Thursday, 9 November 2017

Top Coding Toys and Gifts for Tweens Aged 10-11-12: Expert Picks

This is our list of top coding toys and gifts for the tween age group: 10, 11 and 12-year-olds. By this age, a lot of kids are getting quite tech savvy. There's a big range of skills and some kids will prefer to work in drag and drop environments while others will be ready for a text-based approach. 

We've included a range of choices including some that offer block-based coding and text-based coding as many children will make the transition while they are in this age group. 

  1. A BBC micro:bit

    The BBC micro:bit is a programmable mini computer that can be programmed with a variety of languages. The micro:bit is packed with sensors and inputs and can be used to make cool gadgets as well as in science experiments. It's really inexpensive too.

    The micro:bit is really adaptable to different age ranges as it can be used with drag and drag blocks or a choice of text-based programming languages. You can start off with simple projects and get much more advanced. See also: BBC micro:bit Starter Kits.

  2. Meccano MAX Robot - 10+

    Meccano (Erector) have really focused on teaching kids robotics and coding in recent years. M.A.X. is their new robot kit for kids aged 10+. M.A.X. does require some assembly but not as much as their earlier Meccanoid robots (which are fab but do require some serious assembly time!) M.A.X has artificial intelligence features and voice control and can be used as an interactive tech toy. M.A.X. can also be programmed from an app. M.A.X. is a great mainstream, big gift choice with entertainment value and plenty of opportunities to develop STEM skills.

  3. KANO Harry Potter Wand

    The Harry Potter Wand kit from KANO is a perfect gift for Harry Potter fans. Not only do you get a very cool wand, you learn skills to code it and make your own spells. You build the wand and then use the KANO app to program it. The wand connects to the device via Bluetooth.
    Read our full hands-on review of the KANO Harry Potter Wand.
  4. Let's Start Coding - 8-10+

    Let's Start Coding make their own custom beginner hardware boards for kids that can be programmed in a web browser. Their new Car Kit takes the same approach. Kids use real text-based Arduino C code but are given starter projects so they don't have to do too much typing. See our review of Let's Start Coding. (Car Kit review coming soon.) A great choice for kids who have tried other coding products for kids and are ready for something a bit more grown up but not too hard to get started with.

  5. UBTECH Jimu Unicorn Codable Robot

    The Jimu Unicorn is a lovely purple buildable and codable robot by UBTECH. They are well known for making good quality and child-friendly kits. You need the app to build and code the unicorn, which comes with colour sensers, servos for movement and RGB light in the horn of the creature.

  6. Wonder Workshop Cue Robot - 11+

    Wonder Workshop has introduced a new robot to their range and this time it's for older children. Cue is designed for children aged 11 and up and comes in more grown-up colour schemes. Cue is packed with AI-driven personality. Kids can program Cue using drag and drop blocks or text-based JavaScript.

    Wonder Workshop doesn't put out new products every year, Cue is likely to be around for a while so it's worth making the investment. The brand also has a big focus on community with competitions and challenges to keep kids trying new things with their robots. Read more about CleverBot Cue

  7. Snapino - 12+

    Snap Circuits is a fantastic educational electronics kit range. This year Snapino has been added to the range to allow kids to program Snap Circuits projects using the Arduino programming environment. See our review of Snapino. We liked it a lot as a first introduction to using Arduino. Snapino is a great choice for kids who have already used Snap Circuits and have some experience of coding.

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