STEM coding toys for kids aren't just any ordinary toys: These are tools for shaping the tech wizards of tomorrow. So today, discover the best coding toys that transform screen time into a rewarding learning experience. We'll help you find the perfect starter kit for beginners, and challenge the more advanced young coders with toys that elevate their skills to new heights. Plus, there are even some screen-free coding toys that stimulate hands-on problem-solving skills away from digital devices. Join along as playtime meets the future!
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Discover the Magic of STEM Coding Toys for Kids and Teens
Did you know, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) occupations are projected to grow over two times faster than the total for all occupations in the next decade? Explore the best STEM coding toys, beginner-friendly options, advanced coding challenges, and even screen-free alternatives, from basic circuits to a friendly robot, a drone, and even a catapult. Toys are listed below in chronological age ranges.
Age Range: 3-6, Early Coding and Math Concepts, Interactive Learning
For the youngest coders, the Code 'n Learn Kinderbot from Fisher-Price is an excellent choice. It introduces preschoolers to early coding and math concepts through fun, interactive play. By entering different codes, kids control Kinderbot's movements and actions. It introduces coding, shapes, colors, and numbers. Keep in mind it uses 4 C batteries.
Kindergarteners can also enjoy learning programming with Scratch Junior, in a live online class:
Age Range: 5+, Screen-free, Early Coding Skills
Botley is a friendly little robot designed to teach the basics of coding and logic to kids as young as five. It's screen-free and easy to use. The robot can be programmed to move in different directions, avoid obstacles, and even move objects. Kids can also program Botley for looping commands and if-then logic. Keep in mind it requires 5 AAA batteries.
Age Range: 5-10, Interactive App, Real-World Problem Solving
The Osmo Coding Starter Kit blends digital and physical play to teach kids coding fundamentals. Kids manipulate physical coding blocks to control characters in three different games on an iPad. It's a hands-on, interactive way to learn problem-solving, coding commands, and looping with a step-by-step learning path.
Age Range: 8-12, Hands-On, Engaging
Get ready for some electrifying fun with the SNAP CIRCUITS® JR set! This STEM coding toy kit is designed to make learning about circuits and electrical engineering exciting and accessible. The set includes over 30 color-coded, real circuit components that can be easily snapped together to create working electronic circuits and devices - and doesn't require any additional tools. The simplicity of snapping components together makes it an excellent choice for young learners. What's even more amazing? The SNAP CIRCUITS® JR set comes with an easy-to-follow instruction manual that guides your child through 101 different projects. Projects range from a simple electric light to a siren, photosensitive electronic organ, and more! Now, isn't that a wonderful way to spark a lifelong interest in STEM?
Learn the basics of electronic circuits using Snap Circuits in this fun free live online event led by an expert:
5. Sphero Bolt
Age Range: 8+, Interactive, App-enabled
Age Range: 8+, Interactive, Educational
Cozmo 2.0 Robot is more than just a toy, it's a fun, interactive friend that bridges the gap between playtime and learning. Cozmo teaches the basics of coding and robotics through an approachable, engaging game-like interface. It's a versatile little robot that can express a wide range of emotions, recognize its owner, play games, and even learn new skills as your child develops more complex coding abilities. Cozmo is very user-friendly and comes with a simple setup process.
Age Range: 8+, Advanced Coding Skills, Competitive Play
The Makeblock mBot Robot Kit is a more advanced coding toy suitable for older kids. They can learn graphical programming, Scratch 2.0, Arduino programming, and robotics. The kit includes everything to build a fully functioning robot. A computer, tablet, or smartphone is needed for programming. There's also the option of competitive play through robot battles.
Age Range: 12+, Versatile, Educational, Advanced
The Arduino Uno Starter Kit is a fantastic introduction to the world of coding and electronics. By integrating hands-on building projects with computer programming, this kit provides a robust platform for learning and creativity. Whether your child is programming a simple LED light show or constructing an interactive robot, the Arduino Uno Starter Kit offers a broad spectrum of projects to keep learners engaged. The Arduino uses a simplified version of C++, making it a great stepping stone to more advanced programming. The possibilities of what students can create are nearly endless - from digital thermometers to musical instruments, this kit can bring a variety of creative ideas to life!
Get live expert guidance and create with circuits and Arduino - the foundation of smart devices in this award-winning Smart Devices class:
Age Range: 10+, Interactive, Cutting-Edge
Give flight to your child's imagination and coding skills with the CoDrone Programmable Drone. This coding toy isn't just about playtime; it's about equipping your young ones with real-world programming skills. Powered by an Arduino-based controller, CoDrone is an exciting tool that teaches students how to code using Blockly and Python. It's the perfect stepping stone into the future of technology. The fun and joy of navigating a programmable drone give a unique twist to learning, making it all the more immersive.
Age Range: 8-14, Engaging Robotics Platform, Comprehensive, Challenging
The VEX IQ Education Kit is a high-quality robotics platform that introduces children to STEM fundamentals through engaging, hands-on learning. VEX IQ is based on plastic, snap-together pieces specifically designed to build highly functional robots. This system doesn’t require any prior knowledge in robotics. Students can easily build their first robot, and the wide variety of additional parts means that they can build anything they imagine as they continue to learn. The kit comes with everything needed to create a fully operational robot, including motors, sensors, and over 850 structural pieces. Also every kit includes a hand tool to make assembly and disassembly easy for small hands. This kit can help children learn important skills like problem-solving, teamwork, and creativity, as well as fundamental concepts in robotics and engineering.
Check Out Screen-Free Coding Toys for Kids
If you're looking for ways to introduce coding to your kids without additional screen time, there are many coding toys available that do not require a computer or tablet. One such popular toy is ThinkFun's Robot Turtles. This board game introduces the principles of programming, from coding to functions, and has been praised for its fun, interactive nature. Another is the Learning Resources Coding Critters, which teach simple coding skills through storybook adventures.
Discover the Best Coding Toys for Beginners
Starting the coding journey can be made fun and exciting with coding toys designed for beginners. Some of the most popular include Botley the Coding Robot, Fisher Price Code-a-pillar, and Osmo - Coding Starter Kit. These toys use simple commands and easy-to-understand logic, making them perfect for beginners. The toys focus on fundamental coding concepts like sequencing, looping, and if/else decisions. As these toys are often colorful and interactive, they also help maintain the interest and curiosity of the young coders. Remember, the best toy would be one that matches the child's interest, learning pace, and ability to grasp new concepts. See more of the best coding gifts for kids here.
Level Up with Coding Toys That Support Advanced Programming Languages
As your child's coding skills progress, you may want to consider toys that support more advanced programming languages. The Arduino UNO kit is a notable example, offering hands-on experience with actual coding languages. Another advanced option is Raspberry Pi, a mini-computer where kids can learn Python, Scratch, and even venture into electronics. These toys not only entertain but also provide a practical way to learn and apply the languages used by professionals in the field. Explore more coding gifts for tweens and coding gifts for teens.
Get the Best STEM Coding Toys for Kids and Teens
It's truly fascinating how these playful gadgets can ignite a passion for coding. Looking to delve deeper into the subject? Consider enrolling your child in an award-winning free coding class led live by an expert, or read about the benefits of learning coding to learn more.