These clever education toys will help spark your kids’ curiosity


Gone are the days when Lego was enough to cure childhood curiosity. From toys that teach kids about the principles of robot construction and coding, to paper planes you can pilot, WIRED selects the smartest educational toys in the box.

PowerUp FPV

Andy Barter

At last: a paper plane you can pilot – just download the PowerUp app, reach for your Google Cardboard and enjoy a different view of the world. PowerUp has engineered an 80g paper-aeroplane motor with a built-in wide-angle camera, microphone and Wi-Fi connectivity with a range of 92 metres. Tilt your head to control its movements, and – depending on the design – your sheet of 120gsm can reach speeds of up to 32kph.£199

Table Pong Project

YouTuber Daniel Perdomo has taken the classic 70s video game and turned it into a real-world proposition. With no previous technical knowledge – the paddle controllers are made from old hard drives and engineering principles picked up online – Perdomo and his team have made the virtual tangible, without diminishing the game’s appeal. $tbc

Maglev Model Train

The concept for the magnetic levitating train dates back to 1902; the first commercially usable track opened in Birmingham in 1984. While we’re all waiting for the hyperloop to take the idea to the next level, here’s a small-scale version for your kids to play with. Build your own smooth-running, high-speed maglev track (above), albeit one that fits in your living room. $tbc

Lini Cube

With 105 ways to plug one cube into another (a typical LEGO brick manages just nine), Lini Cube is a versatile building block allowing for true 3D model-making. In a smart development, it adopts Selinko’s internet of things technology: each pack of cubes features an NFC chip, which helps tackle toy counterfeiters, who account for an annual sector loss of £1.25 million. €197

Jimu Robot TankBot Kit

Jimu TankBot teaches robotic construction and coding. By using its free iOS app, kids can follow 3D instructions to program movement of the tank-treaded toy by its six servo motors. The kit’s 190 interlocking pieces allow you to build the pre-designed TankBot, then modify it. It also includes an infrared sensor that tracks lines and senses objects to manoeuvre around or pick up. £145

Infantino B Kids BV Sensory Discovery Robot

Winner of Best New Toy at the 2017 Toy Fair, the Discovery Robot beeps, flashes and pulls funny expressions as your baby bashes, yanks, chews and generally abuses it. Rotate its head and hear clicking, press the hand and its eyes spin, then push and pull its feet for more visual and sonic stimulation. £14


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