As a father of three, I know that summer can be tough with the kids. Sure, camps, neighborhood playdates, and summer workbooks help but there’s never enough to keep our kids occupied. If you have a child who is interested in STEM, tech might be the answer. Here are three cool STEM kits that combine tech, fun, and learning and could help cure some of that summertime boredom.
Think & Learn Code-a-pillar
Fisher Price is known for classic toys but that doesn’t mean they’re not developing new ideas. The Code-a-pillar takes a fun toy and adds the basics of programming. This isn’t for older kids but it can teach young kids how to sequence code together. Select the pieces, connect them, and the caterpillar will move across the floor based on the order you connected them. Kids think it’s a simple, fun toy but they’re actually learning.
mCookie Itty Bitty City
If your kids love Lego, look into Itty Bitty City. It combines a small computer, sensors, motors, and LED lights with Lego-compatible bricks. Using the included instructions you can build a working lighthouse, a mechanical piggy bank, and even a smart car. The included computer “brain” can be reprogrammed with your PC to control the various build projects. The best part is, your kids can create their own robots using these pieces and their existing Legos.
Kano Computer Kit
The Kano Computer Kit asks older kids to build the included mini computer. It’s not difficult, but it adds a fun element to the experience. Once built, it connects to a TV and boots up a special version of Linux. Various apps are included to teach basic and advanced programming. You can program a game of pong or even learn how to hack Minecraft. Additional modules, such as a camera, a screen, and a speaker, are available to add functionality. It’s advanced, but a perfect way to spark that older kid’s imagination.
Kirk Yuhnke is a father of three, self-admitted technology geek, and morning news anchor on Fox31’s Good Day Colorado.