Down the corridors of history, many systems and tools have been utilized to assist in child development.
In both school-based curriculum and at homes many domestic robots and digital devices are being incorporated as learning tools for kids.
From simplistic homemade toys such as matchbox to traditional toys such as dolls, balls, building blocks, and most recently high tech gadgets have been employed to aid in kids’ development. In particular, in the past few years, robotic toys for kids are gaining popularity in many households.
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The use of robotic technology for kids’ toys has shown a significant positive impact on the lives of the little ones. It has long been known that home is the first school for kids and parents are first educators in their life.For this reason, parents are opting to gift their children with robotic toys. This way they can have fun and learn at the same time.
This does not mean the robotic toys replace the role of parents in interacting and being involved with their kids rather they assist them.
Why Toy Robots For Kids?
While toys are mainly seen as fun objects for kids they do more than being play items.
Generally, toys have been shown to enhance children development. They entertain, enhance their creativity and spark their imaginations. For some reasons, kids tend to fall in love with robot toys. But what makes robotic toys stand out?
- They appear more ’ real’ and responsive because they are programmed to perform certain activities including talking, singing, barking, smiling, making eye movements, dancing and storytelling. This integration of machine-human aspect makes them appealing to kids.
- Some can record kid’s voices and play it
- They employ hands-on experience technique which actively engages them
- They are versatile and can be used to craft different designs
- They simplify technology and complex STEM principles such as programming to a level that matches children skills.
- Some are mobile and can ‘speak’ to kids
- Compared to humans robotic toys are non-judgmental, patient, do not get tired of repetitive actions and are child-friendly making them appealing to children especially those with developmental disabilities
- They are educative in a fun way of making them great learning buddies for kids
- Robotic kits pave way for their future success in career life
- They empower kids with computational and creative writing skills
Factors To Consider When Selecting Robot Toys For Kids
In this digital era technology has become the second human language after the speech. Therefore it is necessary to get them involved as early as possible.
But how do you know which toy robots are right for your kid? Here are some handy tips for what to look for when buying robot toys for little ones.
It is important that toys should be age appropriate so as to match their skills level and developmental stage. For example, while pet robots may be a good fit for younger kids it may not appeal to teenagers as they require more advanced toys.
In addition robot toys for toddlers should be:
- Made of attractive colors to appeal to kids
- Light to avoid harming children when they fall on them
- Sturdy and well built to avoid breakages
- Should not be sharp to avoid pricking or cutting the kids
- Include stories and songs to keep them entertained
Toys should be small enough for toddlers to hold or lift them.
To ensure robot toys are safe for kids they should be:
- Big enough not fit in children mouths to avoid chocking
- Made of non-toxic materials and lead-free paints
- Have a secure battery casing
- Made of a flame-resistant fabric
Younger kids are known to be rough when it comes to handling items. Especially with toddlers toys are subject to falls and being thrown on hard surfaces. Toys should be made of a strong fabric.
Depending on age robot toys should incorporate different educational skills including identifying items, numbering, sorting colors and shapes, grammar and coding.
Childs ability/ limitations
The type of toy is determined by the kid’s physical and mental ability. Children with special needs may require different toys from the rest of children. For this reason, there are robotic toys specifically designed to cater for their social needs.
What is your purpose for buying your kid a robot toy? What are their passion and interests? What do you want them to learn speech, counting, storytelling? What do they want to learn science, coding or mathematics?
With that said it is easy to choose the right robot for your kid. If you notice their interest is leaning towards science or technology then a Makeblock robot would be an ideal gift to them.
How Robotic Toys Can Help Develop Toddlers And Preschoolers?
During this stage, kids are naturally curious, inquisitive, explorative, experimental and are continuously learning new skills.
For toddlers, robotic toys improve their motor skills. The hands-on building experience during physical tasks such as imitating clapping robots; building or linking items refine their fine motor skills. They are in particular attracted to creating light shows.
To expand on their knowledge of differentiating things the toys pieces come in various colors, sizes and shapes.
Check out our store page: Robotic toys for toddlers
Some robots are programmed to enable kids to learn about body parts. For example, they may touch different body parts while naming them. This way kids learn by imitating what they do. This builds on their listening, language and identification skills.
To exercise their memory and language skills toys engage them by narrating rhyming stories and counting numbers.
When playing with robots toddlers can develop social skills such as singing, dancing and storytelling. Also, robot pets for kids such as Harry puppy are interactive and can talk, sing, walk and bark.
For preschoolers, they enjoy the educative aspect. They are slowly learning to count numbers and recite alphabets together with the robot. By listening to the pre-programmed stories they can learn to narrate these stories on their own.
Toddler-friendly robot toys are interactive and versatile to spark children creativity.
How Robot Toys Help In Development Of School Kids
By the age of six children gain a better understanding of concepts. School kids retain what they learn easier than toddlers. They are more creative and curious about how things work. At this age bracket, kids tend to identify their passion and interests. Some may be inclined towards arts, dancing or science.
To supplement what kids learn at school educative robotic toys incorporate learning and problem-solving activity. STEM robot empowers them with basics of programming. Though to them they may be just having fun they are slowly learning the fundamentals of programming without their knowledge. By figuring out how to link parts of a robot to create different designs they are gaining an understanding of how programming works.
This process of designing interactive robots enhances their eye-hand coordination, and creativity. They also learn solving challenges involves breaking them into small manageable portions.
Why Coding Is Important To Learn For Young Kids
Back in the early days, it was assumed that coding was hard, boring and an entity preserved for males. But today our world has changed tremendously coding is now a key part in many sectors. It is perceived that in future that just like computer literacy is a mandatory qualification in almost in any career coding is the next big thing in the professional arena.
Robotic kits and coding toys have simplified and made computer programming and coding more fun for young kids. Take for example Birmingham’s Mohammad Hamza at the age of seven he won himself the title of the world’s youngest programmer while the ten-year-old Samaira Mehta from Silicon Valley has won the hearts of giant digital companies like Google and Microsoft.
These and many more young kids and teenagers that prove kids can learn coding and programming irrespective of their gender and age. While there is no right or wrong age to start learning to code the earlier the better.
Young children and teenagers are better learners when it comes to acquiring new skills. Also, children are driven by unquenchable thirst to discover and explore challenging areas. In addition, this period lays a great foundation for their adulthood and shapes their future relations. As we advance in age it becomes harder to learn new complex skills. Perhaps it is due to the adults’ busy lifestyle and responsibilities that come with it.
While it is true that internet offers myriad of tutorials about coding for kids there is undeniable beauty and power in learning to code using real and tangible items as compared to virtual learning. This is where robotic toys and robotic kits come in. In their own simple yet entertaining ways, they are able to capture children’s attention. The hands-on experience approach enables them to experiment.
Robot toys innovation has demystified the notion that it is difficult to master the art of programming. Coding robots especially the building ones has enabled kids to appreciate and simplify STEM skills. By doing it practically they are able to understand it better. Learning programming offers much more than gaining coding skills.
Check out 5 of the top robotic and coding toys from the 2019 Toy of the Year Awards
Some of the many benefits to kids learning to code
Apart from being entertaining and educative STEM robot toys help children to nurture valuable life skills and qualities. Let’s explore the attributes and benefits that come with learning programming.
Instils Patience And Perseverance
By trying several times and failing they learn that failure is part of progress. They are more motivated to go on practising. They apply this skill in real life to give them hope to keep on pushing when things seem tough.
Problem Solving Skills/ Decision Making Ability
At first, coding can be challenging to kids. They learn by trial and error. This way they get to know which decision works best and which one does not. By working with robots they learn that each step however minor adds up to success. This ability is extended to handling a difficult life situation.
Improves Clarity Of Thought And Communication Skills
The best communicators are those that can explain their complex ideas using the simplest language. Clarity is a skill that is lacking in many adults and kids. When kids understand how things work they can easily express themselves in a logical and systematic manner both verbally and in writing.
Fuels Their Creativity
Through experimenting and learning new skills kids get to improve their creativity and broaden their knowledge.
Enhances Computational skills
By building and learning to balance blocks they learn to solve mathematical equations in a simple way.
Builds up Their Confidence And Self-esteem
When kids finally succeed in building blocks and creating different designs they are more confident and can believe in their ability to solve problems.
Opens Endless Career Opportunities
Programmers, software, game, and app developers are the most sought-after professionals. In fact, their demand is so high that some job vacancies go unfilled. Moreover, these careers are lucrative.
It Paves Way To Their Financial Freedom
Sadly but true majority of people never achieve financial freedom in their lives. On the contrary, there is an increasing trend of emerging millennial millionaires. But what sets many of these individuals apart from the rest of the population? You guessed it right programming expertise.
Let me give you an example Summly, a brainchild of a young millionaire Nick D’ Aloisio which won him a prestigious award from Wall Street Journal at the age of 17 as the” Innovator of the Year”.
Robotic Stem Toys And Kits Impact on Teen’s
Robotic kits for teenagers range from beginners to more advanced levels. They are more advanced but still entertaining to capture their attention. Teens have a better grasp of programming and are able to read scripts, follow instruction and commands.
Since they are approaching the job market STEM gives them an advantage over their peers. Also because they are critical thinkers and love applying what they learn in a real situation they are likely to develop their own applications and robots.
Robotic Toys In The Lives Of Children With Special Needs
Many toys for kids are categorized by age bracket since most children acquire developmental milestone at specific time frames and in a predictable manner. But this is not usually the case with special needs children.
It takes patience, consistent practice and repetitive actions to learn skills. That is why there are assistive robot toys that are specifically designed with them in mind. For example, robot toys for autistic children offer them a companion and help to practice their social skills.
But just keep an eye on your kids
The innovation of robot toy is a step in the right direction towards raising a generation of tech-savvy kids. They not only expose children to the world of coding early in life but they also brighten their future.
Just like video games as robotic toys continue to become popular in our society they can be addictive and obsessive hence parents should ensure that their children balance between real human interaction, physical activities and keep in touch with real world.