An Introduction to Coding Robot Toys in Early Childhood Education

The early education classroom is the perfect place to provide an introduction to coding robot toys. Integrating robotics and coding into early childhood education is easy with the right developmentally appropriate tools, the right curriculum, the right PD, and the right mindset!

Coding robot toys give children the tools to create and participate in a culture, society, and working world increasingly structured by computers. We don’t teach children to write because we want them all to be novelists or journalists; we teach them to write so they can express themselves. In the same way, teaching children to code and introducing them to computer science gives them fluency in a new set of tools for self-expression.

Superhero KIBO Image - Kids getting an introduction to coding robot toys

And starting early is key. Research shows the greatest return on investment in educational intervention comes when those interventions are made with the youngest learners. Intervening as early as possible helps guide children toward an interest in STEM careers, especially for girls as well as minority students. Many states have already adopted computer science standards in K-5, with many more planning to do so in coming years. States and districts know that starting STEM education early is critical to ensuring access and success for all students. Keep reading to learn about the importance of an introduction to coding robot toys in early childhood education.

Knowing the importance, here are 4 ways to provide an introduction to coding robot toys for elementary students:

[# 1] Tools: Provide developmentally appropriate robots

Research. Research. Research. Search for coding robot toys that are rooted in years of research identifying the most effective and proven ways to introduce coding in early childhood education. Robots should encourage children’s exploration of technology that is age-appropriate, safe, and creative.

Research studies of the effectiveness of the KIBO coding robot toy demonstrate that children benefit from connecting programming concepts to concrete, physical objects, reinforcing learning in an age-appropriate (and screen-free!) way.

[# 2] Curriculum: Select Vetted and Tested Curriculum

Once you have selected the right coding robot toy for your elementary learners, find curriculum that incorporates STEM learning, coding, and robotics into your teaching. Be sure you are provided with a comprehensive, standards-aligned, easy-to-follow curriculum. It’s not just about coding: it’s social-emotional learning through small-group collaboration, it’s developing persistence through the engineering process, and it’s connecting to student’s passions through cross-curricular lessons.

It is also important to ensure that you are meeting your school’s or district’s goals in computer science and STEM education, so look for curriculum that is aligned with key standards at the national level from CSTA and ISTE as well as your state standards.

KIBO’s curriculum offers explicit scripting for teachers without an instructional technology background and a clear sequence from grade to grade to assist in fitting KIBO into a comprehensive computer science pathway from PreK to 2nd grade. The curriculum is aligned with both ISTE and CSTA standards as well as state standards. KIBO’s curriculum and professional development has been certified as a Quality PD Program by The Computer Science Teachers’ Association (CSTA).

[# 3] Maximize the impact of your investment with effective and proven PD and training!

Teaching coding, engineering, and STEM to elementary aged students requires age-appropriate tools as well as quality professional development. Ensuring teacher’s skills and comfort in teaching STEM and computer science is an important part of any PD as elementary teachers may not have coding education backgrounds. Ensure your PD provides:

  • Standards-aligned PD that’s adheres to your district’s standards and needs.
  • Resources, post-training, to discuss any questions or issues that have arisen through practice and provide online and self-paced options for follow-up.
  • Custom activity examples for you to integrate STEAM skills to existing classroom subjects you are already comfortable teaching, such as literacy or math.  
  • Lesson plans to encourage teachers to learn alongside their students within a framework such as the engineering design process.

KIBO’s Professional Development provides training customized for educator’s individual needs and paced to allow educators time to explore and experiment as well as develop STEM skills. These hands-on experiences with KIBO help teachers feel comfortable with the technology so they can maximize their investment in KIBO. We also discuss pedagogical approaches to creative technology education in early childhood, including promoting student collaboration, SEL, and design thinking through STEAM. KIBO’s curriculum and professional development has been certified as a Quality PD Program by The Computer Science Teachers’ Association (CSTA).

[# 4] Mindset: Get ready for fun in the classroom with the introduction to coding robot toys

The best technology experiences for children are technology playgrounds, filled with creativity, exploration, social engagement, and interactive fun. Allow for a space for children to follow their own creative interests within a technological space that has been carefully designed to support their developmental needs. Where they can work together, discover, and share as they create.

See the active, playful fun educators and their students are having with the introduction to coding robot toys. Watch KIBO in action through real activities in the classroom.

About KIBO Coding Robot Kit

KIBO offers an inviting, engaging platform for children to start their journey into creating with code. KIBO’s block-based coding language gives children control over the robot’s movements, sounds, and sensors, allowing them to express their imaginations with code. Our curriculum encourages children to tell stories, create characters, and explore their world. Learn more about how you can get started with an introduction to coding robot toys in your elementary school classroom.