We're big fans of tech toys that help children learn new skills and broaden their horizons, and one trend that continues to grow is coding toys.
Quite simply, these toys help teach your youngster to code in some form or another. Coding is the process of using a programming language to get a computer or device to do what you want it to. Apps, smartphone operating systems, web browsers, websites (just like Mother&Baby) and more are all written in code that enable them to function.
Now although coding toys for kids won't have them creating their own websites from the off-set, they do encourage your little one to think logically and to start understanding how to build blocks of code. Coding also helps to teach, critical thinking, spatial concepts, sequential logic and teamwork.
Plus in a world as tech-driven as ours, it's certainly no bad thing to introduce your little one to the world of coding. Who knows - they may be the next Bill Gates!
If you're interested in buying your child a coding toy, here are eight of our favourites.
The best coding toys for kids
1. Botley 2.0
Meet Botley 2.0, a robot that is easy to use and aims to have kids as young as five coding in minutes. Featuring a built-in light sensor, children can use the included activity set to create STEM challenges and put Botley’s object detection function to the test.
The game pad style remote has chunky buttons that are easy for little hands to use plus the buttons are also colour-coded to make it fun and easy for young children to get going with coding.
Age: 5 - 9 years
Review: "This is a great 'learning' robot and our kids love it. Very sturdy and able to take a good knock, it keeps them interested when learning to program the toy."
2. Galt Toys Cosmic Coding Game
This fun board game is designed to introduce kids to coding and includes a detailed guide to help your child become a Cosmic Coder and complete their mission to collect all their stars
Age: 6 - 12 years
Review: "How nice to have a game in which players are completing their own missions, not just competing! In addition to the coding aspect of the game, memory and strategy are involved, so it's educational on many levels."
3. Matatalab Home Edition Coding Robot
This easy-to-play STEM coding robot needs no screens. Children use colourful plastic blocks to represent coding commands and construct their understanding directly with their hands.
Age: 4 - 9 years
4. Osmo - Coding Starter Kit
You'll need an iPad or Fire Tablet for this product. Children are encouraged to use colourful blocks and coding commands to control a character named Awbie on a fun-filled adventure which involves music and puzzles.
Age: 5 - 12 years
Review: "This is a great product, my 5 year old likes playing with it but she hasn't quite mastered the coding concepts yet. I think it'll be better when she gets a bit older."
5. Learning Resources LER3082 Coding Critters: Rumble & Bumble
This adorable dinosaur themed play-set consists of 23 pieces which helps your child create their own endless coding challenges and adventures. They'll adore caring for clumsy Rumble the dinosaur and his little friend Bumble. Other characters available.
Age: 4 - 8 years
Review: "It is super easy to program and use. Imogen soon understood how to make it move. It has a simple mode of just pressing the arrow buttons (forward, left, right and backwards). It is a little hard to visualise the distance traveled with the forward and back movements but with a little practice you soon get the hang of making the cat move where you want to. It is a fun a novel toy!"
6. Kano Disney Frozen 2 Coding Kit
One for the Frozen fans out there, this kit provides step-by-step guides to help your child build sensors while teaching them the basics of coding. Soon they'll be able to build Olaf, create rainbow snowflakes, throw snowballs and with much-loved Frozen characters like Anna and Elsa.
Age: 6 years+
Review: "My daughter loves this even though she is a bit young for it, we have done all the challenges though and she isn't really ready to make her own creations yet. There seems to be a whole extra set of challenges unrelated to frozen on the Kano site as well though so we are doing these as well. I am happy that my daughter is showing an interest in coding and it makes me smile when she asks if she can do Elsa Anna coding."
7. Learning Resources STEM-Extra Robot Mouse
How sweet is this little fella? All your child has to do is create a step-by-step path for Jack the mouse using the 30 double-sided coding cards. Each card features a direction or 'step' (such as forward or reverse) to program into Jack. He can be programmed up to 40 steps and features two speeds.
Age: 4 - 10 years
Review: "Overall it’s proved to be durable having been played with by 3 year olds (boys and girls), so it’s great value for money and a good replacement for the more expensive coding bee that’s also recommended."
8. STEM POWERED KIDS Code A Maze Science Kit
Completely screen free with just coding cards and small figures, this kit will teach the concept of programming and how it works from a young age as youngsters are encouraged to consider what steps they need to move a robot to its destination.
Using fun and games, kids can develop their cognitive and playing skills as they are encouraged to consider what steps they need to move a robot to its destination.
Age: 3 years +