Geeky parents unite! If you are looking for the best kids coding toys and the best STEM gifts for kids, I’ve narrowed down my top picks. If there is one thing that drives me crazy around the house, it is toy clutter! Our children seem to accumulate more and more toys with every birthday, special occasion and holiday season. This year, we’ve been really focusing on simplifying our toy collection with a focus on toys that help our kids learn.
Of course, since we love all things Tech, we are always on the lookout for toys that will help to teach the basic concepts of coding and programming. There are plenty of kids coding toys out there, and each one has some unique features to offer. Below, I’ll outline which toys were our favorites, and which age groups are appropriate for each toy.
If you’re not familiar with STEM, it stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. Since we’re a pretty geeky family, we have been looking for the best STEM toys that are not only fun but educational. Toys that spark curiosity, imagination and encourage our kids to think and problem solve.
Check out our picks for the best coding toys for kids and the best stem toys for kids below:
The Best Kids Coding Toys:
Botley may be small, but don’t be fooled. He can teach your kids to code by using active play that doesn’t require a screen! Botley is ready to go right out of the box and doesn’t require a phone or a tablet. Using a remote, your kids will program commands to send Botley on his way!
Check out my full review of the Botley Coding Robot for more details on what this awesome robot toy for kids can do.
The learning resources coding mouse is perfect for the youngest coders. It is aimed at kids age 4-6, making it perfect for the kindergarten crowd. Children will learn to program their mouse to get through a maze by giving the mouse-specific directions in advance. This is teaching the concept of an algorithm to kids as young as four! Even kindergarteners can learn to code with this neat mouse.
If you already have Colby the mouse in your house, you might want to think about the Math Activity Pack to go along with it. This add-on allows your kids to expand their learning to include basic math facts as well. There is an Activity Guide that comes along with it to help kids progress through harder and harder levels of games.Another consideration is the Code and Go Mouse Mania Board Game. This game board takes the basic idea of kids programming Colby the mouse, and turns it into a fun, competitive game! You don’t need Colby to play this game, but the cards you use to play mimic the buttons on Colby the mouse, so this game would be a great follow-up activity! Players move their mice around the board to collect cheese wedges through coding cards put into a sequence. It’s screen-free, battery-free, and encourages critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Wins all around!
Bee-Bot is a wonderful little bot to help introduce kids to coding. This coding toy allows kids to solve problems by pushing the command buttons on top of it, then pushing play and seeing what happens!
The thing I like about this little bot is that it beeps at the end of each command. This helps kids know when it has completed one command and is moving on to the next. With a memory that can store up to 40 commands, this feature is really nice!
There are mats and accessories you can purchase to go along with this bot and increase learning in areas like Math, Social Studies and Reading. The Bee-Bot would be great for home or an early-elementary classroom!
Using this fun coding game, your children will create music with the power of coding! By using coding, they will learn to build original compositions and interact with fun characters. Using coding blocks, they can control where their characters are, and the music. This product is aimed at kids age 5+. My 5-year-old found the product easy and intuitive to use without much direction at all.
Coding Jam does require an Osmo Base to play. You can get one for iPad, Kindle, or iPhone. Know that if you have your device in a case, it will have to come out of it to be able to play Osmo games. If you like Coding Jam, make sure you check out Coding Awbie as well. Coding Awbie, Coding Jam, and Coding Duo are the three coding games from Osmo currently, and you really can’t go wrong with any of them!
Code-a-pillar is the perfect toy to get your kids into coding! By arranging and rearranging segments, you can send this robot caterpillar all around the house! This toy requires a little bit of critical thinking and problem solving for your children while introducing them to the basics of coding. Perfect for the preschool crowd, this toy allows even the littlest toddlers to start thinking about coding.
This coding robot is a hands-on tool to learn computer programming and coding in a fun way. This robot makes programming fun and easy to learn by teaching multiple programming languages, and using drag and drop block-based coding all the way to Python!
The Edison robot is my favorite coding robot on the market. This tiny robot packs a whole lot of punch. With three coding languages to choose from as well as a variety of pre-programmed activities, you can use this robot from as early as age 4 right until high school.
Kids do need another device to program anything beyond bar-code reading. The Edison really can do everything from scanning a barcode to programming in Python. The apps are all online-based, and Edison is programmed through an audio cable. As long as your device has access to an internet browser and a headphone jack, you are all set!
Want to know more? Check out my post on the Edison Robot!
Using Bloxels’ kit, you can build your own video game! The app builder allows you to create games, characters, and more by mixing both physical and digital tools! Your child will learn to use the color blocks to create pixel art and learn a little bit about video game coding in the process.
If you are frustrated with your kids wanting to be playing video games all day, this might be a good compromise! Get your kids doing what they love in a fun and educational way that teaches them skills important for their future.
I’m not sure who is more excited about this toy, me or my kids! We are a Harry Potter obsessed household so this innovative coding wand was definitely top of our Christmas list!
If your kids love Harry Potter, they are going to love this wand! This kit allows you to build a wand that will actually respond to your movements! It comes with everything you need to build your own wand. By learning to code you can make feathers fly, pumpkins grow, and so much more with this amazing kit. Check out our full review.
Another unplugged coding activity that is perfect for preschool age kids. With this kit, kids stack their cubes to make awesome creations. The including challenge cards mimic computer algorithms, teaching youngsters to follow instructions just like a computer does. Kids will have fun building their robots and completing the card challenges in this simple activity.
This Build-Your-Own computer is so cool! You literally put together a computer! Perfect for ages 5+, the process is simple, well-described, and step-by-step. For kids who want to learn more about computers or coding, this would be a wonderful purchase!
The kit you receive has all the main pieces you will need – including a touch screen tablet interface. Your child begins by putting the pieces together to form a working, touch-screen device.
After your child has built the device, it’s time to start programming it! There is some adult interaction needed to get started, but then it’s like a typical video game. Except in this game, the player is actually coding their way through the levels, learning all about the processes of a computer as they go.
The Best STEM Toys:
We’re not JUST about coding in our house. I love any toys that get my kids thinking while having fun. These are our favorite STEM toys. These toys get a lot of use in our house and keep our kids off of screens all day long, especially in our winter months!
In our household, Magformers are a crowd favorite. These magnetic tiles snap together to build a huge variety of shapes and patterns. Magformers have a patented technology which allows the tiles to always attract and never repel. We love to build huge towers, balls, animals, and buildings with our Magformer tiles. These are great for a quiet activity, and they also travel well to a restaurant, or on a plane.
These toys teach imaginative play from early on. Their ease of use makes them perfect for even small builders. My son loved Magformers from age 3 and up.
This set is a favorite of librarians and makerspaces around the country! If you have a little builder on your hands, this is a great way to let them build and keep them safe at the same time! These cardboard-specific tools are built for little hands to use, and work well from ages 5 and up.
The wonderful thing about these tools – besides being safe for kids to use – is that you can take any cardboard laying around and turn it into whatever you want! No more trying to tape or glue cardboard together, these screws, screwdriver, and saw will help your little maker cut, connect, and build whatever their imagination can dream up!
You may not have heard of this toy yet, but it is sweeping through schools across the nation! Augmented Reality (AR) is a big thing right now, and this MERGE Cube helps you accomplish it in a simple, kid-friendly way!
Kids will be blown away by the ability to hold holograms in their hands! This cube does require a device. There are apps available for free and paid, so go with what your child seems to need. The free apps are perfect for elementary ages, the paid apps are more geared towards 6th to 8th-grade kiddos.
We are definitely LEGO fanatics in our house! We have a huge LEGO collection that we have accumulated since MY childhood. LEGO allows kids to be creative and imaginative. It can also teach kids to follow instructions in order to build a specific set or build.
Although we have many LEGO sets, I find the basic sets the best for getting kids to be creative. With a variety of colors and sizes, a starter LEGO set leaves everything to the imagination! Check out our instructions for our DIY LEGO table which is an awesome LEGO storage center and multipurpose coding area for kids.
This Klutz Circuit Clay Science kit makes building electric Circuits easy! This kit includes step-by-step instructions to build each of the 15 projects and a 52-page book. Klutz’s science kit makes learning electricity fun by making clay creations glow.
We have so much fun building with this one. My kids love to see their creations light up and are amazed that the electricity can travel through the clay. This is a great way to introduce the concepts of circuits and electrical current to kids.
This Marble run set is completely see-through and has 19 styles and 85 pieces. These plastic pieces are easy to stick together and include 8 bases (including three large ones) for stability. This set comes with a free app to go along with it that includes 9 guides, challenges, and so much more!
I had a marble run as a child, and still remember how much fun we had with it! Our kids love playing with this toy and they don’t even realize it’s a ‘learning game.’ That’s the best part! This one is an absolute classic and a must-have in any STEM-inspired playroom.
Calling all inventors! This imaginative toy encourages kids to tinker by designing their own motorized invention. Kids are encouraged to think outside the box by building their own invention using a variety of parts included. From doodling robots to toy cars, there is a lot of fun (and learning!) to be had with this Tinkering set.
This kit is better suited for older kids, but with parental supervision, your children can perform seven different crystal science experiments! The best part? Once they are grown, they can admire their creation in the display case that is included.
LEGO Technic fans can now expand their options by using this set! It comes with a supplementary power set with a motor, battery box, and even two bright LED lights to power up their creations. Bring your LEGO technic creations to life and create a variety of motorized vehicles with this add-on set.
Whether you are just starting to introduce your children to coding or STEM, or if you have been wanting to keep them learning outside of a classroom setting, these kids coding toys and STEM toys are perfect for your collection!
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Katie is mom of two rambunctious boys and a self-proclaimed super nerd. With a background in neuroscience, she is passionate about sharing her love of all things STEM with her kids. She loves to find creative ways to teach kids computer science and geek out about coding and math. You can find her blogging at Teach Your Kids Code and in her spare time, documenting her families travels at Tear Free Travel.