We live in a digital age and whether your child grows up to be an actual programmer or pursues another path, the structure and logic of programming builds connections and critical thinking skills that will help supercharge their developing brains.
So how can kids of all ages get started with programming today? There’s no need to be stuck studying long and dull books on the subject. It’s all far more hands-on now with plenty of educational toys and tools out there to ensure your child understands the basics at the youngest age possible. Through laying the groundwork with these toys early on, your child is likely to master conventional coding more easily, giving them an advantage in later life. Oh, and of course it’s pretty fun too.
We take a look at some of the best educational toys and tools out there for making 2018 the year your child dives into programming and primes their brain for advanced learning.
1. Cubetto ($225)
Cubetto touts itself as your child’s first coding kit because, well, that’s exactly what it is. It’s a wooden robot toy that’s far smarter than it looks. Through a series of colored coding blocks, kids can place them down on a wooden board to tell Cubetto where to go. It’s tactile and sturdy, ensuring it’s perfect for kids from age 3 and up, while enabling them to learn about the basic principles of programming a device to do something. It’s screen free, too, perfect for fostering focus and minimizing screen time (if that’s a goal in your house).
You can buy additional world maps and educational story books to keep the fun moving forward. Specific adventure packs such as a Polar Expedition map or an Ancient Egypt “world” offer up even more imaginative play. All while your child is learning logical skills without even realizing it.
2. Dash Robot ($125)
Dash is the kind of robot that you might have dreamed of having as a child—and thanks to advances in tech, now your kid can have the toy you dreamed of. He responds to voice, negotiates his way around objects within your house, and acts just how you always wanted a “pet” robot to act. He’ll even dance and sing in his own adorably unique way. While he can be fairly independent in his own right, a series of apps enhance his potential while teaching your child all about robotics and coding.
Through a smartphone or Kindle Fire, your child can create detailed behavioral patterns for Dash, as well as complete various projects and puzzles. Through using him and his connected apps, they’ll learn about the importance of variables, events, conditionals, and how to draw a route around your home. It’s surprisingly powerful stuff but simplistically done so kids from 6 and up will be able to figure out. All while they feel like they have their very own robotic pet.
You can also purchase multiple accessories for Dash, turning him into a projectile firing machine, a xylophone, or even some weird bunny-eared rabbit…
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