Holiday presents for future innovators
We’re often asked for recommendations for tech toys for children. This year we’re focusing on toys that will help children become future innovators and solve some of the planets biggest problems…
Toys for a greener planet
It’s very hard to resist getting new toys for children, but many children, particularly those 6 and under may not care or notice whether a toy is new or used. If you’re averse to adding to the amount of stuff in the world, there are a few options:
Toy sharing schemes.
Better than rent the runway, how about rent the toy aisle?
Whirli allows children to borrow toys. Pay a monthly fee and get tokens which you can use to borrow toys. Whirli’s selection is terrific and offer many high end, STEM toys. Such as this magformers set or this marble run.
Whirli also has a gift card scheme.
Buy it used.
Good old ebay has a fantastic selection of gently used toys. If you have a budding engineer on your hands, Meccano or Meccano Jr. are great choices!
If you’re interested in your child exploring robotics, there are many (gently) used Lego Boost sets on ebay as well. If you’d like to read more about Lego Boost before investing, there’s a great review, here.
Coding and robotics toys to inspire
While there are lots of pre-loved things on eBay to engage your child in educational and creative ways, there is also lots of amazing stuff that’s new this year. These coding and robotics toys help develop problem-solving skills and creativity and we’re all for that!
Detective Dot MegaPack
Detective Dot was created to inspire the next generation to be coders. Aimed specifically at girls, children learn to code by guiding Dot on a series of awesome adventures. For children aged 7+
Remote control machines
Make your own machines and control them remotely! How cool. Building the machines is quite achievable even for children as young as 7 and they are super fun and rewarding to make. These are not programmable.
£53.82 on Amazon
Kano Star Wars The Force Coding kit
This actually looks pretty awesome for Star Wars fans. You can code sensors to interact with your Star Wars game. This teaches children that they can make amazing, creative things with code and that code doesn’t just have to affect things on screen. Great for ages 9 to 14.
£49.99 on Amazon (HALF-PRICE!!)
Ozobots are fun, easy to use cute little robots. Younger children will enjoy the bit following lines and colours they draw. Older children (8+) can code them using the ozobot website.
£65 on Amazon
Learn the beginnings of generative art with this old school, analog geometric drawing toy. Ages 6 to 16
£9.99 on Amazon
You can even make a coded version using our tutorial: http://help.blueshiftcoding.com/en/articles/1365041-3-0-drawing-with-sprites
Scroll:bit micro:bit kit
Make your own codeable, wearable badge! Ages 7 to 11
£42 on Pimoroni
A very easy to build, programmable micro:bit powered car. You can even buy an extra micro:bit and use it as a remote controller! Ages 10+
£39.90 on Pimoroni
Finally, if you’d like a very comprehensive list of toys to help encourage your young ones into engineering and STEM, Purdue University puts together an amazing resource.
They investigate educational toys and write up the ones they like in their engineering gift guide. It is relatively exhaustive resource of toys and books that teach design thinking, engineering and STEM skills. Download it here.
...and toys for a good causeThere are lots of charities in London that will take toys you no longer need (and help you make space for all of your new and gently used STEM toys!)
The Toy Project in N19 will take in your old toys: https://thetoyproject.co.uk/
GOSH will take some toys
Present appeal - Salvation Army: new only https://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/christmas-present-appeal
Winter Toy appeal - new only