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Best Coding and STEM Toys 2020

What are the best toys to teach children and young adults coding, programming, and other STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) skills in a fun way that will actively teach them the new technology skills they will need for the jobs of tomorrow?

We look at the best toys or games that help children understand the basics of coding, and expand their STEM knowledge through play. Robots are popular, and many of the toys don’t require screens, which is probably not what parents would expect for this subject.

There are toys, games, electronics kits and robots for all ages. Keep reading to see some of the best on offer.

Coding and programming are now part of the national curriculum, in order to solve the “skills gap” between the number of technology jobs and the people qualified to fill them. ICT (Information and Communications Technology) has in the past been dominated by dull tutoring of how to use a word processor or PowerPoint, and has been replaced by a new “computing” curriculum including coding lessons for children as young as five.

This will appear most scary not to Little Johnny or Jane (with their open minds, inquisitive natures, and love of anything with a keyboard and screen) but to parents who have coding skills equivalent to those of their grandparents – i.e. none.

Coding is really just a sequence of events. When placed in the right order, the correct action happens. When the order is wrong, usually nothing occurs.

For the purposes of this feature, we are describing some products as “toys” or “games” when they are or can be actually a whole lot more. We’ve described them this way because we’re looking at products that kids will want to play and interact with.

And, for those kids who might be a little less analytical, there’s now STEAM, which adds the Arts to STEM for more artistic creativity.

Not all are computer-based or even require batteries. 

If they think that the Educational Thing is a toy they are more likely to play with it, rather than just do it. Learning through play is one of the best ways of picking up new skills, and overcoming what can at first appear rather daunting educational challenges. If you’re looking for something less kid-focused though, take a look at our broader guide to learning to code.

For even more STEM toys check out the range at John Lewis.

Sphero Bolt – A Programmable Robot Ball

Osmo Coding – Use Physical Blocks With Your iPad To Learn Coding

Osmo Coding games

Botley The Coding Robot 2.0 – A Great First Proper Coding Toy

Botley 2.0 The Coding Robot

DJI RoboMaster S1 – A Coding Toy From The Well Known Drone Brand

DJI Robomaster S1

Agent Asha Gift Pack – screenless coding fun

Agent Asha Gift Pack

Mochi – Great For 3-6-year-olds

Mochi Robot

Botzees – A Kit With Augmented Reality Puzzles

Botzees

SAM Labs Inventor Kit – Learn Logic As Well As Coding

SAM Labs Science Museum Inventor Kit

Kano Computer Kit – A Raspberry Pi-based coding computer

Kano Computer Kit

Artie 3000 – Combine Art With Coding

Artie 3000

Elegoo Smart Robot Car Kit – Best For 13+

Elegoo Smart Robot Cat Kit 3.0

Lego Build, Code and Play Toy – Lego-based Coding For Older Kids

Lego Boost Creative Toolbox Robotics Kit

Kano Star Wars The Force Coding Kit – Get Star Wars Fans Into Coding

Kano Star Wars The Force Coding Kit

Kano Disney Frozen 2 Coding Kit – Get Frozen Fans Into Coding

Kano Disney Frozen 2 Coding Kit

littleBits Droid Inventor Kit – Another Great Kit for Star Wars Fans

littleBits Droid Inventor Kit

Harry Potter Wand – Get Harry Potter Fans Into Coding

Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit

Piper Computer Kit

Piper Computer Kit 2

Dash – The Cutest Coding Toy

Wonder Workshop Dash

Cubetto – Best For Pre-Schoolers

Cubetto

Bitsbox – A Coding Subscription Box

Bitsbox

Robot Mouse Activity Set – A Simple Introduction To Coding

STEM – Robot Mouse Activity Set

ThinkFun Robot Turtles – A Coding Board Game

ThinkFun Robot Turtles Board Game

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