In terms of technology, 2017 has been all about how to simplify our lives with the latest gadgets. For the younger generation, technology is only getting more important, particularly as the kids of today become the job-seeking grown-ups of tomorrow. According to the Labor Department, the latest Occupational Outlook Handbook predicts a 13% increase for job opportunities in computer and information technology in the next 10 years alone. It may seem early to prepare our kids for those opportunities, but the effort will be well worth it.
Across the country, schools are doing their best to develop curriculums that will give our children the tools they need to thrive in our rapidly changing world. What can we as parents do, particularly given the fact that many of us lack the skills or knowledge to educate our children on these topics? In the past decade, plenty of toys have been developed that teach a foundation in computer processes. If you want to get your children (or any children in your life) a holiday gift that will set them on the road to tech, check out some of these brain-developing gadgets.
In the past, there weren’t many toys available for younger children to learn coding, but now, you can find toys to get them started as young as 3 years old. If you’re interested in getting your toddler on the tech trail, the Code-a-Pillar is a wonderful option.
Computer programming relies heavily on telling the computer exactly what you want it to do. Code-a-Pillar is an adorable, developmentally friendly toy that teaches your child to code by rearranging the pieces and commanding it where to go. Since it comes with several direction- based pieces, this cute toy can complete more complex movements as your child’s instructions intensify. The bright lights and sounds in the toy’s design help make coding fun.
Can you imagine what your life would be like if you had made your first computer at 6 years old? Neither can we, but our kids can, and we have a feeling it’s awesome.
Kano was created with children of ages 6 and older in mind. This “build a computer” kit enables children to make apps, work on coding, practice hacking, or make music. The instruction manual provides step-by-step instructions for your children to create their first computer. Kano also helps you learn about computer hardware, in addition to coding. And the best part? It’s great for learners of all ages — and don’t say you aren’t secretly tempted, too!
BOOST Creative Toolbox, $159.99
As your children learn more about how computers work, their thirst for challenges will increase. Designed to help those between the ages of 7 and 12, BOOST Creative Toolbox can fill that need. If building a computer is cool, building a robot is awesome. An interest in technology takes many forms, and this toy offers a great gateway into the world of robotics. Please note that a tablet is required to use this toy.
Wow Wee Coji Educational Robot, $59.99
If you don’t have a tablet, the adorable Wow Wee Coji Educational Robot offers just as much fun without one.
For younger children, this adorable toy communicates through emojis and sounds. While it works just fine on its own, to get the full learning experience, users need to download the learning app. The app interacts with the robot almost instantly, to provide hours of fun for kids who are just getting started with the concept of computer interaction.
Older children can use the app to develop macro sequences that can be saved to watch COJI move and respond in real time. But one of the coolest features is “drive mode,” which allows you to use COJI like other remote toys. Within the app, COJI provides a variety of games, giving children the tools to walk it through a maze sequence. In addition to coding, this toy promotes problem-solving, directions, and how to read signs and symbols.
The job market is changing, which, for those of us who weren’t born into tech, can be a little intimidating. Introducing your children to computer systems early in life can relieve some of that stress. You don’t have to know how to code to make sure your kids have the skills to navigate the tech world — hey, you might end up learning just as much from the toys as they do.
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