Children as young as 18 months can understand a process so it is never too early to introduce your children to coding! We used to play a great ‘game’ with our Reception children which involved one child being a machine whilst another gave them instructions to move balls of different colours into pots. After a bit of trial and improvement, we would have a functioning process… If a red ball is picked up then turn around and put it in the red pot. This is the beginning of coding language.
Coding toys are not just for those good at maths or science. Any child can be a programmer and there are all manner of toys and kits which introduce the topic gently, building up skills and understanding until a child thinks nothing of quickly programming a game for their sibling to play!
Children are amazing at learning new languages and coding is the language of the future. Coding toys allow them to develop and use skills which will benefit them in all areas of their lives whilst also giving them an extra foot-up in the technological age in which we live.
I love this coding mouse! It appears so simple however the amount of learning that comes from playing with it is immense. It is also screen free! Which, I know, seems weird when we are talking about developing a technological skill however the logic, problem-solving and critical thinking skills that children will also learn do not need a screen! For me, the enjoyment comes from watching them build the maze – creative building as well, it is their choice what goes where – and then working out in exactly which directions the mouse must go to reach its cheese. A whole world of learning! Programming the mouse with easily identifiable symbols is made easier with the directional coding cards which have to be put out in the right order. Children as young as four can benefit greatly from this toy!
Another great ‘unplugged’ coding toy is this 5 in 1 mechanical robot which is aimed at children of 8 and above. As with the mouse above, it teaches the fundamentals of coding without relying on a computer or app. Instead it uses a ‘coding wheel’ with buttons that snap on and off to have the robot perform its basic functions - go forward, backward, right/left turn, spin or pause. This is an entry level STEM coding toy which is designed to inspire children to not only think about coding but also basics of mechanical engineering. As they get more confident with the robot, they can increase the challenges and further develop their creativity and problem solving skills!
Once your child has got the coding bug (see what I did there!), it’s time to get them online and this is where I turn to the books! I taught a coding class at my last school which progressed from tangible coding (such as the products above) to full programming.
My absolute favourite is Python which introduces all the key concepts of coding in an easily accessible manner. There are some great books aimed at 8+ which allow programmers to be creative as they learn!
by Allie White, educational consultant to BrightMinds
As a parent and former-teacher, Allie has a hands-on approach to home learning, believing that the best learning is done together in a relaxed environment.
Our mission at BrightMinds is to foster “a brighter way to play” to inspire your child to be curious about the world around them & encourage creativity in a fun & relaxed way.
We curate a world-class range of educational toys, games, gifts & books which are good quality, safe and backed by our extraordinary customer service. Coding Toys are our speciality and a Coding Toy from BrightMinds is a wonderful gift for your special boy or girl. Backed by our 90 day guarantee we are the number one site for thoughtful toys for kids!