You’ve probably heard about the importance of coding, especially when it comes to preparing your kids for their future careers. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills are becoming increasingly important in all areas of life.
But it can be intimidating. Where exactly do you start? At what age do your kids start learning to code? Do they need a preliminary examination?
Luckily, you can find great toys for all kids and make learning fun.
1. Barbie Robotics Doll
Suggested age range: 5-12 years old.
The key to getting kids into programming is inspiring them to see its potential and normalize that attitude. This is where the Barbie Robotics doll comes in.
This brand has been a staple in the toy industry for over half a century and has survived through adaptation. His latest development is a partnership with Tynker, a gaming platform that replaces source code with colorful building blocks.
The dolls come with six free lessons to unlock on the Tynker website. These games are designed around an impressive assortment of careers: robotics engineer, astronaut, beekeeper, farmer, musician and pastry chef.
They aren’t particularly intense either. The course takes 45 minutes to an hour, so your kids shouldn’t get bored.
And you can leave them to it, because the program guides users through potentially complex concepts like sequencing, problem solving, and debugging without the need for help. However, Tynker offers instructions for parents and caregivers if they really want to help.
2. Lego Boost Robotics tool kit
Suggested age range: 7-12 years old.
The popularity of Lego knows no bounds, so it’s the perfect way to get your kids interested in coding. Yes, it does feel a little pricey, but no more than a full-sized Millennium Falcon, the Hulkbuster armor from Avengers: Age of Ultron, or any of the Technique sets.
Plus the Lego Boost Robotics Toolbox is educational, so you can justify the $160 price without sweating too much.
You can build five models: the robot is glued on the box; cat; guitar; multipurpose rover; and arguably the coolest of them all, an automaker i.e. a miniature Lego brick production line. Each of them takes a couple of hours (alas, using the same bricks, so you can only use one robot at a time).
Ideal if you want to spend time with your kids. But they can also learn on their own using the tutorials available through the free Boost app. You will need a tablet running iOS 10.3 / Android 5.0 or later; Smartphone screens are simply too small.