10 Best Coding Toys Reviewed in 2020
There are many benefits to educational toys. Most parents turn to items such as books, interactive learning pads or stations, or tablets to encourage children to learn about various things and help them improve certain skills. One option many don’t consider is a coding toy which can be beneficial in so many ways but is often overlooked due to preconceived notions that they’re complicated, outdated, or just too much confusion. We’ve got good news for you, though, coding toys are just the opposite nowadays, and the toys you played with as a child can’t hold a candle to what we’ve found for you on this top ten list. These types of toys are new, inventive, educational and, most importantly, fun!
In a Hurry? The test winner after 25 hrs of research
No assembly required
Cosmo comes with everything you need to get started
Easy to operate
The coding system is simple and uncomplicated
Built for durability
10 Best Coding Toys Reviewed
1. Anki Cosmo
No assembly required
Cosmo comes with everything you need to get started
Easy to operate
The coding system is simple and uncomplicated
Built for durability
Switching between devices can be frustrating
Cosmo is a cute little bot that will encourage kids to brush up on and learn new coding skills. He's easy to use, super friendly, and will quickly become the newest member of your family. With a little practice, the use of a smartphone or tablet, and some patience, kids will be able to successfully customize all of this robot's reactions, expressions, and fun tricks.Read more
Cosmo is the cute little droid that you didn’t know you needed for your child. He’s everyone’s soon-to-be best friend and although he makes them work for his affection, your child will have a blast learning how to program him. Cosmo can do so much more than what meets the eye; with a little coding practice, your child will eventually be able to give Cosmo voice commands in addition to having him follow certain visual patterns. You can even see life from his point of view (literally!) with the addition of a front “Discovery” camera feature.
If your kids are on their smartphones or tablets as it is, this is a great way to encourage them to be productive while playing -- They’ll learn a little about how to build code while also having a great time.
To interact is simple, just use the coding lab accompanying Cosmo and set it up via a smartphone or tablet. Using the code lab is as easy as plugging in various colors and watching this tiny bot set out on his course!
By dragging various colored blocks along with the screen, you can watch this AI come to life in a fascinating display that seems almost human-like. He also comes with blocks that can be lifted or moved, so you can train it to a super builder as well.
Cosmo isn’t just built for following directions and making great entertainment. This robot is fully-interactive and while you’re learning about him, he actually learns about you, too!
2. Fisher-Price Think & Learn
It takes a lot of critical thinking
Simple enough for a toddler
The replayability is high
Interactive lights and sounds
Easy to put together and take apart
You need a decent amount of space to use this toy
Fisher-Price has created the perfect coding introductory toy with its Code-a-pillar. Children between the ages of three and six will get their caterpillar moving by using its segments to create a coding sequence. It sounds intimidating, but we’re confident your child will be a pro in no time.Read more
Learning to program a path for their insect friend will help improve their problem-solving skills. Using the segments, your child will rearrange them to get the code-a-pillar to move in the direction they want. Your child must use their critical thinking skills to discover the correct arrangement of segments for each direction.
Along with the tremendous number of problem-solving skills, it takes to control this caterpillar, kids will also learn how to use logic to plan the course of their toy. It interacts and makes noises to gain their interest while teaching them valuable skills about an order, direction, and paying attention.
All of the segments are designed to light up, but the head segment is equipped with fun sounds and even blinks his eyes. Your little one will be encouraged to engage in pretend play as they bring the caterpillar to life. Included in the box is a ‘Start’ and ‘Finish’ target. Using the targets you can create fun obstacle courses for the caterpillar that will stimulate your child’s cognitive development as they work to get the toy to the end.
Each of the eight segments is designed with a color and shape. The color and shape correspond to a specific command, thus making it easier for your child to remember the correct sequence for each direction. Composed of durable plastic, your child can countless adventures with their code-a-pillar.
3. Kano Computer Kit
Very easy to use
Teaches kids code in a creative way
Allows them access to the internet
Includes a fun Minecraft hack
The graphics and equipment are all excellent quality
It needs to be hooked up to a television or computer screen and does not come with one
Does your child dream of having their very own computer someday? Even more so, do they dream of building one? Now they actually can! In the process, they'll also be able to code their own fun games and apps -- Including one for how to hack the popular game Minecraft.Read more
The only thing that makes this toy seem complicated is the addition of the word “computer”, which, in reality, is simply just an electronic machine that’s run by none other than coding! So why not teach kids the basics of how to create their very own? The Kano Computer Kit is great for kids ages six and up and teaches them, step-by-step, how to put together their very own computer system and code it to the correct specifications. Building a computer is something to be proud of and will definitely be something they’ll take pride in when they show it off to their family and friends.
Putting a computer together isn’t really as complicated as it seems, and with this one, kids will have full access to things such as YouTube, Minecraft (which they can also learn how to hack!), and several other games and features that make this totally worth the money you’ll invest in it.
This kit is incredibly simple to use without being boring and has a major payoff when it’s been completed. It’s true that this kit has a lot to offer in the way of logic and critical thinking in general, but what’s really great about it is the confidence your child will have once they’ve completed their project.
Any other kit would be complicated and frustrating, but Kano has found a way to take kids through the coding process in the most fun and creative way… They won’t even realize they’re learning code as they are building their own computer!
This isn’t the type of toy your child will get bored of quickly, which we know can be a big concern when it comes to anything science or engineer-related. Having their own computer will give kids a sense of freedom along with accomplishment knowing that they’re the ones who actually built it.
4. Wonder Workshop Dash
Tutorials come with each programming guide
The app is free to use
Dash is completely customizable and realistic
It can be used in conjunction with LEGO products
Includes everything you need with no need for extra purchases
The Bluetooth updating process can be a little glitchy
The Wonder Workshop Dash is similar to Cosmo by Anki, but much simpler. This is a great option for younger kids and older toddlers who are fascinated with the world of robotics but don’t necessarily have an introduction to it. The great thing about Dash is that the only purchase that needs to be made is the bot itself, and all of the apps that control him are completely free.Read more
There’s no additional software, accessories, or tools that your child needs to start programming him -- Just it up with the app and you’re good to go. It’s also compatible with LEGO Bricks Connectors which can be a blast if your child is playing with a group of friends!
Designed with an open-ended learning platform your child can choose their own way to play. Playing with the robot will increase their confidence as they learn more about coding and tech in general. Dash has won several different educational awards and is even being used in over 20,000 classrooms all over the world. Children can enjoy playing with him independently or with friends.
This little guy can learn a plethora of commands that are all relatively simple to program in and will keep kids busy, improve their logic skills and have them laughing for hours.
While Dash is a coding bot, he can be used for so much more. Using the free five apps your child can give him voice commands as well as explore different events, loops, conditions, and sequences. By purchasing the latest accessories, your child can customize Dash and even turn him into an animal.
Arriving fully charged and assembled, your child can begin coding with Dash immediately after opening. Your child can enjoy playing with Dash for up to five hours on a single charge. The lack of batteries required gives this toy a high-level of portability. Your child can take him on the go and use any USB port to charge him when needed. Not only is he easy to transport but he is highly durable. The bright blue and orange color scheme makes the robot easy to spot as he moves. Children will love the robot’s quirky look and will have a blast for hours. Dash is designed for children ages six and up.
5. LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox
There are many options that come with this toy
Coding is simple with the use of a smartphone
Relatively easy to build
High replayability value
Well-worth the price
So many little pieces make it a poor choice for kids
Everyone loves LEGOs, but did you know they come in the form of robots too? This kit allows kids to choose from five different bots that they can control via coding or even with a remote control, boosting play time from a few minutes to a few hours. They'll love building and being able to command this LEGO-bot.Read more
When it comes to coding, you know that LEGO has to have a hand in that since most kits are designed with engineering in mind! The LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox Building and Coding Kit allows kids to construct a bot that towers over ten inches high -- That’s a pretty hefty bot! It’s a huge step for LEGO, who started with simple building blocks and now puts out full-on controllable bots. Technology certainly is amazing sometimes!
The cool aspect of this LEGO kit, though, is not only will it run on batteries, but it can be controlled via smartphone or tablet app as well. This gives kids a chance to not only build their very own robotic creature but also control it and learn some super simple coding in the process.
The app allows kids to control their creation in very much the same way a remote control would be used for a race car; each option on the screen can be dragged into a specific order, then giving direction via Bluetooth to the droid awaiting a command.
This is a pretty smart toy that comes with a pretty significant surprise as well. Not only can you build one large robot, but your child will have the option to pick from five different robotic designs and build -- and control -- each one!
The options are endless for this not-so-subtle bot, and the best part is that there’s no specific equipment your child will need to download the app to use it. It’ll work with virtually any device that allows for Bluetooth communication which can save you frustration as well as money.
6. Piper Computer Kit
It's a bit more mature of a coding kit
Great for a science fair or school project
The computer has many games and apps to keep kids hooked
It's fun to complete with friends
The instructions are simple and easy to understand
Kids under ten might struggle a bit
This kit is perfect in showcasing how easy and simple it can be to actually build your own computer system. It embodies the essence of coding and uses real-life equipment, such as a circuit board, special wiring, etc., to instruct kids on how they can build they very own.Read more
This is a coding computer kit that’s really intended for older kids who are either looking to learn code or already have an interest in the digital world. It’s not overly complicated but can be frustrating for some younger ages, but that also means it can be a fun bonding project for the entire family.
All of those wires and the addition of a circuit board may create the illusion that this coding toy isn’t easy to put together but that’s quite on the contrary. The guide is descriptive and simple to follow and won’t just instruct kids, but will teach them how and why to put everything together in order for the process of coding to make complete sense.
This computer kit introduces real-life computer parts to kids in a friendly way without overwhelming them or making them feel like they can’t actually accomplish this project. Studies have shown that technologically-forward projects such as this have been shown to drastically increase a child’s confidence level and improve their thinking skills overall.
This computer kit comes with literally everything you need to create a computer capable of processing video game and tons of various apps that will be super rewarding to your child once they’ve completed it. It’s recommended for kids ages eight and up, which will give them a solid background in the coding process and what it takes to create a form of artificial intelligence.
The instructions are simple but make piecing this computer together a lot of fun, and your child will find even more fun in it when completing it with friends. When they’re finished, they’ll have full access to games like Minecraft and fun apps that will keep them surfing their new technology addition for hours.
7. Ozobot Bit
Very easy to figure out
Comes with a two-step process for easy coding
Everything is color-coordinated
Using a tablet isn't necessary
It's great for younger kids
It's not as interactive as some other bots
You'd be surprised to learn that this tiny bot is capable of reading code and doing exactly what you tell it to -- Through programming, that is! The Ozobot takes commands from color-coordinated codes that can be written on paper or set up on a tablet screen. The great thing about it is that kids will learn how to write code manually as well as input it digitally, making it a two-in-one learning process.Read more
We’ve got coding toys for all kinds of different ages and this little Ozobot can be used by kids as young as six! As they get older, they can use Ozo in conjunction with a tablet to conduct more complex coding courses.
With two ways to code, this set is great for beginners and advanced coders. Your child can start by using the markers to code on paper. As their confidence and skills progress, they can move to code on the computer. The included activity pack will help get your child started. It will prepare your child to make their codes by introducing them to the basics of robotics and coding.
The Ozobot follows commands according to color and, similar to a secret message decoder, he comes with his own color-coded chain of command that kids can use to create their own obstacle course for their very first bot.
Encourage your child to unleash their creativity! Using pop-outs and stickers, your child can customize their little coding bot. This set is the perfect combination of art and tech. The different markers and stickers allow your child to create code sequences using a variety of colors. Depending on the order of the colors the bot will spin, speed up, zig-zag, etc.
This pocket-sized bot arrives fully assembled and ready to code. While the bot can be customized with adorable stickers he is not interactive. The bot is a drag-and-drop code editor and is designed to be used on a computer or tablet. The overall sleek design gives this bot a futuristic look.
8. Learning Resources Botley
There are many different options for Botley
It comes with 77 accessories
It's a toy that will grow with kids
Easy for use at any age
No need for a tablet or smartphone
The coding pads can be a bit tricky to lay out
Botley isn't just adorable, he'll also quickly become your child's new best friend. Watch as they race him, put him through obstacle courses, and learn coding right along with him! With so many different and versatile options, this is one toy that your child will love for years, making it well worth the investment.Read more
Botley the Coding Bot is the perfect investment if you’re looking for a toy that will grow with your child. Botley can be controlled via a special remote control or the coding patterns that come in the kit. He responds to both equally as well and in this kit, kids will even find accessories to create their very own robot obstacle course. Kids will have a blast racing him, making him climb over various obstacles that can be placed in his way, and switching up each course with the coding pads included. Botley is a smart bot with some features that can even be unlocked later on, which only adds to the long list of things kids will discover while playing with him.
They won’t soon get bored of this one because of how versatile Botley is in the commands he follows and what he’s capable of doing, and with a 77-piece activity set, there’s no limit to the number of fun lessons kids can have with this toy.
They’ll learn how to control Botley in various ways, which will only increase their capacity for learning when it comes to inputting codes and watching a machine make sense of them.
This coding kit will challenge kids in a way that they’ve probably never been challenged, by encouraging them to be creative while using their problem-solving skills to create the best version possible.
Botley is cute and adorable, yet it’s built to withstand typical kid play. It’s a toy that will last and can handle the wear and tear that often comes with remote-controlled toys.
9. ThinkFun Master Programming
Each game slowly increases in difficulty
Provides a fun challenge
Great for groups
Teaches coding in a hands-on way
Supports STEM learning
The later levels can be challenging and kids might require assistance
Who says board games are going out of style? Not if you're talking about one that's based on coding! In addition to all the skills kids can get from playing a hands-on game, a coding board games offers benefits such as heavy critical thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving. These are all valuable skills that kids can use throughout their entire lives.Read more
Perhaps board games are more your child’s style? We’ve got a coding option for that, too! Board games have been around for centuries and there’s a reason for it. Not only are they hands-on and encourage problem-solving and critical thinking skills, but they teach kids how to think out their next move and help them understand things in a visual way.
A board game can teach a child so much depending on what it’s based on, and this coding game by ThinkFun will have kids falling in love with digital processes in no time.
It operates under a simple concept with many fun levels that gradually increase in difficulty, and will provide your child with a solid challenge that will boost their confidence as well as their reasoning skills.
This creative game is simple to set up and even easier to play. It’s great for groups and will hold a child’s interest, if only so that they can solve the challenge at hand and move onto the next game!
There’s no rush when it comes to this game and there’s no screen to look at or smartphone to use to make it work. This is pure, classic board game fun that challenges kids via the coding process to advance in levels.
10. Coding Games in Scratch
Allows kids to code on their own time
Comes with a variety of options
You only need a computer
Good pastime for older kids
Simple concepts with big rewards
Adobe can be expensive if you don't already own it
Granted this isn't a coding toy per say, it is a book that will unlock coding magic for your child. Filled within the pages of this book, you'll find projects that use codes for various games and apps, and all you need is a working computer and access to Adobe. It's the perfect way for kids to have fun while also being a bit creative.Read more
If you’re looking for a way to get your child interested in coding without overwhelming them with a toy that they might not know how to play with initially, why not try a coding book? If you already have a computer that has Adobe 10.2 or a later version on it, then your child is already halfway to starting their own coding computer projects. They’ll be able to choose from a number of options and be able to stand back and say, “I created that!” Which, of course, makes it all worth it.
Kids will have all the freedom they need to figure coding out on their own with this Scratch book. It teaches them the basics without restricting them too much and is great for older kids who love computer projects.
It’s super fun to watch children create their own games and art and learn about the digital world, and this book allows them the freedom to do it at their own pace and truly practice their logical reasoning.
This book will provide plenty of fun and creative ways to get starting on their own coding adventure and it also makes for a great way to bond with them. It is quite entertaining even for adults!
These coding projects can be done on any computer, and done just about anywhere, period. This book has the key to unlocking all the fun coding projects they want and it’s easy to travel with and take with them from place to place, computer to computer.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Some people will tell you, including school science and technology teachers and anyone who works in the digital technology field, that they know what the future looks like -- And coding is in it! Not only are your kids learning a skill that may very well help them get an incredible job one day, but they’re learning something about the world around them as well.
You’d be amazed to find out that many of the appliances and apps we use today are all put in place via a method of coding, and things you’d never even think of were designed by a programmer. It’s a big job with a lot of rewards and it really does make the world go ‘round. Coding might seem intimidating at first, but all your child really needs to learn are the basics to grant him or her an understanding of how certain technology works the way it does.
It’s also a really fantastic way of showing and explaining to them how their smartphones, tablets, and computers work, especially during this day and age where it seems like almost every kid is involved in some sort of digital app or site. They’ll begin to have a newfound appreciation for the technology they use and the people who develop it and who knows, maybe someday they’ll be the ones sitting behind a computer programming codes!
If you break down what these toys do, the process is fairly simple. They normally involve some kind of pattern that will help kids achieve a bigger, rewarding goal by the end of their coding practice; some involve actual robots that will follow commands as a finished result, while others actually encourage kids to build things like a computer system or complete a master program.
Each one has something different to offer. The skills a child will gain from playing with these engineering-forward toys is virtually unmatched because of the fact that they’re not only hands-on, but encourage strong reasoning, logic, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills.
Every area of the brain is being challenged and if your child is one for solving mysteries and learning how things work, consider this the perfect option for their next gift. These toys have been proven frustration-free and won’t become something that just sits in your house, getting no use whatsoever… We’re sure you have enough of those already!
At one point, confidence used to stem from being good at athletics or winning the school spelling bee. Every once in a while, winning the school science fair would be cool, but you’d quickly be overshadowed by which team won the football game the weekend following. Nowadays, confidence comes from virtually any area of learning, including computer science!
Kids who have always been interested in technology now have a place to devote their time as well as the recognition they deserve for wanting to and actually learning and developing a coding skill. It’s viewed as something that’s highly regarded because of the determination, persistence, and critical thinking skills it takes to successfully learn how to code and program something. Whether you’re building a computer, designing a program, or even fixing a bug, coding offers success in many ways. You could even go into video game design or graphic design with it -- The options for creativity are truly endless!
Coding is breaking modern barriers as well; it was once seen as a career path that was dominated by people who were once referred to as “nerds” or “geeks” in school, but now that we’re in a digital age that’s run by technology, coding is just seen as a necessary process. We’re seeing more and more women in the field as well as people who come from all backgrounds with all kinds of programming interests, turning it into a career field full of diversity, experience, knowledge, and opportunity.
It’s a place where anyone is welcome to bring in their creativity and wisdom in order to create, fix, or update a process, which is why it’s so appealing to kids of all age, gender, and skill level. Therefore we looked for toys with an exquisite design that would make this journey a more entertaining experience and our little ones can connect to this field more easily. It is quite unfair that science has a bad reputation as being boring and dull when it offers so many opportunities. We truly hope that these products can spark interest and ideas into the young minds and mold them into visionaries who seek solutions rather than cause problems.
Toys that have been built following the STEM principles can enhance proper early brain development and significantly improve the child's spatial reasoning skills which have been associated with high achievements to learning in many other fields as well. So even if your child doesn't show interest in a career as a programmer or IT persona, he/she will still get the benefits of developing logical reasoning and creative thinking which would undoubtedly improve the chances to be more prosperous in whatever he/she chooses to do.
In the nearby future, knowing a programming language would be just as important as speaking a second language! Since learning to code requires having actual classes with a teacher that has an engineering background and tools that are quite expensive, a lot of STEM toys manufacturers are trying to help children learn the basics in a more fun, simple and affordable manner. The coding lessons are purposely gamified so children wouldn't feel as if they are attending a mandatory after-school activity, as instead like they are building their own toys for their own personal amusement!
Other Factors to Consider
Ease of Use
It’s definitely not the easiest thing to get an immediate handle on, but coding can teach kids quite a lot in the way of skills. For starters, it’ll teach them how to be persistent in their pursuit to solve a problem. Because of the fact that coding isn’t something that can be done half-way, it motivates kids to learn it in order to complete a project with it or advance the next step.
This process is clearly evident in things such as the computer building kits or even the coding board game that allows kids to move onto the next challenge; each harder than the last. There’s no way for a child to not understand the simple code before progressing, which is why it teaches them how to persist with learning and completion as the motivating factor. These toys are great for that because they redirect focus to the final goal and encourage kids to continue learning, building, and creating in order to achieve a rewarding finished project.
While these products are highly educational and truly beneficial for practicing problem-solving skills, we mustn't forget that they are toys and toys are meant to be fun and amusing! Children love learning lessons when they don't feel like a chore, as instead a puzzle or an obstacle that they need to pass in order to be rewarded as heroes of their own magical land. Therefore we made sure each individual item on this list would grant your child capture your child's attention with its unusual, intriguing and flashy components so he/she is eager to finish his/her goal without feeling frustrated by the whole learning experience.
STEM toys are highly praised for figuring out a way to bring children closer to the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and making the whole learning experience a whimsical, pleasurable ride! These toys are shaped like robots, DIY computers, games, and consoles in order for children to get their ultimate prize once they've practiced their logic skills and found a creative way to fix the provided problem.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What if my child finds this to be too difficult?
That leaves a great opening for you to bond with them and help them along with whatever project they’re having trouble with. Don’t get us wrong, coding may not be for everyone. However, chances are that if a child has a little bit of help and encouragement, they’ll quickly regain interest once they have a thorough understanding of the task at hand. Any single one of these toys offer a chance for parent or family bonding through the completion process and in the end, you’ll both be rewarded for the time spent on it!
q: What age is appropriate to consider purchasing a coding toy?
The youngest child can use any of the toys mentioned on this list is five. That’s roughly the age we would start any child off with a coding toy, simply because it can be a little overwhelming if they’ve never played with anything like it before. For younger ages, things like coding kits can make for the perfect educational gift.
q: Are these really worth the money I’ll be investing in them?
The answer to that lies within knowing your child’s capacity for sitting down with a project and completing it. We’d like to think that all of these toys are well-worth their prices, simply because of the design, payoff, and benefits far outway the costs. Things such as the computer building kits are definitely worth it because, in the end, your child will have their very own computer system to use and play with. When purchasing a coding toy, you’re really purchasing an all-in-one type of product.
q: Can my child take these to school for use in a science fair, for a school project, etc.?
Yes! Any of these would make a great technology-based project. The Scratch coding book also offers a myriad of various projects that might be helpful as well and offer quite the coding variety.
q: Are these compatible with any other products or add-ons?
Toys such as the LEGO Boost and the Dash are compatible with other toy products. We wouldn’t say that any of the others are, though, unless it’s been otherwise stated by the manufacturer. Since many of these toys need their own apps in order to work, there really are no expansion packs.
q: Are any of these good to travel with?
Many of these are small enough to be packed away in a backpack or a separate bag. Things such as the LEGOs, though, might have a more difficult time holding together when traveled with.
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