6 Things You Can Get Kids to Encourage Interest in Technology

Want to encourage your kids to take an interest in technology? There are toys and games that can help you, even if your kid is pretty young.

Maker Kits

A maker kit is a little construction kit. Less artsy than craft kits, maker kits emphasize science and tech. You might build a little machine that runs on marbles, a gear box that turns itself off, electronics that can control TVs remotely, and more. Here are some examples.

With this kit, you’re lost in space and need to learn to rewire a circuit to get out—and the kit has all the tools to teach you how.

You can even get monthly maker boxes. KiwiCo, for example, has both maker and craft boxes for all age groups.

Board Games

There are some board games out there that teach programming concepts to kids as young as four. In Robot Turtles, players program robots to gather gems. In Quirky Circuits, players play cards to tell robots how to navigate around a room. In Pixoid, players issue commands to their board game pieces to move around a board chasing a bug. CodeBots teaches logic to players. Code Master has players use programming logic to beat levels. You get the idea.

Minecraft STEM Lab

If your kids are already playing Minecraft, why not teach them some science while they’re there? Using the book Minecraft STEM Lab, you can guide your kids through in-game projects and experiments such as building a working dam, engineering piston machines, and building a working lab. There are also activities for outside the game, such as creating an electromagnet, using milk and soap to make fireworks, and designing a Martian habitat.

Gravity Mazes

Gravity mazes are both mazes and marble toys. But really, they’re logic puzzles. You build out your maze, then place sections to help your marble get to its target location. You can free-build, or you can use one of the challenges that comes in the booklet.

Coding Robots

A coding robot is a robot that takes instructions in the form of code. Depending on the robot you buy, you might have to program it to stop at walls, turn at specific coloured gates, move for only a certain amount of time, and more. Many companies make these—for example, Sphero or Learning Resources. Best of all, there are different robots suitable for all age groups. You can get kids as young as five learning about coding with these toys.

Educational Video Games

There are many video games that teach kids things like coding, logic, creativity, and critical thinking. Kodable teaches kids coding concepts and can be used at school and home. ScratchJr lets kids create their own interactive stories and games. In codeSpark Academy you have what looks more like traditional lessons, but they’re gamified. CodeMonkey teaches kids text- and block-based coding, at higher levels teaching them Python and CoffeeScript. With Code Karts kids can program race karts and their pathing. All of these are fun ways to introduce kids to coding in a low-stakes way.