Kids like to tinker, and that might be one thing many of them are struggling with as all of their interactions these days seem to be through a computer screen versus just being able to play with things and with others.
But while day to day circumstances are different in 2020, they don’t have to be completely different.
Cool Gadgets for Kids
Even though virtual, on-screen learning is the way of today and the foreseeable future, there is still a way to take virtual learning to the next level so that kids can also enjoy hands-on experiences.
1. Sphero BOLT
A ball would be too basic of a gift, right? A robot might sound too complex? But what if I told you a remote controlled robotic ball is an incredible gadget many kids can easily lose themselves in?
To sweeten the deal, they’ll even learn programming concepts along the way (though they may be having too much fun to notice!).
It’s the Sphero BOLT, and it’s just that—a robotic, programmable ball equipped with sensors, an LED matrix, and an app that lets kids get hands-on with coding and tech. This lively bot rocks and rolls its way through mazes and around obstacles. Its built-in LED matrix, speed, and directional sensors allow kids to problem-solve while getting introduced to real-world robotics and visual coding.
- Learn more about the Bolt
- What is Sphero and How Does it Work?
- Recommended course: Sphero Bolt for Scratch
2. Sphero RVR
Now, if the Sphero BOLT sounds as cool to you as I intended it to be, what if you could take all of that and then some with a programmable, extensible, remote controlled vehicle?
3. Oculus Quest 2
While a gadget in-hand can elevate a kid’s entertainment experience in the real world, imagine all they can do in virtual reality?
The Oculus Quest 2 is an all-in-one VR headset that has everything kids need to play, build, and develop VR experiences. They can create their own games, craft experiences, and build levels with a whole new level of immersion.
- Learn more about Oculus Quest 2
- Recommended tutoring course: Oculus for Unity with C#
- Recommended summer course Unity VR Development
4. Wacom One Tablet
Art and animation are fun activities for most kids. But one potential hurdle is that some young creators might not be equipped to take their ideas from sketches to practical, shareable, and scalable realities.
So, the Wacom One is a tablet built for drawing and beyond. Whether kids are sketching out ideas or leveling up their digital art and animation, this tablet’s focus on usability was designed to feel more like drawing on paper than a screen. Old school meets new tech in this colorful gadget.
- Learn more about Wacom One
- Recommended course: Wacom One Tablet for Photoshop
- Recommended lesson: Photoshop tutoring
5. Monoprice MP Cadet
This is a 3D printer. But before you move on with the thinking that you don’t have the room for a 3D printer, or that your kids don’t have the patience to create anything cool, stop right there!
First of all, the Monoprice MP Cadet is an auto-leveling and completely wireless 3D printer designed for students and beginners. It’s perfect for 3D printing newbies. Learn the ins-and-outs of 3D printing with this compact and user-friendly device.
And then in terms of creating, check out Autodesk Maya, the powerful tool of the pros, to custom-design prints when ready, or Blender as a great free alternative, and an open source software popular among indie game developers and hobbyists for a variety of 3D modeling tools and capabilities.
Perhaps the ultimate gadget for kids? It’s got to be in the top ten. With a micro:bit, kids can literally hold the power of code in their hands.
Using a credit card-sized board, kids can build games and other programmable creations. It’s the perfect way to make sometimes abstract coding concepts tangible and rewarding to learn.
Not to mention that with the micro:bit with Expansion Kit, all of this can be combined for use with Sphero BOLT and RVR mentioned above. For more experienced, techies, that’s a powerful, engaging combination!
7. VEX V5
If all of this robotics talk has you excited to get a gadget in your kids hands, and you want something a little bit more traditional on the bot front, check out VEX!
The VEX V5 allows kids to tinker with information-gathering sensors and the creation of moving parts - like wheels and claw arms - thanks to motors. Both controlled and autonomous robots can be created, and powered to pick-up objects and perform other functions.
8. LEGO SPIKE Prime
While you might not label the traditional LEGO product a “gadget,” that all changes when working with the LEGO SPIKE Prime Education Set.
A robust system with over 500 LEGO elements, kids can use block coding and the multi-port programmable Hub while fine-tuning critical-thinking and complex problem solving. Motors, sensors, light matrix—it’s all there!
All of these gadgets provide engaging, hands-on experiences in technology, which is ideal when learning something new or building on a budding hobby. Kids learn best when they can see the impact of their skills, and, especially in STEM, those impacts can be amazing.
If your child is enthusiastic about all things tech, check out this guide to getting started with Hour of Code! Then, keep the learning going year-round with expert guidance with iD Tech 12-Week Semesters and Online Private Lessons.