
So, the Boolean Box ends up being an introduction, not only to coding, but to STEM as a whole.
Although marketed at girls, can be used by all kids.
Very in-depth, plenty of activities.
Introduces your kid to both coding and to broader STEM topics.
Doesn’t require an internet connection.
Fun and easy for kids (above the age of 8) to learn.
Kano Computer Kit
Continuing on, the next coding toy that we want to draw your attention to is the Kano Computer Kit. Something to note before we start this review, we are reviewing the more modern “2018” version of the Kano.
There is, however, a “2016” version that is very similar but costs a bit less. If budget is an issue, go for the 2016 version, as most of the things said here about the 2018 version will apply to both.
In terms of pure things to do, it is hard to beat the Kano Computer Kit. It comes jam-packed with tons of things for an enterprising young computer scientist to play around with.
To give you an idea of the sheer amount of mileage that you can get out of the Kano, consider that it comes with well over 100 different challenges for your kid to overcome.
It can also support 100s of different apps. If that wasn’t enough, your kids can also have access to other challenges created by the Kano community, which gives them access to a further 7000 or so challenges to complete.
In terms of sheer bang for your buck, the Kano Computer Kit might be the best of all the coding toys for kids that we have reviewed on this list so far.
In addition to teaching the more technical aspects of the coding, the Kano also allows your child to do fun things like create art, games, modify existing applications (like the popular game Minecraft), and a variety of other fun things.
If you needed more proof of the quality of the Kano, consider that it sued by thousands of schools all over the United States. It has also garnered several awards from various organizations dedicated to reviewing coding related products. Given what we have said so far in this review, it should be easy to see why.
Hundreds of challenges for young coders to overcome.
Plenty of games and apps to keep kids occupied and having fun.
Easy to set up.
Can be used to create art, games, and apps.
Has received recognition from both computer science experts and schools.
Might be a bit complicated for younger kids.
A bit too advanced for stated age range (six and up).
Avengers Hero Inventor Kit
If you are like most parents, then you no doubt have at least one kid who is in love with everything related to superheroes. With the recent release of several very popular superhero movies, including the various Avengers movies, your kid may be begging for toys based on it.
Rather than go for a boring old action figure, why not go for the Avengers Hero Inventory Kit instead? This unique coding kit not only teaches kids how to build cool programs, apps, and toys, but it also scratches that superhero itch by including a very unique superhero aesthetic.
Unlike all the other coding toys for kids on this list so far, the Avengers Hero Inventory Kit is meant to be used exclusively on tablets and/or smartphones. So, if you don’t happen to have a computer that your child can use, this is a good alternative.
It also works well on the go, since your child can easily carry a tablet or a phone to a relative’s house or to school. This allows them to continue playing and learning, wherever they may be.
In terms of what specifically your child can do with this kit, they have a lot of options. They can spend dozens of hours just coding different sounds for the toy gauntlet that comes with the kit. The actual app itself offers a lot more coding opportunities.
And of course, it has to be mentioned that everything that your child needs to start coding comes packaged in the kit.
It is also very easy for kids to grasp. The Avengers Hero Inventor Kit uses a very simple block-based coding activity to introduce kids to the basics of coding.
Likewise, the activity is supplemented with very easy to follow step-by-step instructions that are delivered via voice. These instructions ensure that this kit can be used by very young kids with no issues.
Superhero-themed games and aesthetic should appeal to kids of all ages and tastes.
Very simple to get into thanks to some great instructions.
Plenty of content to keep your child occupied and learning.
Doesn’t require a computer, can be used on smartphones and tablets.
Kit is very big with lots of easy to lose pieces.
Piper Computer Kit
The last of all these coding toys for kids that we want to review is the Piper Computer Kit (2018 Edition). This is a very high-end coding kit that has a lot of great features, but that also balances it out by being the most expensive option on this list. Whether the cost is worth it or not is up to you.
A big part of the reason that this kit is so pricey is that of all the recommendations it has gotten. The Piper Computer Kit has gotten thumbs-up from many different sources, including Stanford and co-founder of Apple Steve Wozniak. When a product has these sorts of recommendations, you know that it is probably good.
While coding is certainly something that the Piper teaches, just calling it a coding kit undersells it a lot. The kit allows your kids to build what is essentially a mini-computer. If your main criteria when shopping for a coding kit is its educational value, then you aren’t going to find a better option than the Piper Computer Kit.
But just because the kit is very educational, doesn’t mean it isn’t also fun. It actually comes with a custom set of challenges based around the popular game Minecraft (which has been featured a lot so far on this list). These challenges will slowly but surely walk your child through the process of building and coding their own computer.
Best educational value on this list.
Allows your kid to build and code their own mini-computer.
Plenty of fun activities for your child to complete.
Customized Minecraft challenge set that also acts as a tutorial for your child.
Probably too complicated for young children.
Coding Toys For Kids Buying Guide
All right, so let’s say you are interested in buying your own coding toys for your kids, what should you look for? In this buying guide, we are going to answer that question.
While we featured some good products on our coding toys for kids review list, we felt that wasn’t enough and it probably generated more questions than it answered.
Why did we pick those particular products?
Why did we pick one coding toy over the others?
These are the sorts of questions that you might be left with if you just read our product reviews. So, to help make the article better and more informative, we are going to explain what you should be looking for when shopping for a coding toy of your own, in the process, we will also reveal exactly why we picked certain coding toys over others.
Make Sure The Toy Works On Your Platform
The first thing to keep in mind when shopping for a coding toy is that not all toys work on every platform. Some coding toys only work on Windows PCs, while others may only work on a Mac. Some other coding toys may not require computers at all but instead will require a tablet or smartphone.
When picking products for our coding toys for kids list, we placed a heavy emphasis on picking products that work on as many platforms as possible.
So, when shopping on your own, make sure that the coding toy that you end up buying works on the platform that you plan on using (PC, tablet, phone, etc.) or you may end up wasting money on a toy that you can’t use.
Remember That These Are Still Toys
Coding kits and toys can be incredibly useful as educational tools, but you should also keep in mind that they are still toys and they are still primarily meant to be fun. When shopping for a coding kit, you should heavily prioritize looking for one that is fun.
Why? Well, a coding kit is only useful if your child actually wants to use it. Given how many different things are competing for your child’s attention these days, and if the coding kit isn’t enjoyable to use, then all its potential educational value will be pointless.
Don’t Put Too Much Stock In Age Recommendations
If you don’t know much about coding, then you are probably going to rely heavily on those age ranges that are printed on the kits to determine if a certain kit is right for your kid or not. While this makes perfect sense, we would recommend not putting too much stock in those age recommendations as they are imperfect, to say the least.
In fact, those age recommendations can end up being pretty harmful because often the minimum age is set way too low, which can lead to you giving a difficult kid to a young child, which will make them frustrated and unwilling to use the coding kit.
The reverse can also happen, where you give your kid a coding kit that is a bit too simple for them and they end up getting bored of it quickly.
Ultimately, the best thing to do is to read reviews on particular kits that you are interested in and base your opinion off what the reviews say.
Reviews, especially ones made by those with experience when it comes to coding, are far more useful when it comes to determining if a kit is right for your kid.
This is the end of our coding toys for kids article, if you liked or disliked it, we want to hear why.
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