The Best Computer Kits for Kids

By Rebecca / January 26, 2017
Best Computer Kits for Kids

Computer kits are an excellent way to begin building your child’s STEM skills. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These are all vital subject areas that play a critical role in your child’s development and future.

STEM is a curriculum that is designed to teach your children in an interdisciplinary and applied approach. You combine fun with learning, and it helps improve your child’s skills as well as memory functions. STEM lessons focus on real-world problems and teach children to come up with solutions to these problems. Children receive a hands-on learning experience while being given the opportunity to explore and think through problems to come to a solution.

STEM also encourages social development as well as teamwork.

STEM toys encourage:

  • Innovation
  • Creativity
  • Learning
  • Imagination
  • Cause and effect thinking
  • Observation
  • Practical experience

Price Guide

$

Under $100

$$

$100-$200

$$$

$200 or more


For Toddler-Aged Children

Fisher Price Think and Learn Code-a-Pillar

The Fisher Price Think and Learn Code-a-Pillar will help your child learn letter identification, categorization, objects, and properties. The point of this toy is for the child to configure the segments so that the Code-a-Pillar can reach its targets. This toy is one of the bestsellers of robotics kits.

To Play

The child connects the segments to make the Code-a-Pillar move forward, left, or right, and as it does, each segment will begin to light up.

Skills the Child Can Learn
  • Problem-solving
  • Planning
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Sequencing

Price

$$

Recommended Age Group

Three and up

Key Features                                                                                        

Motorized head, lights, sounds, and blinking eyes


Lite Poppers STEM Learning 3 in 1 Helicopter Construction Toy Kit

The Lite Poppers Construction Toy Kit is a build-and-play activity kit that encourages imaginative play. It will help children improve in vocabulary, math, geography, and science while learning how to follow a manual. It can be combined with other kits to make larger play patterns.

To Play

The child will put the pieces together and build models based on their imagination. This toy influences an open-ended play pattern and is themed with relatable stories and characters. When they get a new kit, they can add right to the original kit for even more fun.

Skills the Child Can Learn
  • Math skills
  • Reading and language skills
  • Develop social relationships
  • Improved motor skills
  • Modular reasoning
  • Building and perspective
  • Logarithms
  • Creative reasoning

Price

$

Recommended Age Group

Three years and up

Key Features                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Step-by-step instructions and manual, kits can be combined, LED touch sensor with USB rechargeable and reflective power base


For Preschool-Aged Children

Learning Resources Code and Go Robot Mouse Activity Set

The Learning Resources Code and Go Robot Mouse Activity Set introduces children to coding and puzzle solving through this programmable mouse and maze. The mouse lights up and makes sounds and features two different speeds that are good for either floor or table play.

To Play

This toy will teach your child how to build a maze and program the mouse to go through the maze to reach its prized cheese. The set comes with maze grids, maze walls, tunnels, the robot mouse, and materials to help guide the child through play. They have the opportunity to make many different maze combinations which will provide endless hours of fun and learning.

Skills the Child Can Learn
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Problem-solving
  • Analytical thinking
  • Spatial concepts
  • Following multistep directions
  • Cooperative play
  • Visual tracking
  • Sequential thought processes

Price

$

Recommended Age Group

Five and up

Key Features                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Lights, sounds, two different speeds, push button controls, programmable                                                                     


Snap Circuits Beginner Electronic Discovery Kit

The Snap Circuits Beginner Kit has 14 parts that can be used for over 20 different projects. It is engineered for smaller children and includes safety features for your youngest little engineer. This set is part of the award-winning Snap Circuit line of Electronics Discovery Kits.

To Play

The child can take all of the different pieces and learn the basics of how switches and circuits work. Your child should simply follow the easy instructions in the color manual to begin play.

Skills the Child Can Learn
  • Problem-solving
  • Following directions
  • Troubleshooting

Price

$

Recommended Age Group

3-5 years and up

Key Features                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Easy to follow color manual, award-winning, 14 pieces, over twenty possible projects                                                                      


Kibo 10-Kit

The Kibo 10-Kit is an introductory kit that includes ten programming blocks, four parameter cards, two motors, and two wheels. Children can program a robot using a building blocks system and also customize their robot however they want. The Kibo system does not require the additional help of a computer, tablet, or smartphone.

To Play

The child begins by creating a sequence of instructions using the Kibo blocks and then the scan the blocks with the Kibo body to be able to tell the robot what to do. Once the robot is programmed, they can decorate it to look however they want.

Skills the Child Can Learn
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Technical skills
  • Problem-solving
  • Improve cognitive skills
  • Art expression
  • Math
  • Literacy
  • Cultural explorations

Price

$$$

Recommended Age Group

Four- seven years old

Key Features                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Customizable, no additional electronics required, can be purchased individually or in sets                                                                                                                     


LightUp Edison Kit-Learn Electronics

The LightUp Edison Kit uses magnetic blocks to build circuits quickly and does not require any other wires or soldering. It teaches core STEM concepts about electricity, circuits, and engineering while also teaching your child the basics of coding. You can always update this kit so that your child can build and take part in many more projects later as they grow and learn.

To Play

Snap together the magnetic blocks, download the LightUp Learning app for additional guidance and several projects and then watch as the electricity flows with the LightUp Smart Lens. The blocks can be built on a table, whiteboard, or even refrigerator. The Edison Kit teaches your child about the basics of coding while they build flashlights and SOS beepers to learn about voltage, current, and resistance. Once they have mastered these concepts they can upgrade to the Tesla Kit which is compatible with the Edison Kit.

Skills the Child Can Learn
  • Engineering
  • Basic coding
  • Following directions

Price

$

Recommended Age Group

Five-fifteen years old

Key Features                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Can be upgraded, includes rechargeable battery, red LED, buzzer light sensor, wire blocks, micro USB cable, free iOS app                                         


For Grade School-Aged Children

Kano Computer Kit

The Kano Computer Kit is easy to use and requires no technical skills at all to use. It teaches your child how to code art, music, apps, and games and has won several different awards including the Family Choice Award and the Webby Award. The kit comes with everything your child will need including Raspberry Pi 3, case, speaker, wireless keyboard, memory, HDMI and power cables, coding challenges, stickers, and many apps.

To Play

The child can follow the simple story to learn how to build their own computer. They do not require any tools; they simply put all of the parts together. It teaches your child basic coding and programming skills like Python, JavaScript, and Linux commands.

Skills the Child Can Learn
  • Real coding skills
  • Following directions
  • Programming essentials
  • Problem-solving

Price

$$

Recommended Age Group

Six years and up

Key Features                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Easy to use, simple step-by-step instructions, kit includes all the essential items your child needs to begin                           


Piper Computer Kit

The Piper Computer Kit is an educational computer that teaches your child STEM and coding skills. This kit is made with a handcrafted wooden computer case and comes with an LCD monitor. It is Wi-Fi enabled and is a self-contained computer that runs on a raspberry Pi 3 project board with 1 GB of ram and a 1.2 GHz quad-core CPU.

To Play

There are blueprint instructions included with the kit. The child will first start off by assembling the fifty plus puzzle-like pieces, and this will make the wooden case and power boxes. They will then have access to the Piper learning system and will teach your child about technology and engineering. The challenge levels increase in difficulty and teach them step-by-step as they play.

Skills the Child Can Learn
  • Critical thinking
  • Building
  • Electronics
  • Coding
  • Problem-solving

Price

$$$

Recommended Age Group

Ages eight to thirteen

Key Features                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Wooden computer case, HD LCD, Raspberry Pi 3 project board, LED lights, buzzers, buttons, switches, and sensors, USB mouse with retractable cable, 8 GB SD card, free automatic level updates, Piper screwdriver


Cubit Introduction to Computer Science Kit

The Cubit Introduction to Computer Science Kit is a great tool for your children to learn how to build and program. It also teaches them how to interact with real life hardware using visual programming and coding. This kit allows the child to program their own musical light show and design sound sequences that they can play.

To Play

This kit comes with ten full-color LEDs, musical buzzers, and light sensors. Your child can start programming in just seconds with the help of the visual programming aid, and they will learn to write basic code.

Skills the Child Can Learn
  • Basic programming skills
  • Following directions
  • Visual programming
  • Coding skills
  • Building skills
  • Fundamental concepts of science and engineering

Price

$$

Recommended Age Group

Eight years old and up

Key Features                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Lights, sounds, motors, sensors, buzzers, LCD screen, buttons, knobs                                                                                         


LittleBits Electronics Arduino Coding Kit

The LittleBits Electronics kit has everything that your child will need to get started. The electronic modules connect with magnets, and the modules are marked with colors, so the child knows what they are for. For example, blue is for power, pink is for inputs, orange is for wire, and green is for outputs. The kit includes the Arduino module plus other prototyping modules: servo, button, two dimmers, fork, power, and mounting boards to keep all the circuits in place.

To Play

Your child has the option of creating an etch-a-sketch or even their own analog pong game. They walk your child through the basics of programming. The kit communicates with the software and the modules easily snap to three inputs and three outputs on the Arduino module. Just plug in your computer, snap the modules together and program all you want.

Skills the Child Can Learn
  • Basic programming skills
  • Basic electronic skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Problem-solving
  • Following directions

Price

$

Recommended Age Group

Fourteen years and up

Key Features                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Eight getting started sketches, software communication, easy to use, advanced hardware interaction, access to community forums, limitless possibilities                                                                                                                                


Bonus

There are many different toys and kits available for children to learn hands-on about different aspects of technology, science, and engineering. All the reviewed toys focus on fundamental learning concepts including critical thinking skills, problem-solving skills, and basic coding and electronics skills. As the child grows and learns, they can move up in challenges and gain tons of real world experience.

The Raspberry Pi is also a great tool, but it does require a bit more knowledge and skill to master compared to the last kits. Some of the kits included Raspberry Pi, but it was already built. The following kit has everything your child will need to start and graduate to the next level of coding and electronics.

Vilros Raspberry Pi 3 Basic Starter Kit

The Vilros Raspberry Pi 3 Starter Kit includes the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, the enclosure case with mounting slot and screws, a 2500 mA Micro USB power supply that is five feet long, and a set of two heatsinks. This model is up to ten times faster than the previous model. It is the perfect starter kit for beginners and even professionals that are interested in the field of electronics. It allows you to build projects with programming such as Scratch, XMBC media center, Minecraft, retro gaming console, and more.

Price

$

Recommended Age Group

Not suitable for younger children

Key Features                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Kit includes everything you need to start, quad-core processor, high-quality clear case, genuine parts