Best Gifts for Teaching Kids Programming

In the modern world, we all cannot imagine our lives without computing devices, and children are no exception. They text, play, read, listen and watch videos. Most children, often without knowing it themselves, are open to more active hands-on experiences with digital technologies.

If parents want to develop the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) areas of their child’s brain, a variety of toys and kits can help. They will provide real-world skills in electronics, robotics and programming.

Lots of coding projects: Code Lab Let’s Start Coding

This small but rich kit is suitable for a child with some programming experience. The kit includes LEDs, PCB, sensors and other components. It also offers online lessons, coding software, and over 100 projects to complete. If you like it, the company has plenty of other kits on its website and in the Amazon store.

For lovers of skillful robots: Educational Insights Artie Max

If a child has artistic inclinations in addition to STEM development, the Artie Max kit may come in handy. One of the five available languages ​​(Blockley, Snap, JavaScript, Python and C++) can be used to program the bot. You can then run a simulated encoded image on a Wi-Fi connected device, customize it, and let the bot “draw” the physical version. The complexity of programming is gradually growing.

Creating and Coding Your Own Creatures: Microduino Itty Bitty Buggy

Compatible with Lego blocks and other sets from this manufacturer, this building kit comes with a basic buggy car to build and over 50 multi-purpose buildable mobile devices. With this set, kids can build four projects: Sloth, Ladybug, Dodo and Alien.

You can then program the behavior of your creations via drag and drop (based on Scratch 3), the more sophisticated Python programming language, or even the higher-level text-based Arduino IDE (C++). For those who want more, the $19.99 Microduino Creative Expansion Kit offers components from three more projects, or you can develop your own. Intended for children from 8 years old.

For Beginner Coders: Lego Boost Creative Toolbox

If kids are too small for complex sets like Lego Mindstorms, there is an alternative in the form of Boost Creative Toolbox. It is designed to introduce you to the basics of programming and robotics. The Boost kit contains building blocks with sensors, motors, and application-based coding. This allows the development of robotic toys that respond to stimuli. It’s a simple and fun approach that teaches the fundamentals of programming. Intended for children 7-12 years old.

For Kids of All Levels: Elenco Snap Circuits Discover Coding

This kit from the popular kit manufacturer Elenco provides a fun way to get started with programming. Once you’ve learned the basics, you’ll be able to control the lights, sounds, and motors of Snap Circuits projects from your smartphone or tablet. Beginners can start with graphics coding. After the initial preparation, you can move on to block-based programming. Includes over 30 Snap Circuits parts. These are colorful and durable electronic components that need to be connected to each other. Intended for ages 8 and up.

Projects and puzzles for beginners: Osmo Coding Starter Kit

This fun kit contains several components to teach programming to kids of all levels. Coding Awbie opens up the basics of using physical “code” blocks. Coding Jam is intended for intermediate learners and gives the opportunity to create musical “jams”. Coding Duo takes you through advanced concepts by making you solve coding puzzles. An iPad or Amazon Fire tablet is required.


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