In an era where technology has developed at a rate not seen before the latest trends for kid’s toys are becoming more and more technical. Children often understand more about technology than their parents and with more toys aimed at encouraging the use of technology from an early age children are growing up with more awareness and knowledge in an ever advancing arena. Famous toy retailer Hamleys certainly thinks so, predicting a bumper Christmas for interactive tech toys.
The skills gab within technology particularly coding is being addressed with toys that encourage coding skills to be learnt from an early age. “The interesting part is that the products and manufacturers that succeed use technology to enhance the play value of the products they bring to market,” Reyne Rice, chief executive of ToyTrends.
An example of this is a Danish company SmartGurlz wants to encourage girls to code. Their fashion dolls to ride around on Segway-style scooters called Siggy Robots that can be programmed via an app. Girls aged 6-12 can use the app to make the scooters spin around, zig-zag or zoom along in a straight line.
Even younger children can learn the basics of programming with a Fisher Price toy called Code-a-pillar, which Hamleys predicts will be a bestseller this Christmas. Kids from three years upwards can arrange and rearrange the segments of the Code-a-pillar to make it move in different ways and directions. This teaches them problem solving, planning, sequencing and critical thinking, the toy maker says.
Bethany Koby, founder of Technology Will Save Us, an organisation aimed at encouraging learning through inventive games, still thinks that the toy industry – worth about $25bn (£20bn) in the US and £3.2bn in the UK – has a long way to go when it comes to adapting to new technology.
There has never been a better time to get children involved in coding. There are also groups set up at schools called Code Clubs with over 39 in Worcestershire, to find out more visit https://www.codeclub.org.uk/about. The borwell team help run a code club at Malvern Parish Primary school.