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Best Coding Kits 2022

Best Coding Kits
(Image credit: Kano)

The best coding kits are a way to take everything a student has learned about coding and turn that into real world results. This includes writing command lines on a device that results in corresponding actions from a real robot, which is a very exciting way to engage students with coding.

From small robots that move around balls to Harry Potter's wand, there are lots of options out there now. When deciding which robot kit is best for your class, keep in mind the type of coding you want to use as a factor in deciding which robots will work with that style.

Some coding kits allow students to also build the device itself, for example, Lego-based robots. This approach provides hands-on learning opportunities and gets students away from screen time during the coding process, and also allows them to work on block building – something that can be done in a group to promote social learning too.

Prices vary quite widely so keep that in mind when making a choice from this list of the very best coding kits out there right now.

1. Sphero Mini: Best coding kit for programmable fun

Sphero Mini

(Image credit: Sphero)

Sphero Mini

Best for programmable fun

Reasons to buy

+
Compact and easy to setup
+
Works with smartphones
+
STEM learning coding games

Reasons to avoid

-
Not cheap

The Sphero Mini is a golf ball-sized smart-controlled educational robot ball that can be moved using a connected smartphone. This is great for STEM learning as it allows the student to play games that require a form of programming.

This is also great for beginners as it's easy to use but equally allows for growth and progression. Students can advance to programming the device with Block-Based Coding or even JavaScript in the Sphero Edu app.

Students can build real-world mazes, obstacles, and courses to be navigated by the Mini using its gyroscope, accelerometer, and motor encoders.

The Sperho Mini is recommended for ages 8+ and is charged, at time of publishing, at $49.99.


2. Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit: Best for tablet and computer use

Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit

(Image credit: Kano)

Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit

Best for tablet and computer use

Reasons to buy

+
Physical wand building
+
70+ coding challenges
+
JavaScript learning

Reasons to avoid

-
Harry Potter specific

The Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit is a relatively affordable and fun way to get students involved in coding with a fantasy wizard theme. The kit comes with a wand, that needs to be built out of the box, making it educational from the start.

More than 70 challenges help teach students code, with code blocks, JavaScript, loops, logic, and variables all covered. The wand itself then becomes a part of the game, featuring motion sensitivity so students can really use it to carry out actions on the screen of the tablet or computer being used with the program. 

Kano has a large coding community, allowing for lots of inspiration. It also lets students see the code behind any creation, and then change it to create something new.


3. Botley 2.0 The Coding Robot: Best for screen-free coding

Botley 2.0 The Coding Robot

(Image credit: Learning Resources)

Botley 2.0 The Coding Robot

Best for screen-free coding

Reasons to buy

+
No screen time needed
+
150 steps of coding
+
Object detection and night vision

Reasons to avoid

-
Not cheap

Botley 2.0 The Coding Robot by Learning Resources is a complete coding robotic kit that, brilliantly, does not require any screen time. This little robot looks fun but packs in some serious smarts with object detection, night vision, multi-colored light-up eye, programmable 45-degree turns, and a 150-step coding platform.

All this works through buttons on the bot itself, so no screens are needed, allowing students to get far more involved in the physical-world coding experience. 

The set comes with 78 pieces to help students create mazes, navigate obstacle courses, and more. This is done using the six directional buttons, which remember up to 150 moves in a row.


4. Lego Mindstorms EV4 Robot Inventor 51515: Best for Python-based coding

Lego Mindstorms EV4 Robot Inventor 51515

(Image credit: Lego)

Lego Mindstorms EV4 Robot Inventor 51515

Best for Python-based coding

Reasons to buy

+
Superb for learning Python code
+
50 challenges available
+
Scratch coding

Reasons to avoid

-
Ages 10+

The Lego Mindstorms EV4 Robot Inventor 51515 might be a mouthful of a name but when it comes to coding, it is an easy-to-handle setup. That's not to say there isn't complexity though, as students can get full-on Python- and Scratch-based coding experience by using this robot-building package. 

This 5-in-1 set allows students to build five different robots using the myriad 949 parts available. Then, using the Lego Mindstorms app, they can code programs into that creation. Aimed at ages 10 and up, these robots can be programmed to walk, talk, and do more than the previous generations. 

From a brick-eating truck that piles up bricks left by other robots to a dancer bot, there are five basic models to create and work with.


5. Logiblocs: Best for science-based coding

Logiblocs

(Image credit: Logiblocs)

Logiblocs

Best for science-based coding

Reasons to buy

+
Works with lots of real-world objects
+
Snap commands together
+
Circuit-based learning

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited outcomes

Logiblocs is an electronic coding system that lets students physically snap the Commands together to build a system. From alarms and door bells to spy tech and secret recorders, there are plenty of units to build and create.

This helps to teach students about circuitry and science while at the same time providing the basics for the building block-style of coding. These help to show students how the world of IT and beyond works, at a base level, in a fun and engaging way. What's more, it does all that without the need for a screen.

The Morse Code machine is particularly useful as it not only teaches students how to build the system but then also allows them to learn and work with Morse Code.


6. BinaryBots Totem Crab: Best affordable coding kit

BinaryBots Totem Crab

(Image credit: BinaryBots)

BinaryBots Totem Crab

Best affordable coding kit

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable kit
+
Robot build required
+
Code and control bot

Reasons to avoid

-
One build option only

The BinaryBots Totem Crab is a robot that can be built by students to learn how to wire and install systems in a basic machine. This can then be coded to move and carry out actions such as grabbing and clawing, using coding programming.

This is a great, affordable way to get students building and coding robots. While there is only one style of robot to be built here, that could also be seen as a positive as it keeps the build process simple, while the coding part remains open to creative input. A great choice for students who find too much freedom of choice overwhelming.

This works with a BBC micro:bit power and interface board for use with the BBC micro:bit mini computer system.

Luke Edwards is a freelance writer and editor with more than two decades of experience covering tech, science, and health. He writes for many publications covering health tech, software and apps, digital teaching tools, VPNs, TV, audio, smart home, antivirus, broadband, smartphones, cars and much more.