It may be last-minute, but don’t fret, I have a few ideas for toys that I think your kids will love. Best part? They will help teach your kiddos coding and engineering skills, as well as letting them use technology in the RIGHT way!
I use some of these things at school, but I think that your kids would love them especially if they’re between the ages of 6 and 12. These gadgets and tech tools can be purchased on Amazon so you can get them fairly quickly if you’re a last-minute shopper.
Merge Cube VR Technology
The Merge Cube is a foam cube that has symbols on each of the sides. When a device is aimed at the cube, the codes are read for an interactive experience. You will need either a phone, an iPad, or a tablet to use the Merge Cube. There are free apps in the App Store for the Merge Cube. One of the apps for the cube teaches kids about cells. Your kids can open up the app hold the merge cube in one hand aiming the phone at the cube with the other hand. Using VR Technology the phone will look like it is projecting a hologram onto the cube your child is holding. Kids can manipulate the merge cube in different ways and as they move it, they will see different things appear on the merge cube. For example in this app for cells, the kids would see the cells appearing on the cube. The kids can click the parts of the cell to zoom in and see more information about the parts of a cell.
Now, maybe you’re thinking “my child does not want to look at cells.” There are multiple apps for the Merge Cube and there are more coming out all the time. There is another app where students can load all of the planets onto the cube. For this app, you download the app and point the device at the cube giving kids the entire galaxy in their hand. Kids can choose each one of the planets to learn more facts and information about that planet in our solar system. They are also opportunities within some of the other apps for students to make their own world and their own items which then can be loaded onto the merge cube. The students can see their own creations as a hologram on the merge cube.
You can purchase the Merge Cube here!
Merge VR headset is available here.
The headset is not needed, but makes for a very cool experience.
The next tech gift that you may want to purchase for your child is an OzoBot. The OzoBot is a small robot that can be coded to move in different ways. The OzoBot can also be coded to perform special moves based on colors. The OzoBot comes with markers and the students draw a line which the OzoBot will follow, because of the sensors on the bottom of the robot. Students can draw a black line and the robot will simply move on this path. But, the great thing is that there are color codes included and when the kids put the colors in a specific order the robot moves on that path and performs special functions. The robot runs around $50 and a little bit more for the kit that includes prompts and tasks for the kids. This is a great way to get kids started with basic coding. You can snag the Ozobot here.
BeeBot Coding Robots
If you have really little kids and you want to get them started with coding, I would highly suggest the BeeBot. The BeeBot is a very simple coding robot that has directional symbols on the back of the bee. By pushing the buttons on the back of the BeeBot kids can control the direction that the bee moves. For example, if the kids have the bee in one position and they want the bee to end at another position, the kids can press the directional symbols on the back of the BeeBot the number of times that they would like the bee to move and once they press go, the bee will travel to the destination. This is a really fun way to get really young kids involved in coding. There are different versions of the bee available- one using batteries and another being rechargeable. The rechargeable bee is a little bit more expensive, but definitely worth the price. Some of the bees come with a kit that includes cards and a mat which will help the bee travel from one destination to another. But, this is definitely optional and not needed as you can make your own props for the bee.
You can find the BeeBot on Amazon here.
There are so many tech gifts out there for young students, but these are three that I think are wonderful and will provide your students with great opportunities to learn a bit of coding while using educational technology.