Being a tech enthusiast parent has its challenges. You want to share your love of computers and electronics with your child, but maybe he or she isn't quite ready to be spreading thermal paste onto a $400 CPU. There are a lot of great STEM and robot toys that teach kids all about programming and circuitry by having them build and / or code a device.
With the holiday shopping season in full swing, many of these STEM kits are on impressive sales. We've published our list of favorite STEM toy gifts, but these are the biggest sales on STEM and robot toys today.
- Elegoo Smart Car Kit for $49.99 (reg $69.99). The best project my son and I have built together, the Elegoo kit has everything you need to build a programmable car based on an Arduino UNO board. You use standard circuits, sensors and boards to make the car and you program it using Arduino language, the same code used by serious adult makers. The Smart Car kit is challenging and requires an adult or an electronics-savvy teen to supervise, but my six year old had a blast helping me with it and he learned a ton about making.
- littleBits Marvel Avengers Hero Inventor Kit for $99.99 (reg $149.95). Kids use simple, snap-together pieces to build a working super hero gauntlet with lights, motors and sensors. An app teaches you how to build and program it. My son really enjoyed building and rebuilding it.
- Kano Computer Kit Touch for $249.99 (reg $279). Everything you need to build a Raspberry Pi-powered computer with a 10-inch touch screen, a keyboard and a battery that lets you use it disconnected. Kano's helpful instructions and kid-friendly version of Linux teach children how computers work and how to program them. This computer is friendly enough for young children but serious enough for real tech geeks. It even has a game that teaches you about the command prompt.
- Kano Computer Kit for $62 (reg $120). This budget-oriented version of the computer kit has the same kid-friendly software and instructions, but it doesn't come with a screen so you'll need to attach it to an existing monitor.
- Wonder Workshop Dot and Dash Wonder Pack for $223 (reg $279). The Dash and Dot robots are a lot of fun and each can be purchased on its own as well. This kit comes with both robots and a slew of accessories, including a Xylophone that Dash can play and a rocket launcher.