As technology becomes more advanced, there has been a big focus on preparing our children for the needs in science, technology, engineering, and math space. Over the past few years the toy market has been flooded with STEM related toys. There aren't your parent's LEGOs that's for sure. Here are the best coding toys for toddlers that will help you prepare your children for STEM in the future.
Primo Cubetto Children's Programmable Robot Playset
What is Cubetto? Cubetto is a cute little wooden cube with a smiley face. The concept of coding can be difficult, but Cubetto breaks this down to elementary shapes and colors. Your child will work on the building blocks of coding before they can even read.
This is a great option when choosing a coding toy because it does not require any screens. If you’re sensitive to screen time with your little ones this is a great option. It’s also Montessori approved!
The control panel is a square wooden board with notches. These will help you create a sequence of movements for Cubetto. The set includes a map which Cubetto will move across as it executes the programmed sequence. The map is cloth and features gender neutral colors and imagery.
The control board has the option to program a sequence but also allows you to execute a specific function. This is a bit more advanced logic. A function is executed using a specific blue tab. This then executes a separate sequence. These are typically used for common sequences.
In total this uses 6 AA batteries - 3 in Cubetto and 3 in the control board.
RECOMMENDED AGE: 3+
Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar Toy
Fisher-Price has entered the STEM space with a cute and educational toy. The Code-a-Pillar is a caterpillar and its body consists of connecting segments. Each connecting segments makes the caterpillar perform a different movement. The string of all segments creates a unique sequence that the Code-a-Pillar will perform.
The sequence of how the segments are put together makes the caterpillar move in a specific way. Kids can change the order of the segments around to make the caterpillar do different things. There are also expansion packs that give you additional segment pieces that allow for even more customized sequences. The maximum number of segments that you can add is 15.
The toy comes with some “start” and “end” discs which allow you to map out your desired path for the Code-a-Pillar. You kids will need to use trial and error to figure out the best sequence to acheive their goals.
Kids will like this toy because of the basic concepts and functionality of the toy. It won’t be long until they can grasp how to use it. It’s also very cute which is a plus.
Keep in mind that this toy does make sound and there is NO volume adjustment. So if it’s a hit in your household, you may get sick of the loud sounds it makes.
RECOMMENDED AGE: 3-6 years
Learning Resources Code & Go Robot Mouse Activity Set
The Code & Go Mouse is another great introduction to STEM and programming. This set comes with a maze board that you can construct yourself. You can create a maze for the mouse to go through using walls and arches. The purpose is to help your mouse get to the cheese.
The mouse has a directional pad on the top of it. You hit a “record” button and records a sequence of directions. When you hit the green “go” button it will execute the recorded sequence.
Kids will enjoy completing the different challenge cards included. The card have different setups for the maze and tells the child where to place the cheese. It is then up to them to record the sequence to get the mouse to the cheese.
If you’re conscious about screen time, this is a great option since all the “programming” is done by pressing buttons on the mouse directly. On the con side, this can be frustrating because if you make a mistake, you have to start over. And sometimes you don’t know if you made a mistake until you execute the sequence.
All in all, this is a fun, budget friendly option for those trying to get their kids interested in coding.
RECOMMENDED AGE: 5+
Wonder Workshop Dash & Dot Robot Wonder Pack
The possibilities are endless with this duo. Wonder Workshop’s Dash and Dot Robots work together to create fun and engaging coding activities.
These little robots sync with a few different apps. Through the apps you can make them move through either a virtual joystick or you can program specific movements for them to execute.You can use apps on iOS, Android, or Kindle Fire.
There are a few different apps that you can use to operate these.
- GO - this is a simple app that allows you to control either Dash or Dot. Customize the colors, have them emit sounds, etc.
- WONDER - Program specific behaviors for Dash and Dot.
- BLOCKY - Use drag and drop visual programming to make the robots move.
There are endless sequence options with the apps available for Dash and Dot. What I particularly like is the interaction between the two robots. Using them together allows your child to create more complex logical sequences.
RECOMMENDED AGE: 6 - 12
featured image from flickr