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.
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!
Different Kinds Of Coding Toys
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.
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?