STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and coding toys make playtime ultra educational for kids. STEM is now a major part of most school curriculums, and plenty of parents are eager to give their little ones a head start when it comes to cultivating a love of learning within these fields. After all, the earlier you can grasp these increasingly important skills, the better.
The U.S. Department of Education is a big proponent of teaching kids STEM skills because through them children learn problem-solving, processing complex concepts and information, and the ability to gather and evaluate evidence in an ever-changing world. Starting as early as age three, kids use their observation skills and base their understanding of trial and error and cause and effect, which serve as building blocks for logical reasoning.
While all kinds of toys and plain old imaginative play can help your kid learn and problem solve, coding toys for kids are always a great option. Coming in the form of robots, gadgets, and games, these gizmos teach as much as they entertain. And many coding and STEM toys are so much fun that kids don’t even realize they’re learning.
The 10 Best Coding Toys for Kids
Little guys and gals twist this toy's dials and thus decide where he goes.As entertaining as it is educational, kids have a blast deciding which way to send the toy and love its colorful lights as well as its music. It’s durable and gives kids a fine motor skills workout. The combinations are pretty much endless. Recommended for children 3 years of age and older.
This gorgeous Lego set teaches creative problem-solving skills, thanks to its 40 interactive missions and buildable props.Yes, this thing is pricey. But seriously, you almost cannot put a price on the level of ingenuity you get with this Lego set. Kids build Lego droids, and the set includes a color and distance sensor, a Bluetooth move hub, and 1700 pieces. That's enough to build R2-D2, Gonk Droid, and Mouse Droid models and embark on coding missions through the app.
Great for kids four and up, this coding toy is ready to roll right out of the box. Beginner coders can teach this toy robot 12 tricks, and as a result, watch him perform 75 actions. He can do wheelies and goofy walks. He has three learning modes, and gets better with practice. He makes over 70 sounds, can follow 14 different hand gestures, has three motor speeds, and LED eyes that change color. Plus, he interacts with other Novies.
Your toddler may think he or she is just playing around. But surprise! This Rocktopus has three modes to keep his or her brain engaged. In math mode, preschoolers practice their adding, subtracting, and patterning skills. In music mode, Rocktopus helps rockers compose their own songs. And in game mode, Rocktopus leads kids through five levels of musical gameplay. And they're having a blast the entire time. Kids three and up can play and simultaneously learn to detect patterns, and figure out addition and subtraction.
Matatalab’s coding set features completely screen-free coding. The educational coding games are created to develop kids’ knowledge of fundamental concepts of programming logic like sequencing, parameters, loops and functions, and also teach the basics of music notes and art. Plus, it's virtually indestructible and works with multiple users. This Montessori-approved coding toy is geared toward children 4 years and up.
This toys helps kids learn model-building and coding lessons with the assistance of Sammy, a peanut-butter-and-jelly-shaped robot. This toy is designed for children ages 4 to 8. You don't need a tablet, smartphone, or computer to program this robot. Instead, programs are created by simply laying down a sequence of physical code cards. Kids are rewarded for their efforts by getting a “hi” from the robot or watching his lights blinks.
Created for kids three and up, EL10T is a coding robot designed especially for young kids with its simple to use design. Kids insert coding blocks into the control panel base and upload them into his helmet and he goes to work.The set includes 16 mission cards, 20 coding blocks, cardboard obstacles, stickers, the coding panel and, of course, the robot itself. This coding robot helps build problem-solving, sequencing, and critical thinking skills.
Introduce kids to coding with this easily programmable mouse, which lights up and makes sounds that are much more enjoyable than those made by a real rodent. The possibilities for play are endless as it can be programmed up to 40 steps. Children can create a maze with blocks or other toys and program this colorful guy to make it to the end.Parents love the price and kids have fun building, estimating, measuring, and learning. It’s a great first coding toy that gets children excited and keeps them occupied.
If you want to cut back on screen time, you need and want Botley. Kids can code him without using any kind of app or device, and he's ready to go out of the box. Kids ages five up learn the core concepts of coding, without hounding you for your phone. They have a hands-on remote control to get Botley to complete tasks and perform tricks.
Kids can create gravity-defying structures using magnetic building blocks on the Plugo Gamepad to solve the challenges. Plugo comes with 4 STEM games and 250+ levels for each kit. These games are age-adaptive, meaning they are perfect for a wide range of ages and stages of development. It’s a great tool for kids to practice problem-solving, creativity, and critical thinking while having fun. Eight games ensure hours of unlimited learning and engagement. It’ designed with ages 5 and older in mind.
Every product on Fatherly is independently selected by our editors, writers, and experts. If you click a link on our site and buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission.