Monday, 29 October 2018

New Coding Toys for 2018

Coding toys are still going strong for 2018. In this post, we take a look at what's new this year so you can find the very latest products that teach kids to code. We'll take a look at the new offerings from all of our favourite brands such as Sphero, KANO and Wonder Workshop.

Learning Resources Botley

Learning Resources have an extensive range of educational products for younger children. In recent years they have added coding toys and Botley is their new coding robots for this year.

Botley is a floor robot that is programmed using a remote control and comes with a range of accessories. Botley is screen-free, no tablet required.

Botley is designed for children aged 5-9 and you can find out more in our hands-on review.

Thames & Kosmos Kids First Coding and Robotics

The Kids First Coding and Robotics kit includes Sammy, a floor robot that scans physical coding cards and then runs the program. 

The kit also includes building blocks so you can build different robots on the same base. Another novel feature is the gear that allows you to build a grabber or moving arms. 

The Coding and Robotics kit is designed for children aged 4+. 

Sphero BOLT

Sphero made one of the first modern programmable educational robots for children. They have regularly released new versions of the robotic ball. 

This year's new model is the Sphero BOLT, an update on the SPRK+ which adds a programmable LED grid and additional sensors. 

Sphero is for kids aged around 8+ but some younger kids will enjoy it too. There's lots of educational content available and the new LEDs and sensors add lots of additional possibilities for play and learning. 

KANO Harry Potter Wand

The KANO Harry Potter Wand is a firm favourite for this year from Tech Age Kids. It's a programmable wand that works with a tablet app.

Kids can use drag and drop blocks to create apps that can be controlled using a wand which has sensors and a coloured LED light. The apps use graphics from the Harry Potter universe. Kids learn to code using themed challenges and can then create their own projects.

See our hands-on review of the KANO Harry Potter Wand.

Wonder Workshop Sketch Kit

Dash & Dot and their new older sibling Cue are well-established coding robots for kids. They are here to stay. This year's new addition is the Sketch Kit, a programmable drawing add-on for Dash and Cue.

This is a great add-on. In our experience, kids always find a way to add a pen to a floor robot so that it can draw. An official add-on with activity cards and support in the app is a great idea.

Dash is designed for children aged around 6+ while Cue targets the 11+ age group with more sophisticated coding and drawing.

LEGO Boost - new compatible sets

LEGO Boost is a great beginner construction and coding kit for kids aged around 7-12.

This year LEGO have released two new sets that are compatible with LEGO Boost. This means that as well as being able to build the models that come with Boost you can use the electronics with these new set.

The LEGO Ninjago Stormbringer Dragon and the LEGO City Arctic Scout Truck can be used with LEGO Boost to turn them into programmable robotic toys.

Let's Start Coding 

Let's Start Coding make beginner electronics board for children which introduce them to text-based coding and the Arduino platform.

We have previously reviewed their Starter and Ultimate Kits and their Code Car. They have now added a Rocket, Piano and Speaker to their range.

These kits are suitable for children aged 8+ who are looking for something a little more challenging.

UBTech Jimu UnicornBot

UBTech's Jimu range of buildable robots has been extended this year. We particularly like the UnicornBot which features purple blocks and will appeal to girls and we suspect lots of boys too. 

The UnicornBot has a horn with a programmable coloured LED as well as a colour sensor that can be used to trigger behaviours using coloured objects. 

The UnicornBot is recommended for children aged 8+ who enjoy construction as well as wanting to learn to code. 

Find more Coding Toys from the last few years.

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