Let’s face it, when I was a kid, I didn’t even know what was a computer let alone play with one. These days, kids as young as 7 manipulate computers sometimes even better than adults. Well, if your child is fascinated with computers and technology you’ll find in the market many different apps, games, and toys teaching computer science and coding to kids. A rule of thumb when deciding which one to purchase is to choose games that can be scaled up in complexity as the child grows.
Mike Matthew, Director of Curriculum and program innovation at Katherine Delmar Burke School in San Francisco says that “acquiring coding skills does not have to be linked to computer hardware. Board games are just as effective and fun”.
Mitchel Resnick, MIT Lab Director of Lifelong Kindergarten Group, says that “coding should be taught as a form of expression and a set of rules”. Mr. Resnick participated in the invention of the Scratch Programming Language.
If your kid enjoys computers, here are some of the best coding games and toys for kids.
The child learns how to build actual circuits on a 5×5 grid. Different challenges are provided on a card and the kid has to build a functional circuit to turn a light on. Each challenge has eight right answers, however, the pieces have to be placed in the correct order.
Kano computer kit
The game includes a real kano operating system, a Rasberry PI processor, an HDMI cable, a keyboard, and it can be hooked to a separate television or computer screen. Kano computer kit lets kids build their own computer.
It’s made transparent offering kids a view of the actual functioning of a computer. A book serves as a guide with basic pictures and simple terms. Once hooked together, it provides a web browser, but mostly to use with apps for making games or programming.
Sphero teaches kids coding by using a simple programming language. It’s a spherical battery-powered robot that can be connected to smart devices via Bluetooth. Sphero has two apps one called Lightning Lab and the other Sphero Edu. The programming that they offer can be performed with simple drawings. The robot allows kids to build tracks, mazes, and attempt to program them in Sphero.
Lego Boost Robotics
This game is for kids 7 to 12 years of age. The kid can build five different types of programmable robots. Included in the kit are bricks, sensors, and a central processing unit. The projects can be complex but are not very demanding. The boost components are compatible with Lego sets, hence, after building a robot, the kid can customize it. Apps are included for programming the robots from a laptop or other such devices.
A robot named Coji can be programmed by using emojis. The emojis gives the robot various actions. For example, performing certain directional actions will have the robot go in a certain direction. The app has games that demonstrate how to give the robot specific instructions.