Five o f the best
Kids just don’t know how lucky they are these days!
1 Botley, The Coding Robot $79.99 learningresources.com
The award-winning Botley is a really simple robot, designed for five- to nineyear-old children. If you don’t have an iPhone or iPad, fear not, as it doesn’t need one to work; you use coding cards to control it instead. It can follow lines you draw on paper, and use sensors to avoid obstacles.
2 LEGO Mindstorms EV3 $349.99 lego.com
It’s worth taking time to shop around, as prices for the EV3 seem to vary depending on where you look. It’s a seriously good kit, capable of building several different types of robot, and includes smart sensors that you can program and control using the EV3 app for both Mac and iOS devices.
3 Meccano Mecca Spider $99.99 meccano.com
There’s a wide range of Meccano robot kits, mostly in the $100-$200 ballpark, but the Mecca Spider is our favorite. At 7.5in high, 16in wide and 18in long, it’s enough to give you nightmares, and the Meccano app includes some built-in games, too.
4 Osmo Explorer Game Kit $197 playosmo.com
The Osmo Explorer Kit is a great learning toy that includes a special iPad docking station, along with six games that allow your child to learn about subjects like coding, drawing and physics. You can expand it with other games, including Coding Jam for music.
5 Sw ift Playgrounds Free bit.ly/swiftplgr
The Swift Playgrounds app (iPad only, but also completely free) was introduced by Apple in order to help children — typically those between eight to 12 — to get started with programming. You can also use Swift to program some of the robots Apple sells on its online store, and at retail.