This piece originally appeared on Uncubed.
We’re old enough to remember when educational games were limited to the back of a box of cereal. But a whole new generation of kids are lucky enough to have access to teaching toys, games, and gadgets that are actual fun. We’ve got 11 of the best toys around that help children learn coding and tech skills.
Dash and Dot
The one-eyed, talking robots Dash and Dot integrate with iOS and Android devices to help teach kids ages 5 and up coding skills. Responding to light and sound, and sensing objects around them, the devices must be programmed to interact with the world around them.
The programmable friendship bracelets from Jewelbots aim to make coding accessible to pre-teen girls. After a successful Kickstarter campaign which featured an endorsement from no less an authority than Bill Nye, the wearables will ship this summer.
Sphero SPRK Edition
You may recognize Sphero from their 2015 holiday hit BB-8, but it’s not all fun and games. The Sphero SPRK Edition promises to teach robotics, coding, and STEM principles through a C-based kid-friendly language called OVAL.
Launched on Kickstarter earlier this month, Mover Kit is an unassembled wearable that allows kids to create their own integrated apps, accessing the device’s accelerometer, magnetometer, and LEDs.
Tinker by Kiwi Crate
Kiwi Crate offers a series of subscription boxes for kids, and their Tinker Crate, intended for ages 9 – 16, includes a new STEM project every month.
Pairing with a tablet or computer, Puzzlets looks like an old-fashioned tile game but actually introduces complex coding and programming challenges. Kids use the tiles to move characters through 120 progressively more difficult levels.
One of the biggest players in bringing STEM to girls, GoldieBlox have outgrown their feud with the Beastie Boys to focus on bringing erector set-like toys that aim to close the gender gap in engineering.
Code Monkey Island
Yes, an old-fashioned board game can actually teach coding skills. Code Monkey Island uses the logic required to do basic programming while helping your monkey score more bananas.
The Cubetto from Primo Toys combines old fashioned wooden block toys with robotics. Without using words, or screens, the Cubetto robot hopes to make abstract programming ideas accessible to all.
The Kano lets kids assemble their own actual computer, using a Raspberry Pi-powered board, basic wiring, and modular display unit.
Not to be confused with the teenage mutants, Robot Turtles is a board game and ebook that teaches the fundamentals of programming to kids aged 3 – 8.