The new Hot Wheels coding kit requires fine motor skills (updated)


Modern parents are faced with a bit of a tech dilemma. You want the kids to learn STEM skills, but you also don't want them spending all their time in front of screens. To combat this problem many coding tools incorporate some kind of physical element that kids have to put together or manipulate; with building toys like LEGO the marriage of physical play and computer programming makes a lot of sense.

Then there's something like Hot Wheels, which never really claimed to be educational. This year the brand upgraded its basic racing experience with Hot Wheels ID, which added RFID to the cars and Bluetooth to the track, allowing the playset to keep tabs on how fast your vehicles are going and how far they've traveled. Now the product has a new coding aspect, via Apple's Swift Playgrounds. And it sounds great in concept. But after some time spent with it, I'm not sure this is a very good use of a very expensive playset.

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