Friday, 4 November 2016

Top Tech (STEM) Gifts for Kids Aged 2, 3 and 4 - Coding, Robots, Engineering

It's great to see toy companies making toys for preschoolers to learn logical thinking skills and foster creativity and engineering skills.

Our gift list for preschoolers, kids aged 2, 3 and 4, is aimed at young children. It is important to note kids develop at varying rates. We recommend you select toys you think will be appropriate for your kids, and not only look at age recommendations (see our note on age recommendations below).

Our list is in no particular order and includes toys and games with a tech, coding, STEM and educational theme.

  1. Tech Will Save Us Dough Universe

    Tech Will Save Us launched a new product this year - Dough Universe, which allows your kids play creations to come to life. The complete set comes with 3 different devices with kids can add light, sound, and motion to play dough.
    Currently available on pre-order and will ship in time for Christmas.
  2. Code-a-Pillar

    The Code-a-Pillar by Fisher Price is a fun, interactive toy to introduce young kids to coding concepts. We've had a play and reviewed the Code-a-Pillar. It will grow with your child as they develop new skills and learn to use it in different ways. It's bright, and loud and travels far! It will be a popular addition to toy cupboards this year.

    Read our Code a Pillar review.
  3. Primo Cubetto - 3+

    Primo's Cubetto robot takes a Montessori style approach to teaching kids to code. It's a wooden robot that is programmed by placing wooden blocks into a tray, it's hands-on and doesn't require a screen to operate. Primo will be very at home in design conscious households. It's a great option for some quality parent and child time. See our full review of Cubetto for more information.
  4. Gears! Gears! Gears!

    The Gears! Gears! Gears! construction set is an old favourite and perfect of budding engineers. The plastic gears are brightly coloured and robust. This is another toy which your child can "grow" into as they develop new skills. This starter builder set will help your child develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. (My 6 year old still likes engineering with this set.)
  5. Teddy Ruxpin

    Parents and grandparents may remember the famous storytelling bear Teddy Ruxpin from the 80s, which was relaunched this year as an interactive and cuddly bear packed full of new technology. He has LCD eyes with over 40 animations, animatronics which helps him look "real" and two modes of play - with or without an app. The app is available for iOS and Andriod. He also comes with 3 stories and has a sing-along mode.
  6. Fisher Price Think & Learn Smart Cycle

    The Think & Learn Smart Cycle is new from Fisher Price this year. It's essentially a static exercise bike for preschoolers, which connects to a tablet via Bluetooth. The app is available for iOS, Andriod and Amazon Fire tablets as well as Apple, Andriod and Fire TV. It has 3 modes, play,
    game or race and is a sneaky way to kids active physically whilst playing a fun digital game. They need to pedal to engage with the app.
  7. Design & Drill

    Design and Drill is another classic toy, which got a bit of an upgrade with a lights and sounds version - Brightworks. It's a preschool version of making pixel art. Young kids will learn about turning clockwise and anticlockwise, and follow a pattern by copying a design. The new Brightworks set, makes it less of a "boy" toy, and who says girls don't like to operate a power drill!
  8. Kid K'nex

    Kid K’Nex is a new product by K’Nex specifically designed for younger builders and designers. It’s a bright collection of building pieces and cute creature features to inspire young minds to create.
    When you construct with K’Nex you connect different shaped connectors with rods by sliding them in together. It's a completely different building experience from LEGO or similar building blocks. K'Nex pieces lend itself to building things that spin and make things in 2D and 3D.
    Read our review.
  9. Alex Toys Future Coders: Bunny Trails

    ALEX Toys have release a new range of Future Coders activity sets. Their Future Coders Bunny Trails Coding Skills Kit includes a big play mat that kids actually stand on to play a coding game. The kit includes a timer and challenge cards. Kids have to plan their moves with direction tiles to complete challenges. A great way to combine physical activity with learning to code.
  10. Boat Engineer Kit

    Kids First Boat Engineer is a build yourself kit to learn about boat engineering. These kits by Thames and Kosmos are recommended from ages 3+ and teaches kids various engineering skills through a storybook. You'll get a chance to build several different models. There are other themes in this range, including a robot, automobile, aircraft and amusement park engineer kits. Read our review.
  11. Magformers Walking Robot

    Magformers are plastic, magnetic building shapes and this year they have a walking robot set. The set is compatible with other Magformers sets and includes an engine block which requires batteries to operate. It is important to note that although the robot is motorised, it's movement is small and slow. Kids enjoy building different patterns and structures with the magnetic shapes. This set is not recommended for kids under 3 years due to small parts. Magformers are another construction kit that comes out time and time again for play in our house.
  12. Three Little Piggies Game

    We love the games from Smart Games, which promotes logical, critical and problem solving thinking skills. The three little piggies game is a great set to get young kids into solving puzzles using a familiar story. It's a single player game and recommended from ages 3+. The Three Little Piggies include 48 different challenges to solve, helping kids go from starter to master. We have an older version on this game which is loved by kids and adults alike - some brilliant brain training!

A note on age recommendations

In this younger age bracket, children develop at different rates. Something suitable for one 3 year old may be too advanced for another 4 year old. We've tried to select toys that can be used differently depending on your child's age, developmental stage and dexterity.

The games and toys included in our preschool list, is suitable for young children, but can also be enjoyed by older siblings. It is important for parents to gauge if your child is ready for a specific toy or gadget. The last thing you want is for a child to break a toy they are not quite ready to realise its full value. Our gift list for the next age range (6+) is coming soon.

For older kids, see our other gift guides:

More from Tech Age Kids:


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