It’s the tech shopping time of year, so I thought I’d share some holiday gift ideas for the cool kids in your life. I’ve had personal experience with everything on this list except the last item! Let me know if you have any favorites you would add in the comments.
Chibitronics Love to Code Interactive Binder
This microcontroller from Chibitronics and Jie Qi is super accessible since it can be programmed with MakeCode AND uses the audiojack to send programs from your device to the controller. It’s a game changer! With the addition of this supercool interactive binder, your cool kids can learn to craft paper circuits, write code, and program those paper circuits alongside some wonderfully illustrated characters by K-Fai Steele. My full review on this starter kit is coming soon!
Scratch Coding Cards – Only $10 bucks on Amazon right now!
Yes, you can download and print these cards from Scratch.mit.edu, but this deck is durable and super fun for kids interested in Scratch. In fact, I bought these for my 8 YO last year! I’ve given these cards out as gifts for other cool kids too. Scratch is a hit with kids age 6 and up. (And don’t worry, your young ones can still start coding with Scratch Jr. It is a hit with kids under 8.)
Micro:bit is another entry level microcontroller that can be programmed with Makecode! It’s super easy to use, fun, and kids love the scrolling LEDs on the front and the ability to program music (but a separate speaker component will have to be bought a la cart!) It is programmed through a USB, so a computer is needed, but it can be used with a Chromebook. (In fact, I prefer having my students program Micro:bit on the Chromebook since they can then save their programs easily in Google Drive.)
Kano Computing System (without monitor) Kano Complete System (with monitor)
I bought my 8 YO the Kano system in 2015 when she was 6 and she STILL loves it! Plus, Kano has done some great upgrades in the last two years. It’s a great first computer that will focus your kid on creating fun stuff, rather than just surfing the web. (But as a warning: I never did let mine connect to Wifi full time because of the Youtube app.)
Makey Makey paired with our #evilmakeybook and the Inventor Booster Kit
I know I’m biased on this one, but if your cool kid doesn’t already have a Makey Makey, this would be a great pairing for getting started! Throw in our #evilmakeybook, and the Inventor Booster kit and mischief is sure to be managed.
If you know someone who wants to start sewing circuits, this is a great kit to get started. Since I recently reviewed this, see the full review and projects I made with it here.
And last but not least! Something just for fun! I don’t have a Cosmo Robot by Anki (YET!), but this little AI driven robot looks pretty amazing. I’m not sure how educational it is, but it looks like a great robot toy for the 8-14 year old set.
This review talked me into getting one this holiday season!
If you are looking for some books for your cool kids, check out my post on coding books and I hope to add a post just on my favorite books soon!