Recent years have seen an increase in the accessibility of materials aimed at teaching children to code, such as online courses and programmes in schools. Children of all ages are now understanding the building blocks of computing – and now toy-makers are joining the hype.
Here are a few of the toys that will help your children learn the concept of code, even before they’re of school age.
1 – Sphero SPRK+
Sphero are best known creating the remote-controlled BB-8 from Star Wars, but they also make a brilliant range of educational toys. One such example is the Sphero SPRK+. Using the connected app and an innovative block-based coding system, things the toy can do includes navigating through a maze, swimming across water (it’s waterproof), or even mimicking the solar system.
2 – LEGO Mindstorms EV3
Lego just got even cooler. The building blocks producer have added programming and robots into the mix with the Mindstorms EV3. Like all Lego creations, the robot-toy can be built out of Lego bricks by the creator, but unlike traditional Lego, it allows for programming. The EV3 programmable brick that comes with Mindstorms means the creator can connect different ‘blocks’ of commands together and feed these to the robot.
3 – Lightbot
Lightbot is an app that teaches the user how to solve problems using programming. The app has a very gentle learning curve – so it’s great for beginners, or younger children; those with no coding knowledge will learn that putting certain commands together will help the ‘Lightbot’ progress through the levels of the game. The app comes in two formats: Junior Coding Puzzles, aimed at children aged 4-8 and Programming Puzzles for kids aged 9 and over.
4 – Project Bloks
Project Bloks is not yet available to buy but it’s a pretty big deal, considering it’s being backed by Google. The idea of Project Bloks is to make the teaching of coding both tangible and open source.The toy works by allowing developers to create puzzles and tasks that use electronic boards and programmable pucks, which children then connect together and do with them what they will. The project is still in the research phase, but those interested can register for updates from Google regarding its development.
5 – Think and Learn Code-A-Pillar
Fisher Price have created a toy that aims to help the very-young to learn to code. The Code-A-Pillar caterpillar toy is aimed at 3 to 6 year olds, and works but reacting differently when it’s segments are rearranged.
So if you fancy turning your little one into the next Steve Jobs, buying them one of these might be a good place to start!