Updated: Jan 9, 2020
As a dad and a computing teacher, the most common questions parents ask me at this time of the year are around the best Christmas coding toys and gifts for kids who love tech. In my personal opinion, the best toys are those that engage kids long enough and teach them along the way.
As part of my job, I research coding and robotics toys and test them with hundreds of kids. Here are my
top 5 Christmas gift ideas that teach kids how to code and allow them to express their creativity, all while balancing screen time with offline activities.
6 - 12 years, £43, 4 out of 5 stars
Ozobot Bit is a multi-award winning miniature robot, a great gift for a 6-year-old as much as it is for a 12-year-old! Coding is not always on screen. With these mini-robots, you can code offline using Colour Codes, or on an app/website online. It is the perfect gift for young people who want to start coding in a fun way! We recommend buying the Washable Color Code Markers along with the Ozobot (£5.30)
8 - 12 years, £94.3 using code RIVAPRIZES (usual price £154.8)
Our students cannot stop using these devices to create, invent and build. It effortlessly combines the physical and digital worlds. Sam Labs, along with our next gift recommendation, is probably the best robotics and coding kit for kids we’ve seen in terms of engaging and teaching them how to code and how to experiment in the physical world.
Whether it’s building an automatic, smart night lamp or building and coding your own remote-controlled car, Sam Labs is certainly one of the most loved activities in our classes
8 - 12 years, £49.99 at 50% off for a limited time, 4.8 out of 5 stars on amazon.com
LittleBits claims that this is the ultimate kit for kids who want to invent, solve problems and learn how to code. Well, we tend to agree, at least for beginners! This coding kit comes with 12 guided activities, sensors, mounting boards, LED lights, motors etc, but your imagination is the only limit when it comes to what you can create with it. The LittleBits website has tons of other project ideas to explore.
11 - 17 years, £39.59, 5 out of 5 stars
11-16 years, £33.99, 4.6 out of 5 stars
Who does not like a flying robot, well a drone … grown-ups do too. Take control of a mini robot and a floating camera as you have loads of fun. A drone is easy to break, so we’ve chosen one that does not break your bank and still packs in a lot.
Before you buy, please check out the new regulation around flying drones - the online theory test and adult supervision for under 13s.
Let your child discover the world from a different perspective!
At Riva Learning, we are a bunch of computing teachers who are passionate about developing young people to solve hard, real-life problems using technology. Our coding and robotics courses are carefully designed to encourage essential 21st-century skills - creativity, design thinking and critical reasoning, as kids learn how to code and have fun.