Are Toys That Teach Kids How To Code Necessary In Today’s Electronic World?

Are Learn To Code Toys Necessary


Toys that teach kids how to code are becoming more and more popular and some would even say necessary in our technology driven world.

But do children really need these types of toys for general learning and development?  I don’t believe they do.  Especially young children.  So don’t feel bad if you aren’t getting the latest and greatest coding toy for your 3 year old.

That being said I do believe from a “learning toy” perspective these types of toys are better than some of the other toys on the market.

I am not a fan of toys for babies, toddlers and children under the age of 4 that claim they will teach your child the alphabet, numbers, counting, shapes, colors and who knows what else by pushing buttons as the only form of interaction with the toy.

 

Electronic toys for toddlers

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Benefits of Learning To Code Toys

  • teach problem solving
  • develop and fine tune sequencing skills
  • great for working on perseverance
  • can promote teamwork when children are using the toy with peers
  • develop critical thinking skills and higher level reasoning
  • perfect for promoting STEM concepts

Are Learn To Code Toys Necessary For Children Growing Up Today?

Bottom line:  No these toys are not necessary.  Your child will develop just fine without these types of toys.  There is no research showing that children who have access to these types of toys are smarter or any better than children who don’t.

What these toys may help with are with motivation to develop a “coding” mindset.  A child may really enjoy being able to make a robot animal reach an end goal.  It can be a lot of fun for some children.

I quickly mentioned some of the benefits of coding toys, but I won’t go into any drawbacks of toys that teach kids to code because there really aren’t any, other than maybe technical issues with a specific toy.

These toys are typically marketed to kids ages 3 and up, but most are meant for children over the age of 5.  By the age of 5 children should have a solid foundation of speech and language skills that have been acquired through play and interacting with others. Therefore they may be ready for learn to code toys.

Don’t worry, your child will not be missing out on certain skill developments because he does not have any coding toys.  This does not mean she will never become a software developer.  There are many skills that are required of a software developer but these can be learned in a variety of different ways, not simply through learn to code toys.

And the opposite may also be true.  You can expose your child to all sorts of coding toys yet he may end up being an artist.

My husband is a software developer and when he was growing up, toys that teach kids to code did not exist.  Yet he managed to learn this skill as a young adult and has been working in the industry for about 20 years!

I really doubt he would be a better programmer if only he would have had access to toys that teach coding to young kids.  He has told me that the skill set a software developer needs is being able to think logically, sequence events, solve problems, analyze, etc.

Children first developing all of these skills through play, both adult guided and unstructured and child led!

toys that teach kids how to code

Different Kinds Of Coding Toys

I recently wrote an article about the Fisher-Price Code-A-Pillar.  This toy would be considered an entry level learn to code toy.  You can read my article about it here.

Another coding toy that I have heard quite a bit about (and the reviews are all great) is the Code and Go Robot Mouse Activity Set by Learning Resources.  This toy is recommended for children between the ages of 5 and 15 whereas the Code-A-Pillar is for children ages 3 to 8.

The Code and Go Robot Mouse set can be purchased directly through Learning Resources here or through Amazon.  Make sure to check Amazon first as they sometimes have it on sale depending on your location.

Amazon STEM Club Review

What Are Your Thoughts On Coding Toys For Kids?

I wouldn’t worry too much about having coding toys in the house.  Speech and language development occurs best through play, joint reading and listening to and having conversations with adults and peers.

However, if you are looking for a gift for your child or another child and are having a hard time coming up with something that the child doesn’t already have, then toys that teach kids how to code are a good backup.

These types of toys are quite costly.  Not everyone can afford them.  But there are so many other ways your child can develop these types of skills through play without these high tech “learning” toys.

I have only mentioned 2 specific toys here, but there are many others available for varying age groups.

Do you feel children are at an advantage with these toys, or do you believe that these types of skills can be learned in other, more traditional ways?


Do children benefit from coding toys? Does early exposure to learn to code toys help in the future? Here are the answers to those and similar questions

6 Comments

  1. Michelle

    I have a different take on this whole coding generation. I see my younger children who are hacking code in computer games and learning at school, learning a skill that is going to be a necessary evil in the future world. From what is see, so many things are technology based, and it seems that everyone needs a computer whiz for their business, and it’s these kids that are quickly ‘ruling the world’ especially in the income bracket. I told my older teens they’d better watch out because in 5-10 years their education will be ‘old school’ and I think you know how much us ‘old schoolers’ are hanging on by a thread now. It may not be as relevant where you live, but here in NY you need to have every set of skills, all computer programs are a given, you are usually doing the job of at least 3 people and are expected to work till midnight with no pay and weekends. Technology is set to take away almost 60% of the jobs as we know today in the next decade or so which as you can imagine this will change the world’s economic climate if people are no longer relevant to work.

    As much as I don’t see the need for kids to learn to code, just remember there are kids who already can and it’s giving them an extreme edge. One of my daughters studied day and night to earn herself a full scholarship to the 3rd top prep school in the States, she achieved a full scholarship to Cornell, and is struggling tremendously because she will never touch the geniuses the school is filled with.

    As a parent in this day and age I do think its necessary to expose your child to every kind of learning, especially if it’s education and they like it, all the better. Our children are growing up with more competition than we can every imagine, and I think we must make sure they will be equipped.

    Reply
    1. Tanya (Post author)

      Hi Michelle,

      Thanks for your great comment. I actually live in a small area of Canada that the media often refers to as “The Silicon Valley of The North”, and like I said in the article, my husband is a software developer.

      The main point I wanted to get across with this article is that these are just toys. They are not necessary to build the foundations needed later on. A computer programmer needs certain skills such as analytical thinking, problem solving, prediction, etc. A child can and should learn these skills through play while they are young. And no matter how many “coding” toys you expose a young child too, they may not have the interest. A child raised in a family of doctors and lawyers may choose to become neither of those.

      In the end it is all about learning basic skills that other skills can be built off of. I stumbled upon this article that you might find interesting https://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/2015/dec/02/schools-that-ban-tablets-traditional-education-silicon-valley-london. It’s all about how some employees of tech giants, including Google, are choosing to send their children to schools where they do not allow technology in education, even into the higher grades. It’s a very interesting read.

      As more studies are being done into how the human brain develops and how children develop we are learning that you can’t skip things in order to create the next Einstein.

      Don’t get me wrong, I am not against toys that teach kids how to code, but I don’t want parents feeling they are holding their child back by not buying them these toys. Remember, the toys that I am talking about are geared to 3-8 year olds.

      Reply
  2. Lori @Savedbythemommy

    Great post! I have heard of both of these toys and wondered about getting them for my 4 year old son. I wish I could actually play with these toys myself before actually purchasing them for him. They do seem unnecessary. I probably would buy another toy for him over these unless I heard from multiple people that their children really enjoy these toys.

    Reply
    1. Tanya (Post author)

      Thanks Lori! I am sure your son would love one of these toys that teach kids how to code because kids love toys. The message I am hoping to get across with this article is that a child does not need to have these types of toys in order to make it in today’s society. Yes, they do teach valuable skills such as prediction and problem solving, but there are other ways that children can learn these skills as well. Please let me know if you do decide to get one of these coding toys.

      Reply
  3. Steph

    Very interesting read… I wasn’t even aware that these kinds of toys existed. Maybe I just don’t know enough about them, but it seems very weird to me. I mean it’s great I guess, that these skills are being taught… but does a five year old really need them?

    There’s no way they know at five years old that they want that type of career. Anyway, like I said maybe it’s that I don’t know enough about them but I agree with you, totally unnecessary.

    Reply
    1. Tanya (Post author)

      Thanks Steph! You are right, a 5 year old does not NEED a coding toy. However, as I mentioned in the post these toys do teach some great skills such as problem solving, prediction and STEM concepts.

      Reply

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