Help prevent quarantine brain drain with these 32 amazing coding toys (Photo: Reviewed.com Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent closing of schools, more and more parents are looking for novel ways to keep their kids' education on track. Fortunately, there are a number of online learning resources are available for kids of all ages. One extremely useful skill that kids can learn remotely is computer programming. Coding is becoming essential knowledge because the world runs on computers, and computers themselves run on code. I had the chance to try out 32 toys, games, and kits that are aimed at teaching children how to code, listed here in order of age--if you're looking for kits for older kids, skip to the middle or end of the list. Full reviews for each coding kit can be found in our full Reviewed roundup. The Hasbro Code-a-Pillar is a great way to get kids thinking about programming basics.
Wow, educational toys have changed a lot since I was a kid. I remember inserting floppy disks (!) into a computer in order to play classic games like "Number Munchers" and "The Oregon Trail". I learned very quickly that "Dog" was not a day of the week, and that it was very easy to die of wasting diseases in the western US in the 19th century. As the world becomes more and more digitally inclined, parents and teachers alike want toys that teach kids computer-and technology-related skills, both for their future employability and for being a citizen in a society built on 1's and 0's. One emerging trend is toys that teach kids how to write computer programming code. Coding is becoming essential knowledge because the world runs on computers, and computers themselves run on code. As a person with a degree in a STEM field, I had to learn how to code later in life, and it was a miserably long learning curve (even if it's one of my favorite things to do now).
Toys don't have to just entertain. They can help children learn, too. Columnist Jennifer Jolly shares her favorite smart tech toys. Now that it's officially fall, the chilly days of autumn are creeping in, outdoor playtime is waning, and the push for the hottest holiday toys is starting to really heat up. Before the "I've been such a good kid this year," even starts to go down, here's the scoop on what to look for.
This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a buyer's guide to the best technology. When readers choose to buy The Wirecutter's independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that supports its work. We don't think there's a right or wrong way for kids to play. For this kid-oriented gift guide, we focused on open-ended games, kits, toys, and crafts that promote lifelong skills like critical thinking, problem solving, logic, and even coding. To choose from the hundreds of toys available, we spent more than 30 hours trying 35 recommendations from experts, educators, and parents, including a reporting trip to the Katherine Delmar Burke School's tinkering and technology lab in San Francisco.
Welcome to the seventh edition of IEEE Spectrum's Robot Gift Guide! Our apologies for being a bit late with our list this year (too many projects and trips!), but we hope it'll help you find the best giftable robots for your family, friends, and other special people in your life, including yourself, of course. As in previous years, we tried to include a wide variety of robot types and prices, focusing mostly on products released this year. If you need even more robot gift ideas, take a look at our past guides: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012. Some of those robots are still great choices and are probably way cheaper now than when we first posted about them.