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25 December 2017

FEATURE: Top 5 ways to get kids coding


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Other than, y'know, nuclear winter survival, there is no other set of skills that will better prepare children for our tech-dependant future than coding. Learning to code is now part of the national curriculum, but there are far more fun ways to get your kids interested in it while at home. Here are five companies currently making products that help get kids coding.



Kano


Kano make computers that kids can build themselves, hooking up screens, keyboards and dongles to the Raspberry Pi. We've previously reviewed the original Kano kit, and also the screen kit, but since then the company has released other clever bits of tech for kids such as a a build-yourself digital camera, and an all-in-one computer set with a battery. The included software makes getting started in coding easy, and even applies the basics to a good old game of Minecraft.

Visit kano.me


Creoqode


We really enjoyed reviewing the Creoqode 2048, a handheld games console that you build yourself (in a far more involved way than the above Kano, we must point out). Running off a Creoqode Mini Mega Development Board, using Arduino software, you can programme your own simple games, or download ones already coded by members of the Creoqode community. Recently they've also brought out the 'Nova', a robotic face that... well, check it out at...

www.creoqode.com


Primo Toys


Cubetto, Primo Toys' only product, is a box-like robot that kids can programme to move using plastic shapes which they slot into a command board. There is no computer, no Arduino, no smartphone app: just the wooden bot itself, a bag of pieces, and the wooden board. The point is to get children thinking about the outcome of setting commands, and how special instructions can be used to get different results. It is coding, but with tactile and pleasing shapes. We loved reviewing it.

Visit www.primotoys.com


Technology Will Save Us


Definitely the best company name on this short list, Technology Will Save Us produce DIY packs of tech of varying kinds, from a kit to detect when a plant is in need of water, to a handheld gamer that you have to code yourself. We've reviewed a couple of kits from them now, but we have to mention the DIY Gamer Kit. Running on an Arduino, children can programme it to play very simple games, display messages, and also blink and flash. Bags of fun (although get the pre-soldiered kit if you can!).

Visit www.techwillsaveus.com


SAM Labs


Using Bluetooth connected smart blocks, which each preform a specific kind of action, kids can set up a huge sequence of coding fun. We've reviewed their Curious Cars set, which sees the maker creating different kinds of cars to be driven around via app or laptop. As well as the smart blocks, the included software makes drag-and-drop coding very easy, and it was a cinch to master.

Visit www.samlabs.com




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