Every year there are a handful of toys that top Christmas wish lists around the country. From the latest gaming consoles to toys based on popular films and TV shows like Toy Story or Transformers models to Harry Potter wands. Children themselves are usually those that set the trend of what gifts are the top sellers each year. But parents also have Santa’s ear – and today’s generation of parents are arguably using their hotline to Lapland more than ever before. A flood of orders for toys that involve educational qualities has reportedly headed north and the focus is on gifts that teach kids to code.
Retailers are the UK are reportedly restocking and increasing their ranges of toys that teach the basics of how to write the languages that are used to create software. John Lewis is predicting its ‘Osmo Little Genius Starter Kit’, which is the coding version of a chemistry set, will be one of its top 10 sellers this Christmas.
Kitty Rose, a buying assistant for the department store commented on how ambitious parents are requesting the stocking of toys that teach coding:
“Parents tell us that they recognise the importance of their children being familiar with coding products, because coding will be a part of their future. While screen time is often talked about in a negative way, products which educate and entertain are really growing in popularity.”
Toys that offer a foundational education on how the latest technology in the world works are increasingly popular. Retail analysts forecast the market for STEM toys (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) will grow by 30% over the next half decade.
One example of a company that is benefiting from the trend is Kano, a London-based start-up that has been creating and selling coding kit toys that teach the basics of coding in fun, simple ways by guiding children through loops, logic and variables using puzzle games and challenges for 7 years now. It has sold over a million and has now reached a level that has allowed it to strike a deal with Disney to create coding kits themed on hits such as Frozen II and Star Wars. That can only help the popularity of Kano’s kits.
Of course, kids will always also be keen on toys and games that are purely ‘fun’ and don’t require a great deal of, at least conscious, brain power to be applied to them. But from chemistry sets to telescopes and books on dinosaurs and the cosmos, kids have also always enjoyed educational play. And it makes sense that today’s educational toys are now being dominated by those that teach coding skills.
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