Learning to code is kind of a big deal for kids these days and for good reason. It’s a great way to teach problem-solving, logic, and help with brain development—even for kids not focused on a computer science-related career.
In addition to those problem-solving skills, coding also teaches them how to create things for themselves, from programming routines for robots to simple apps and pieces of software. Buy them a coding subscription box and you’ll set your child up with some valuable transferable skills.
Unlike STEM-based boxes—like those found in our best science subsription boxes for kids list—there aren’t many coding options that provide you with a physical subscription but the ones that are out there are pretty good. We’ve narrowed things down to a few specific categories, so whatever your child’s interest, there’s something for them here. Here’s our pick of the bunch.
Best Overall: BitsBox ($24.95 per month to $37.95 per month)
BitsBox is the best coding subscription box out there. Each month, your child is introduced to a new computer science concept via some fun but educational projects. Aimed at ages 6 to 12, it teaches basic foundations like the importance of variables, conditionals, and functions.
A different theme is provided each month, such as animals or robots, so there’s something fun and immediately accessible to the box, even if your kid doesn’t have a clue about coding just yet. For $24.95 per month, the Basic BitsBox provides multiple app projects, a binder to keep all the material stored, along with stickers and progress charts. For the adults, there’s a guide that teaches them the finer details of the coding concepts and commands being taught to the child that month—the adult guide to help you follow along and interact with your child is a really nice touch. For $37.95 per month, the Deluxe BitsBox offers all that alongside a set of trading cards with extra apps to build, temporary tattoos, and a mystery toy too.
Whichever set you go with, it’s pretty great value for money as well as highly educational.
Best For A Bulk Purchase: Thimble ($99-$199)
Thimble isn’t presented to you quite like other subscription boxes. Rather than paying monthly and getting a new box mailed to you every few weeks, you buy the full course and divide it up yourself across a number of weeks. It’s worth it though.
Currently, four different courses are available with the intro to engineering and computer science being the most logical place to start. For $99, kids can learn the basic building blocks of electronics and computer systems while assembling 12 mini projects from start to finish.
The kit comes with a number of basic sensors, indicators, and actuators, all based around Arduino (so it’s cross-compatible with other coding kits). You can make something fun like a Simon Says machine or robot friend, as well as assemble a doorbell or intruder alarm. Thimble might do away with some of the cuter elements that something like BitsBox offers, but it’s perfect for young teens to get to grips with things without feeling patronized. Later kits include a climate based kit, as well as more advanced robotics. Bear in mind though, these more advanced kits cost $199.
Best For Getting Hands-On: MakeCrate ($24.95 per month)
Much like Thimble, MakeCrate is a fairly hands-on way of learning coding. It’s part physical assembly and part programming. Each month, you’re sent a kit that contains the parts needed to complete at least two projects. Interestingly, you can combine items from previous months too, so there’s always a point to keeping past items. Each month builds upon the knowledge you gained last month too.
All the projects come with step-by-step instructions that walk you and your child through each part of the journey. There are video tutorials too to reinforce the knowledge. Projects can include things like building your own calculator, musical instrument, or room alarm. Essentially, fun projects that your kid is likely to use throughout their daily life.
Best For Crossover Skills: Creation Crate ($29.99 per month)
We’ve recommended the Creation Crate before but it’s worth mentioning twice. Part electronics, part programming, there’s some natural overlap here that means it’s perfect for showing kids how their coding skills can lead onto other things.
The Electronics & Coding box is the one to go for here. It teaches kids how to program and build electronic projects using an Uno R-3 and other components. Compatible with Arduino, it’s a useful thing to get into if you want your kids’ knowledge to expand over time.
Each month, you’re given everything you need. That includes all the arts and crafts stuff you require, each component needed for assembly, along with detailed instructions on what you need to do. There’s access to the online classroom too for further insight into what you’re learning and how it can interact with other parts of studying. Each month, the projects get a little more challenging so your child will steadily be learning new ideas.