17 STEM-focused gifts to inspire kids to learn coding and love robotics

This is the third year we’ve run a STEM-focused gift guide — and if you’re intending to buy a child something fun and quasi-educational in holiday season 2017 it’s fair to say there has never been so many programmable bots and kits to choose from, all pledging to spark or sustain an interest in coding and electronics.

This year’s guide reflects this boom in ‘educational’ techie toys — featuring programmable and controllable robots of all stripes and shapes, as well as some fully fledged learn-to-code computers and a few lower tech alternatives for variety (and those not wanting to give yet another gadget).

Gadget makers are piling into this space because of the ability to charge top dollar for toys that can claim a few STEM smarts. And it’s clear the line between connected devices and learn to code tools is being increasingly blurred — although the jury’s still out on how much lasting educational value any of these gizmos can offer vs more structured learning and guidance.

The impact of a STEM toy will obviously vary from child to child. But the theory at least is that if kids are having fun with technology they’re more likely to be inspired by the topic and want to learn more.

Click that right arrow key to view the gallery (or, if you’re on mobile, just scroll) to see our round up of 2017 gift ideas for budding coders and would-be roboticists. We’ve aimed to cover a full spectrum of age ranges, as well as including options to suit different budgets. Expect robots, lots and lots of robots…