20 Toys That Introduce Kids to Computer Science

Mandy Velez | Nov 11, 2019 Shop
20 Toys That Introduce Kids to Computer Science
Image: Best Buy

Harry Potter Coding Kit
Best Buy

Screen time isn't always good for kids and it's a constant battle for moms. (For those wondering, the World Health Organization recommends no screen time for children younger than 1 and limiting it to an hour or less per day for children younger than 5.) However, situations and parenting styles vary for different reasons, and we get that. That's where the good news comes in: Screens, or simply tech, can be great for kids too. There are programs that teach them skills and videos that can help them learn about people and things they normally would not be exposed to. It can even turn them on to reading! Tech is also good for sparking or feeding an interest in computer science. STEM is often forgotten when parents think about kids' toys, but learning science and math can be fun -- and quite useful.

Fostering a skill through screens is an effective way to balance out the harm they can do. And thankfully, retailers have caught on. From robots to technology-based games to toys that specifically aim to build STEM skills, plenty of toys exist to make this happen. Computer science is a part of that, albeit a very specific STEM skill. It combines a love and knowledge of computers and wanting to know how to operate them in an advanced way. Some kids are just super into it, and other kids may not know they're good at it until they try it. Either way, we found toys to introduce kids to computer skills in a fun and accessible way. There are toys for all age-levels too, from toddler to tween and teen. 

This isn't to say that other toys are uncool or that screen in totality are bad. But if computer science and coding are skills that a child expresses interest in, there are mechanisms to give them a deeper understanding of it and help them practice.

Psst: If you purchase an item from this post, CafeMom may receive a small cut. Each item and price is up to date at the time of publication; however, an item may be sold out or the price may be different at a later date.

  • Coding Awbie Game


    Coding Awbie presents itself as "LEGO for coding." Using physical blocks to represent blocks of code is a fun way to teach children about coding concepts without overwhelming them with complex syntax rules. (Requires an iPad or Tablet but does not need W-Ffi.)

    Coding Awbie Game ($49, Amazon)

  • Coding Jam


    Coding Jam is by the same company behind the Coding Awbie Game. Functionally, the games are the same, but much like different sets of Legos that may interest certain kids more than others, this game caters to kids who enjoy music! 

    Coding Jam ($58, Amazon)

  • Kano Computer Kit 


    With the Kano Computer Kit, kids can follow a simple story style guide to build their own computer. Once it is up and running, the Kano Computer is loaded with engaging games that teach kids coding skills, including "hacking" Minecraft!

    Kano Computer Kit ($115, Target)

  • Fisher Price Code 'N Learn Kinderbot


    This toy is perfect for younger kids who want a physical toy to play with. The Kinderbot is designed to help young children gain skills for kindergarten.

    Fisher Price Code 'N Learn Kinderbot ($48, Target)

  • Hack Laptop


    Nowadays kids want their own laptops, but this can be an alarming prospect for many parents. Not only is the hack laptop design specially for teaching kids to code, but it was also awarded "Best First Laptop" by Parents magazine. 

    Hack Laptop ($299, Hack)

  • Boost Creative Toolbox


    This toy is perfect for introducing computer science to kids who already love to play with Legos. Through both the building and programming processes, kids can build STEM skills. 

    Boost Creative Toolbox ($160, Lego)

  • Thames & Cosmos Kids First Coding & Robotics 


    This "experiment" kit is a recipient of the Parents Choice Gold Award, and was a Toy of the Year Finalist for 2019. It is a wonderful way to introduce kids to computer science and has many variations for endless fun! 

    Thames & Cosmos Kids First Coding & Robotics ($100, Amazon)

  • Botley the Coding Robot Kit


    This is another screen-free toy for the younger kids. It combines a fun interactive toy with learning the underlying fundamentals of computer logic.  

    Botley the Coding Robot Kit ($60, STEM Supplies)

  • Hacker: Cybersecurity Logic Game 


    All parents worry about their children being safe on the Internet. This game helps teach tweens and teens about cyber security. It helps them learn about their safety now, and it can help inspire their career visions for later.  

    Hacker: Cybersecurity Logic Game ($25, Barnes & Noble)

  • Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit 


    This kit is loads of fun, especially for Harry Potter fans. Kids get to have their own magic wand and cast spells while learning about logic and computer science.

    Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit ($70, Best Buy)

  • Fisher Price Think and Learn Code-a-Pillar


    Aside from having a whimsical name, Code-a-Pillar is unmatched in teaching young children about the order of their commands. This toy has a fun design that reinforces what it teaches in a simple and effective way!

    Fisher Price Think and Learn Code-a-Pillar ($50, Barnes & Noble)

  • Bits & Bytes Coding Game 


    This card game is a great deal at $17. Plus, it offers a fun way of teaching computer science topics without increasing screen time for kids. 

    Bits & Bytes Coding Game ($17, Amazon)

  • Future Coders Bunny Trails 


    This toy allows younger kids to put their coding skills in action in a game-board setting. Bunny trails provides enough structure to teach children without overwhelming them. 

    Future Coders Bunny Trails ($16, Walmart)

  • Ubtech Jimu Unicorn Bot Kit 


    This is a super fun challenge for older kids who have an interest in robots. Not only will they learn about computer science and engineering at that, but they will also build something they think is really cool. 

    Ubtech Jimu Unicorn Bot Kit ($108, Kohl's)

  • Jimu Robots AstroBot Series: Cosmos Kit  


    Since not everyone is into unicorns, the Cosmos Kit offers three different designs for building in one kit. This toy teaches programming skills in a fun and interactive way.

    JIMU Robots AstroBot Series: Cosmos Kit ($150, Ubtech)

  • Piper Computer Kit


    This toy is similar to the Kano Computer Kit but is for a little more advanced learning. The computer give kids room to progress and supports all the way up through coding in Python!  

    Piper Computer Kit ($299, Amazon)

  • Room Defender Kit 


    The room defender kit is fun and affordable! It teaches kids computer science logic, but it also challenges them to play real games with it that stoke their imaginations. 

    Room Defender Kit ($20, Zulily)

  • Snap Circuit Skill Builder 


    Many toys can simplify learning logic, but it can be hard to find toys for learning about hardware. The snap circuit is a wonderful kid-friendly toy that introduces young people to circuit engineering.

    Snap Circuit Skill Builder ($28, Target)

  • StrawBees Coding and Robotics Kit 


    This is another solid choice for teens and tweens. The coding and robotics kit combines engineering and computer science concepts in a way that gives kids real and fun results! 

    StrawBees Coding and Robotics Kit ($55, Amazon)

  • Code and Go Robot Mouse 


    This robot mouse toy helps kids learn about logic and order. It is also a screen free interactive way for children to be engaged while learning. At $20, this toy is a total steal.

    Code and Go Robot Mouse ($20, Zulily)

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