05 January 2016

Are Coding Toys Good for Kids?

There is a new type of toy on the market – those that focus on coding and computer science. They are geared toward younger kids, explains an expert from DevelopIntelligence, so that they can become interested in computer science before society and peers tells them that it’s nerdy. 
Some critics argue that these toys (robots, for example, that respond to kids’ instructions) stifle children’s development and that kids are meant to create from their imaginations. Others say that showing kids complex concepts like coding can frustrate them early on and make them not want to code or be involved in computer science, which is the opposite of what the toys are meant to do. 
There is also little known about how the toys affect children’s long-term development or their brain development over time. The toys are so new that there is just no way to gauge whether purchasing these toys for kids makes sense. 
Nader Hamda is an entrepreneur that has started a few tech and toy companies. He got worried when he saw that his two daughters spent a long time alone with their tablets. Ozobot was then born, which is a small robot that kids can program together. Hamda said, “‘I wanted to recreate the experience of the family game night, where the whole family is huddled around the game.’”

Children can draw various colored shapes and lines to program the Ozobot. The Ozobot is smaller than a golf ball. Kids versed in Blockly, a Google programming language, can program Ozobot in that language and see what their code looks like in Javascript, which is used on websites. About 400 schools use Ozobot to teach coding, which is a testament to the importance the country is placing on computer science education.

So if you’re thinking about whether you should buy a coding toy for your kids, or you’re worried about what these toys might do to their social life, consider that you could purchase something like the Ozobot for them that they can work on together. Coding is going to be a big part of their educations and quite possibly their working lives, and giving them a head start can certainly not hurt.

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post.

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