Wondering how to shape young minds obsessed with their iPads this holiday season? Show them that what’s inside the machine is as interesting as what’s on the screen.
Play is a crucial component of a child’s development process. It boosts brain development, builds creativity and can even shape the way kids think about the world.
Here are some great options to help a child on your shopping list turn screen time into tinker time.
(Ages 4+) After coloring a page, use the accompanying app to scan the page and the characters come to live on your device! Starting at just $6, this one’s a winner for all ages.
(Ages 4+) Cubelets are magnetic blocks for children ages 4+ that can be snapped together to make robots with no programming and no wires. Cubelets Six comes complete with everything inventors young and old need to start building robots
(Ages 5+) Opening their eyes to how the world around them works, Dash and Dot guide kids through the world of coding and robotics, turning ideas into adventures. You can buy Dash and Dot individually or as a pack and there’s a corresponding app for every age group, learning level and play style.
(Ages 6+ ) This board game is designed to teach kids computer science logic. Players guide their monkeys around the board using concepts like conditional statements, looping, booleans and more.
(Ages 6-12) The Kano Computer Kit is a computer anyone can make. You build and code it yourself. It’s a fun way to make, play and express your creativity with technology.
(8+) This app-enabled robotic ball is a companion to your phone or tablet and makes the basics of coding principles super fun, even the little learners can figure out basic coding that makes Sphero come to life.
(Ages 8+) Moss is a block based robot construction system. They were designed to teach the big lessons behind complex systems and design thinking. You don’t have to know how to program to play, but as kids get more comfortable with the system they can expand their experience to include reprogramming. MOSS supports Scratch and C.
(Ages 8+)MaKey MaKey was initiated by two students at the MIT Media Lab (The birthplace of Scratch) and is an invention kit for everyone. It lets kids turn everyday objects like bananas into touchpads and combines them with the power of the Internet.
(8+) littleBits is a platform of easy-to-use electronic building blocks for creating inventions large and small.
(10+) LEGO MINDSTORMS is a programmable robotics construction set that gives kids the power to build, program and command their own LEGO robots. The corresponding software allows kids to build, program and control the robot from your computer or phone.