We had a difficult time to choose our top tech (STEM) gifts for this age category, as there are so many fantastic options to choose from. In no particular order, below are our favourites for little kids who love coding, robots, construction, and playing games.
Dash & Dot Robots
Read our review on Dash and Dot.
Osmo Coding KitThe Osmo suite of games uses the connection between physical and digital play. The Coding Kit, allows you to code your character on the screen, using physical blocks placed in the right sequence. A few things to note about Osmo is, firstly it is only compatible with iOS and secondly you need a "Game System" to play the games. There are 3 diffferent game systems to select from - Wonder Pack, Genius Kit and Starter Kit - each includes a couple or more games. The Coding Game is a separate game and not included in any of the game system kits. The Osmo games are recommended for ages 5+
PuzzletsPuzzlets is another connected toy using physical and digital play as a means to teach kids skills whilst having fun playing games. Puzzlets is compatible with iOS and Andriod, and currently have one game - Cork the Volcano. The company behind Puzzlets, Digital Dream Labs, are currently developing more games, which will be out in 2017. Puzzlets is recommended for ages 6+, but we think a 5 year old familiar with using a tablet (which is all of them) would enjoy this game too.
Read our review on Puzzlets and the Cork the Volcano game.
Code and Go Robot MouseCode and Go Robot Mouse teaches young kids basic sequencing skills. Kids code Colby (the robot mouse), through a maze to find the cheese. You can also get Jack (a purple mouse which is sold separately) for siblings to race through the maze and win the cheese prize. The robot requires 3 AAA batteries, which isn't included. Code and Go Robot Mouse is recommended for ages 5+.
Goldie Blox - Builders Survival KitThe Goldie Blox Builders Survival Kit include a story book and construction toy with 190 pieces. The Bloxshop video series shows all kinds of creations you can make with this kit. The Builders Survival Kit is compatible with other Goldie Blox sets. If you have the Parade Foat and Spinning Machine sets, you can even build the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade Float!
Read our review of the Spinning Machine when it was first launched.
Technology Will Save Us - Electro DoughThe Electro Dough kit by Technology Will Save Us, makes it really easy to explore circuits with playdough. The kit contains everything you need, you just need to add batteries and playdough. We would not recommend leaving younger children playing unsupervised with the Electro Dough kit, due to small parts, LEDs and batteries. It is recommended for ages 4+ under supervisor. My kids particularly enjoyed getting their playdough creations make "buzz" sounds.
Read our review of Technology Will Save Us' Electro Dough kit.
Coji Emoji RobotCoji the emoji robot is a fun robot toy which can send and receive instant messages by connecting with a tablet or mobile device (compatible with iOS and Andriod). The app comes with some games, basic coding module and free play. Coji is a fun toy which extends into some educational value. The robot is recommended for ages 4+.
Read our full review of Coji the emoji programmable robot.
Mighty Makers - Ferris WheelThe Mighty Makers Ferris Wheel kit is made by K'Nex and features great colours like purple, yellow, orange, pink and green.The amusement park with a Ferris wheel, a pirate ship ride, and a boardwalk game can be built one at a time. Although the kit is designed with girls in mind, we think this is a great set of boys and girls as they learning brilliant engineering skills.
Read our review of K'Nex Mighty Makers Range.
Penguins on IcePenguins on Ice is a puzzle game for one player by Smart Games. There are several levels ranging from beginner to master to complete. It's a perfect game to develop logical thinking and problem solving skills. The Penguins on Ice puzzle is recommended for ages 6+. Have a go at playing the game online.
Boogie Board eWriterThe Boogie Board eWriter is great for kids, learning to write. We have one which is often used instead of paper to work out math sums, write lists or just draw pictures. It's really simple technology, you write on the tablet and erase everything by pushing a button. You can't store or connect what you've created. The Boogie Board is recommended for ages 5+. There is also a Play and Trace version which allows you to trace a picture or letters behind the screen.
Read our review of the Boogie Board.
Kano Computer Kit
The Kano Computer kit is a computer anyone can make. The kit includes everything you need including a raspberry pi, case, speaker, wireless keyboard, memory, HDMI and power cables, coding challenges, stickers and lots of apps. It's recommended for ages 6+ and will make a perfect family activity for this age range. I built a Kano with my 7 year old at an event this year. He got to see how a computer is made and then play and make games on the Kano computer.
A note on age recommendationsIt can be frustrating for a child to be given a gift that they're not ready for, though it can always be put away for later, but it's also annoying to get a gift and realise that a child would have appreciated it when they were younger!
All kids are different and there's a huge difference between what they can do completely independently and what they can learn a lot from when helped by a parent, grandparent or older sibling. We've tried to choose products that will be accessible to kids in the age 5-7 age range while offering enough breadth that they will challenge and appeal to those at the top end of the ability range.
For 7 year olds who are really into their tech, make sure you check out our guide for bigger kids. For kids at the younger end of the age range with less experience check out our guide for preschoolers.