If you have a kid in your life who enjoys working on science projects, take a look at these coding gifts for kids who like science. These gifts are also great for kids who aren’t particularly drawn to science, too, because they are all fun activities.
Jayden, my 10 year old grandson, has always enjoyed architecture, spending hours on end constructing buildings and objects with Legos (link). Architecture is both art and Science and construction depends a lot upon math and science. Some of his creations were, to me, pure engineering feats. Now Jayden has developed an interest in the science of coding, which is closely related to some aspects of construction. It’s a good fit for him.
I am very pleased he has developed this interest. As our world continues to become dominated by technology, coding will play a huge part in many areas of our life. Kids who learn computer coding early, will have an advantage over those who don’t. So it’s a good idea to encourage kids to learn this skill.
Update: I am now learning more about the SCRATCH programming language from MIT. which Jayden uses to create games and apps. He was introduced to it at his school, but he and his friends like to get together on their own to create various games. You can learn about SCRATCH programming here and here.
There are several ways for kids as young as toddlers to get involved in computer coding with fun coding games or beginning coding kits. I am researching these because I plan to get Jayden a coding gift for Christmas.
Coding Building Kits
LittleBits Arduino Starter Kit
Coding is really just instructing computerized objects to do what you want them to do. LittleBits has amazing electronic coding kits. Jayden has worked on them at school so I am leaning toward purchasing one of these for his gift. The kits seem to be a lot of fun for kids who like science. With the Arduino kit a kid can can create and code custom designs that are also functional.
This starter kit is a good deal and a great introduction to hands on coding. It comes with a 170 page full color instructional book with information on creating 14 fun projects such as: keyboard instrument, motorized pinwheel, lamp that responds to your touch, code to open a door and a control panel for your starship. Possibilities are unlimited and purchase includes online access for additional ideas.
LittleBits has several kits in its arsenal that you can purchase online. These include the “Rule Your Room Kit” which keeps nosy people out of your room and belongings and the “Gizmos and Gadgets Kit” which allows creations of a variety of gadgets like motors, RC race car, automatic bublbe blowing device.
All of the kits would make great gifts, but I think older kids from around 8 years and up would be the best candidates for these sets.
LittleBits Electronics Synth Coding Kit
Kids who may not be fond of science but love music should find this kit awesome. I know Jayden would. It’s about sound and creating beats. The kit has components to create an in-house synthesizer that will keep the house rocking. There are 12 modules that combine with magnets to create analog sounds. Everything needed is included in the box. It has a sort of keyboard which is really a set of switches lined up next to each other. The kit has an idea book and instructions for creating 30 projects that can buzz, light up, spin, roll, imitate the sounds of instruments and many other things. You can get it here.
Ozobot Programmable Robot
oWhen I look at the Ozobot and see how tiny it is, I figure it’s not the best choice for a 10 year old. However, this tiny little robot packs a lot of power in its ability to teach coding on an entertaining, yet educational, level. It uses color coded sequences that tells Oozbot to follow these sequences. You can even program him to dance. Younger kids will probably be entertained by Ozbot more so than kids over the age of 10. Still, it seems like an excellent way to introduce kids of any age to coding concepts.
Games That Teach Coding
Games can reinforce coding skills as well as introduce kids to coding. Some games allow the whole family to join in on the action.
Codemaster is a single player game but with a whole lot of options. It not only teaches kids coding, but builds on those lessons to teach sequential reasoning and problem solving skills. The recommended age is 8 to adult so some levels are quite challenging. Click HERE to Buy Now.
Robot Turtles Coding Game
Robot Turtles seems to be a great fun game for the whole family. It has 400 reviews online at Amazon. This is a game that will allow younger kids to get in on the action as its recommended age is 4 and up. It’s simple and easy with increasing levels of difficulty. The game is designed to be played by 2 to 5 players so kids of all ages can participate. You can check for current pricing here.
Here's a tip to get your gift list organized: Use Amazon's shopping cart to add ideas as you think of them. Once you add an item to the cart, you can add more, edit quantities or delete. This makes it very convenient to keep up with products you are considering for gifts.