Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Top Coding Toys and Gifts for Kids Aged 8-9-10: Expert Picks

These are our top coding toys and gift recommendations for the 8 to 10 age range. This is the age at which coding toys started in the past but now there are loads available in the lower age ranges. For beginner coders at the lower end of this age range, it's worth checking out our list of coding toys for 5-7 year-olds as there are plenty of options that extend into this age range.

For a child who is keen on coding and develops their skills there can be a huge difference between the beginning of this age group and the end so for older and more experienced tween coders, look towards the bottom of this post.

  1. A Laptop

    One of the best things you can get for an 8-10 year-old who wants to seriously learn to code is their own laptop! It opens up a whole world of online and offline coding options. In this age group, many (though not all) of the coding products need to be connected to a laptop to program them so if the child you're buying for doesn't have a laptop then that might be the place to start. 

    See our guide to buying a first laptop for an 8-year-old for some advice. 

  2. Ozobot Evo - 8+

    Ozobots are mini programmable robots that follow codes drawn on paper and can also be programmed with a block-based language. There's the older (and cheaper) Ozobot Bit (age 6+) and the newer Evo model which adds sound and social features. 

    Ozobot is a great choice for kids in this age group who haven't done much coding before. It's approachable and cool. It starts simple but there's plenty of scope for more advanced stuff. 

    We love the crystal version, it looks fab and will appeal to girls, yay! (so many robots look like they have been designed for boys, grr.)

  3. Sphero Mini and BB-9E

    Sphero was one of the first brands to make programmable connected toys and they're still going strong. They've done a great job of creating products that are cool and function as tech entertainment gadgets as well as having serious educational value. 

    This year the Sphero Mini is new to the range, it's a ping-pong ball sized, more affordable version of their popular robot. At $49.99 you get a lot of functionality for the money. It's a USB rechargeable robot which can be controlled and programmed from an iOS or Android app. It's supported by the Sphero EDU app where it can be programmed with blocks and JavaScript. 

    Sphero BB-9E is the newest addition to the full-size range so if Star Wars is their thing, you're in luck, but if not, they also have similar non-branded Sphero robots including Ollie which pulls cool skateboarding-style moves. 

    Sphero full-size robots have lots of programming options including block-based languages and Apple's new Swift programming language which kids can learn with BB-9E through story-based tutorials. 

  4. Cozmo

    Cozmo is a kids robot packed with personality and the latest robotics technology. Last year Cozmo was a cool tech toy, this year Cozmo has moved on to help teach kids about coding. Cozmo now offers a drag and drop coding experience, Cozmo Coding Lab, so kids can program their robot with custom behaviours.
  5. MaKey MaKey

    MaKey MaKey is not a new product, it's pretty old in kid tech terms, but it's still great. Its simplicity means that it has aged well. MaKey MaKey allows kids to create computer inputs from conductive materials such as tinfoil, play dough, and even fruit!

    MaKey MaKey works really well with the Scratch programming environment which lots of kids learn in school and can be used with other languages too. A great choice for kids that like to make stuff and want to include a bit of coding in their projects.

    Read: Why we still love MaKey MaKey.
  6. mBot

    Makeblock's mBot is a fantastic buildable and programmable robot. We love Makeblock's products. You can read our detailed review of mBot v1.1. This robot can be programmed with a Scratch-based tool that you need to download and install. mBot is a great choice for kids who have a strong interest in technology and a bit of family support to get everything set up. Kids can progress on to programming mBot with Arduino when they are ready.

Coding Toys Gift Ideas for Other Age Groups

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