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Fun Hands-On Coding Gift Ideas for Kids

Love coding? Love giving educational gifts? These coding gift ideas for kids are the perfect STEM gift ideas for any STEM-loving kid.

If you’re a lover of STEM activities for kids like we are, then you’ll likely be on the hunt for educational gifts and coding for kids.

These coding gifts are the perfect way to introduce technology activities for kids to your child or to help develop an existing interest in the field. Add these items to your coding gift list as part of your STEM gifts this year!

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Coding Gift Ideas for Kids that Teach the Basics of Coding

Many kids go through an “I want to design video games” phase, and knowing how to code is an important first step.

Rather than just buying trendy toys for your kids for Christmas or their birthday, why not show them how fun STEM learning and coding activities can be?

What is the Benefit of Coding Toys for Kids?

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Few children will develop adult-level coding skills as children. For the most part, these toys and apps won’t make your child the next wiz-kid that can work at Google at age 12, but they can introduce the concept to children and make it fun.

A coding toy usually helps set up the rules of what coding is- which is simply a language with a set of logical rules that can be read and followed by a computer.

Knowing how to code is knowing how to communicate with a computer directly.

Many children’s coding toys don’t focus as much on what’s included in adult-level coding, but they help children develop logical thinking skills and patience that can help foster an interest in more in-depth coding education in the future.

What are the Best Coding Gifts for Kids?

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A coding gift should be developmentally appropriate for your child. What is appropriate for your child is something you can determine.

At the preschool level, coding toys should focus on cause and effect, and patterns.

Later on during elementary, coding toys focus on following patterns and directions to create a desired outcome.

And at the level above that, real coding techniques and languages can be introduced and learned.

Here are some fun screen-free coding ideas!

When my middle daughter was in preschool, we bought her a coding critter. When we moved a couple of years ago, I boxed it up because that toy is LOUD.

But, my youngest daughter just learned how to crawl, so I unboxed it and brought it out for her to chase around the house. I thought my middle daughter would be too old for it (she’s in first grade now), but she spent the afternoon trying to get the caterpillar to go where she wanted it to go.

So, even though the toy is labeled as a “preschool” toy, my daughter is actually getting more brain benefit from it now in elementary school.

Some coding toys, introduce concepts too soon. In my opinion, it’s better to have a toy that is a level below a child’s current understanding than above. This will reduce frustration and the learning will “stick” better.

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The Ultimate List of Coding Gift Ideas for Kids

Want to pick out a coding gift idea for kids but don’t know where to start?

The following list contains some of our favorite coding gifts for kids!

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Scree-Free Coding Gift Ideas for Kids

You don’t have to have a screen to learn how to code!

Code Rocket: Age- 10+

The Code Rocket won so many awards this year and is an excellent blend between coding toy and circuit toy. The included prompt cards reduce frustration, and the robot can be coded with over 20 different projects using real C++ programming.

Botly the Coding Robot: Age- 4-7

Botly the coding robot is a screen-free robot toy that can follow directions and be programmed to do a variety of tasks. Included coding prompts make it easy to use the robot.

Gravity Maze: Age- 8+

The Gravity Maze is a logic building toy that encourages logical thinking and creativity. The mazes get increasingly complicated and the use of the toy helps grow the brain in the necessary direction for future coding success.

Coding App Gift Ideas for Kids

I like to use apps and video games as last-minute additions to my kids’ Christmas list (or if somehow I have too many toys for one kid than another). These coding apps are all paid tools that teach coding on a screen.

Code Spark Academy: Age- 6-11

Code Spark Academy is one of our favorite coding apps for elementary kids. This game-style app teaches kids logical thinking, problem-solving, patterns, math, and other basic building blocks for coding. However, the entire app is fun, bright, colorful and kids have a blast with it.

Tynker: Age- 8-14

Tynker is one of the original coding apps for kids. Tynker is even used in some elementary schools as their coding platform. This multi-award-winning app helps children learn the basics of coding, logical thinking, and more in a variety of game-based settings.

Lightbot: Age-8+

Lightbot is a coding app for older kids. The levels start out easy but quickly get harder and harder. Use basic coding commands to solve puzzles and boost critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Coding Board Games for Kids

Sometimes you want to play a game as a group, and still learn the basics of coding. These games turn coding into a group adventure!

CoderMindz: Age- 6-12

CoderMindz is an adaptive AI game that was invented by a 9-year-old girl. In this game, kids play along with the robot and teach it to do things using card prompts. The more the kids play with the game, the smarter the robot gets!

Code Master: Age- 8+

In the Code Master game, children use game pieces that are designed like coding blocks to solve the challenges. The game is screen-free and has a fun block animation style that will appeal to Minecraft fans.

Circuit Maze: Age- 8+

The Circuit Maze requires logic and problem-solving skills to complete each circuit challenge. This game is a fun blend between circuits and board games.

Coding Osmo: Age- 5-12

The Coding Osmo Game blends screen time with game time. The two pieces work together to create an individualized game every time and keeps kids from getting bored.

Coding Shirts for Kids

Even the smartest kids need a brain break every now and then! But you can still support your love of coding with these coding shirts for kids.

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