Before the 21st Century becomes the Matrix, our kids have got to learn how to hack it. But if they’re so used to smartphones, tablets and laptops, how can they get into coding without a screen, in an age-appropriate way? Through play, of course! Though we miss the old Furbies and Pikachus (which I always suspected were sentient… have you ever been woken up in the middle of the night with their ominous cries of “Me hungry”?), we haven’t decided if kids today are luckier for having smarter, app-connected, smartphone and tablet compatible robots. The new generation of robotic toys are cooler for sure… plus they teach programming!
Following a successful Kickstarter, this Montessori approved LOGO turtle toy teaches kids aged 3 and up coding without screens. By popping in coding blocks into a control board, kids can help Cubetto travel the map and go on epic adventures. Kids can learn basic programming and infinite loops as well as doll up their friendly bot for adventuring.
Primo Toys, www.primotoys.com, $225.
Dash and Dot
This bright-eyed lovable pair come with a range of apps that kids aged six and up can download to their smartphone or tablet to control and program their robots. From planning simple routes to making games, coding becomes a matter of just ‘getting the hang of it’. There’s no limit to what energetic Dash and brainy Dot can do!
Wonder Workshop, www.makewonder.com, $49.99-279.99.
Walking is sooo last year, Siggys are the new segways! In the spirit of coding for girls, tech-savvy mum Sharmi Albrechtsen has come up with a posse of college students juggling studies, friendships, adventures and after-school jobs. These smartphone and tablet controllable scooters are a must-have for any fashion dolls and encourages girls to learn coding and pursue careers in STEM…all while looking fabulous.
SmartGurlz, www.smartgurlz.eu, €99.
What’s cooler than a drone? A programmable drone, of course. Parrot has partnered with Tynker, one of the top code-learning platform for kids, to create Parrot Mambo Code where kids can learn coding using minidrones. They even have an activity book developed for the Apple Swift Playground for kids to learn Swift, as well as share and edit their friends’ codes.
Parrot, www.parrot.com, $149.99.
Marty the Robot
Robotical, robotical.io, £150.