With the world becoming more digitized, not a day goes by without the reminder that coding continues to be one of the most in-demand skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and across several other industries.
While it might be hard for an older generation to get accustomed to all the new changes, children as young as five are now engaging in coding lessons as part of their curriculum. Better yet, there are now toys and games that develop coding skills for kids.
So if you are one of those parents who fret about your children getting the relevant skills from a young age, we’ve sifted through toy store offerings, toy reviews, and expert advice to put together a list of the best STEM toys to teach your kids to code in 2022.
Lego Boost Creative Toolbox 17101
- Who doesn't love robots? Introduce kids to the creative world of coding with the best educational STEM toys to foster their curiosities. Building, learning, and programming robots has never been more fun!
- Includes 847 LEGO pieces that kids can build and rebuild into 5 cool multifunctional models. The best and most popular robotics toys for 7-12 year old boys and girls who love to tinker and learn about science. Use the latest tech like color, distance and tilt sensors.
- Construct and code Vernie the Robot to dance, rock out on the Guitar4000, foster Frankie the Cat, interact with the Autobuilder, or explore a new discovery with the M.T.R.4 (Multi-Tooled Rover 4). The IQ-boosting activities are endless!
Lego Boost Creative Toolbox is a STEM toy that allows children to build five multi-functional robots and then program them from an iPad or Andriod tablet using the corresponding Lego app.
Once programming is complete, your children can control the robots to do almost anything, from moving their arms to turning robots heads or even moving their treads. The Creative Toolbox comes with 847 building blocks and other components, and although it forms part of Lego’s more complex ranges, children as young as seven may assemble the robots.
Furthermore, the Lego Boost building kit is compatible with all Lego construction sets meaning children are at liberty for choice when it comes to exploring their creative ability. While this programmable robot is somewhat on the pricey side, retailing for about $150 at Target, the amount of analytical and critical thinking that this toy encourages in children and its impact on development is well worth the investment.
Scout Ai coding robot
- Smart RC Car With Camera - This App-controlled RC Car with 720p HD camera and two rechargeable batteries can be smart and autonomous. The AI mobile app is installed on your phone and will be updated regularly with new features.
- Coding Robot - The AI coding interface enables kids to learn about concepts of artificial intelligence, robotics, and programming. Scout AI is a great educational robot and a STEM toy that not only teaches kids how to program a robot, but also how artificial intelligence works.
- Battle Robot - Players divide in two teams and everyone drives around their robot and aims at opponents. The AI technology enables the robot to detect where the opponent is, and counts the points.
Does exchanging frivolous time spent on streaming platforms while idle on the couch with an app-controlled self-driving car that adds passive activity and critical thinking to screen time sound like a catch? Then we have just the solution for you. Scout Ai coding robot, an app-controlled car, comes with an Ai coding interface that allows children to learn about concepts such as artificial intelligence programming and robotics while having fun.
The best part might be that it comes with dual functionality. The self-driving car can also act as a battle robot keeping your children entertained for longer. Players can divide into two teams, with everyone driving around their robot and aiming at opponents. Thanks to the Ai technology, finding opponents and keeping track of points is so much easier.
If this seems like the perfect gift for a child, at a reasonable price tag of $99, it is certainly worth adding to your shopping cart.
Ooze Labs Chemistry Station Science Experiment Kit
- Play the role of chemist with this huge, colorful, functional lab station!
- Create glowing slime, fizzing reactions, Oozing Bubbles, colorful chromatography, and more!
- With 57 pieces, This kit has everything you need to conduct experiments like a real scientist, including beakers, test tubes, flasks, pipettes, and more.
If you want to encourage an interest in science, then equipped with science learning resources, the Ooze Labs Chemistry Science kit might be the toy to grab your child’s attention. The overwhelmingly sizey kit comes with 57 pieces that make up a fully functional science lab, including flasks, test tubes, beakers pipettes, and more.
Ooze Labs Chemistry Station may be the simplest toy on this list, but the fact that it comes with printed instructions for some of the most bizarre experiments like making slime is one of the best ways to teach your child about science experiments at a young age. And if, like most parents, you might be concerned about safety (yes, we thought about all of that), it comes with nonhazardous chemicals that do not contain borax.
- Build a real computer by yourself. Invent electronic gadgets and learn coding using Scratch to create stories, games, and animations. Based on Raspberry Pi 4, the latest version of the Raspberry Pi computer, this kit also includes Python programming projects.
- Build the computer case with included name-brand-compatible building bricks. Connect the keyboard, mouse, and memory to bring your computer to life. Expand with bricks of your own. Learn engineering concepts by building circuits and models. The Boolean Box accommodates skills growth and includes increasingly sophisticated projects. Whether new to technology, very experienced, or somewhere in between, there is a path that fits.
- Girls, boys, everyone. We collaborated with 1000s of kids in camps and school programs to develop the Boolean Box to teach computers, coding, and electronics. Kids learn STEM/STEAM concepts through experimentation, discovery and play.
In addition to being a well-thought-out self-contained computer engineering kit, Boolean Box has a fascinating backstory. Girls in coding camps and school programs created the Boolean Box to teach boys and girls aged eight and above coding and engineering concepts.
The Raspberry Pi-powered machine runs Raspbian OS and comes preloaded with STEM-friendly software and coding resources, including Scratch, Python, and Minecraft. Little coders can get to grips with block-based and more sophisticated programming languages once the computer has been put together.
If that already impressed you, there is more. The Boolean Box also comes with a breadboard for building electronic projects. Once your kid has had fun putting together these mean machines, all you need to do is connect it to an HDMI-capable tv, to act as a monitor for the computer, and you are good to go.
KIBO Robot Kit
- SCREEN-FREE CODING – Finally there is a screen-free robotic toy for young kids! Time to get off those devices and play!
- GET CREATIVE WITH STEAM ROBOTICS – Kids decorate, build, and code their robot and bring their creation to life. Perform a puppet show, have a KIBO dance party, have a KIBO car race! Imagine the possibilities!
- SAFE, TESTED, ROBUST AND APPROVED – KIBO will last for years and years. This is not a “play-it-once” toy! And now in over 60 countries, it has been tested and approved by thousands of children and their caregivers.
Unlike many of its competitors on this list, KIBO Robot Kit takes the traditional approach of having your children engage more in stem-centric learning activities like sight, sound, distance, and light without using an app.
KIBO Robot Kit also encourages imagination coming with tons of customizable pieces that can be built into whatever your child imagines, for example, an animal, a car, or a character from your child’s favorite animation or book.
With all the possibilities pumped into this interactive robot, we wouldn’t be shocked if your child is quite absorbed into the enjoyability of this game. And while too much absorbability is usually a bad thing, when it involves the development of coding concepts and the interaction with screenless design elements, it is all full speed ahead for us.
Animal Island AILA Sit & Play Virtual Early Preschool Learning System
- DAILY LEARNING ADVENTURES: All-in-one Preschool Learning System on an intelligent monitor with safe, pre-curated content just for babies when they can sit up. Animal Island Learning Adventure (AILA) Original Series for toddlers (12-36 months) - high-quality educational content developed by educators and innovators for early learning when it matters the most. It’s hands-free, worry-free, ad-free and subscription-free with free updates.
- EDUCATIONAL TOOL: With unique hardware, AI software and exclusive content, an educational tool for parents to train their toddlers attention span early on and to support cognitive development, early literacy, numeracy education, social skills, and emotional growth during a toddler’s critical first years of learning
- CURATED CONTENT: Curated, engaging and fun content blended automatically for a toddler to sing along, dance, and learn ABC’s, 123’s, colors, shapes, words, stories and music together with their animal friends in the virtual preschool on the Animal Island so that parents have the peace of mind. AILA keeps track of the curriculum milestones and delivers the right content at the right time. There are three play modes: broadcast for exposure, session for learning and lullaby for sleepy babies.
Animal Island Learning Adventure (AILA) Sit & Play Virtual Early Preschool Learning System encourages critical thinking with its straightforward educational slant.
The hands-free system games created by professional educators aim to teach a robust preschool curriculum in a toddler-friendly and vibrant format.
The AILA Sit & Play isn’t exactly a coding toy. Still, its unique combination of hardware, software, cognitive AI, and interactive learning will help children pick up the critical thinking skills required to navigate tougher coding challenges.
littleBits At Home Learning Starter Kit
- The littleBits At-Home Learning Starter Kit helps learners develop critical STEM skills through lessons that apply fundamental concepts such as circuitry, engineering, physics, art, and design thinking. Download the littleBits At-Home Learning Guide under product guides and documents.
- This electronics kit includes a carefully curated sample of 5 Bits, stickers,12 accessories, paper templates, getting started guides, and educational lessons aligned with Common Core and NGSS standards. Use them with customized educational support material on littleBits Classroom to discover the “aha” littleBits moment that everyone raves about.
- Screenless learning experience; no device or coding experience required
The littleBits At Home Learning Starter Kit combines interactive learning with a lot of fun with its introductory circuit kits that give children an early hold on their basic electronics knowledge. The home starter kit comes fully loaded with color-coded electronic building blocks that snap together with magnets.
While the product may seem dauntingly complex to assemble at first glance, the home starter kit comes with introductory paper guides that provide step-by-step instructions on building a guitar, designing a night light, creating an electronic pet, and so much more.
Also, once your kids get a grip on how to assemble their invention, they can engage in further learning by being creative with the physical design of their invention. The possibilities are limitless with littleBits.
Nothing gets children more excited than a game that comes with multiple 3D blocks, giving your children endless hours of twitching up their fingers, creating something rather spectacular.
- Product Type :Av Furniture
- Package Dimensions :13.39" L X6.69" W X2.36" H
- Package Weight :1.7Lbs
Being by far one of the toys on this list that will keep kids busy, the Sony Koov is equipped with blocks that resemble Tetris pieces, sensors, and actuators.
Similar to Lego’s Mindstorm kits, this set empowers your kid to build just about any robotic contraption.
The Sony Koov is more flexible than other STEM-related building sets, considering its central processor and battery are separate blocks.
The set also gives your children an option to interact with an app loaded with information that will get budding robotics started, and it is also a way for your children to share their designs online. And for a parent concerned about having their children’s data sharing, Sony agreed not to store information of children 13 and younger- a sigh of relief for many, we suppose.
Considering it is a full kit designed to encourage creative thinking, this toy gets several nods as the perfect birthday or Christmas gift for kids.
- LITTLE ROBOT, LOTTA FUN: Sphero Mini packs a ton of fun into a tiny programmable robot the size of a ping pong ball. Equipped with a gyroscope, accelerometer, and colorful LED lights, this educational robot is more than a mini robot toy. Sphero Mini is the perfect entry into robotics for beginners!
- DRIVE MODE: Beginner learners can drive and play STEM-inspired games with the free Sphero Play App. Drag and drive with Joystick mode, pull back and release with Slingshot mode or tip and rotate your mobile device with Tilt mode. Included with Sphero Mini are 3 traffic cones and 6 bowling pins to inspire obstacle course fun right out of the box.
Sphero launched its STEM-friendly educational robots in 2010, allowing children to learn, create, invent, and explore the world around them. Since then, one of its most popular releases is the Sphero Mini is an app-enabled robot ball (about the size of a ping-pong ball) that comes in 11 different colors.
Sphero Mini features a gyroscope, an accelerometer, and colorful LED lights, which a smartphone can control in Joystick, Slingshot, or Tilt mode.
In addition, the app enables tinkerers to use the robot as a controller for arcade-style games. It also features a Blocks Drive mode, which allows your child to learn the basics of drag-and-drop coding.
The Bottom line
With many toys out there that help teach your children STEM skills at an early age, you could get your children to finally ditch tv or their smartphones and instead have fun with their toys while learning skills that will be vital for their future.
With the great options of toys in this article, if your kids show interest, there’s no reason why they won’t be little budding robotics or computer whizzes in a short period.