Tech

These 9 Best Robotics Kits Make Great Gifts For Your Little Genius

Staff, Courtesy of Ubtech

Back in the day, you likely learned some STEM skills from playing with Lego blocks and Lincoln Logs. As tech advances, so do toys. Now, Legos and other low-tech toys have combined with high-tech robots that help turn learning about engineering, coding, and math into fun. STEM-rated school work is surely a part of your kid’s curriculum, and these toys can reinforce skills and give budding inventors the chance to be creative on their own outside the classroom.

Read on for recommendations on the nine best robotics kits to keep kids age 3 and up entertained.

Best Robot Toys for Kids

What Kids Can Learn from Robots

In addition to STEM literacy, studies are showing that robotics can encourage other skills like hands-on creativity, problem solving, communication, and teamwork. So teaching robotics isn’t just about setting up your kid to have a career as a computer programmer or engineer; it equips them with tech and problem-solving skills they’ll need for education and work.

And while you may think robotics clubs are only for middle and high schoolers, research has shown that, when robotics is introduced in pre-K to second grade, children are also able to master basic robotics and programming skills. Many of these robot kits can be given to children as young as 3 years old, while some are more advanced for those 8 and up. Parents who don’t know if their children are interested in a robotics kit can opt for one of the less expensive ones under $50. More expensive options over $100 offer more complexity and can often be customized to challenge kids as they get older and more experienced.

How We Selected These Robot Kits

We researched nine expert sources such as Wirecutter, Digital Trends, and Tom’s Guide and took into account more than 12,000 consumer reviews to select these top robotics kits. We evaluated each on this list for STEM education standards and also for how intuitive, informative, and (just as importantly) fun it is for kids. We also considered a wide variety of toys to account for different kids’ interests, age, and skill level, plus parents’ budgets.

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1

Best Overall

Lego Boost Creative Toolbox

You can always count on Legos to be fun and engaging for kids, but this robot kit adds some high-tech elements to the classic toy. The 847-piece set includes five options kids can build and program, including a dancing robot, guitar, and rover vehicle.

Made for kids ages 7 to 12, it’ll provide countless hours of fun and creativity. Like most robotics kits, it’s also compatible with its own smartphone app, called Lego Boost, available on iOS, Android, Kindle, and Windows 10 devices.

2

Best Budget

4M Tin Can Robot

This robot kit allows kids to be creative on the cheap. A used soda can and a AA battery are all that’s required to learn how to repurpose an object and transform it into a fun and functional bot.

Recommended for kids ages 8 and up, the kit has easy-to-read instructions, and although the robot doesn’t do much more than wobble along, it’s a great first design to build your kids’ confidence before they move on to bigger—and more expensive—robotics kits.

3

For the Basics

Learning Resources Botley the Coding Robot Activity Set

Learning Resources
amazon.com

This 77-piece activity set is reasonably priced and gives kids ages 5 and up a solid base for coding and robotics concepts. Botley the Coding Robot comes to life with an easy-to-use remote, so there are no apps to download (and no screen time). 

The kit includes coding activity sheets along with plenty of fun accessories to create obstacle courses, plus kids can play with Botley right out of the box.

4

A Step Up

Wonder Workshop Dash Coding Robot

Wonder Workshop
amazon.com

$149.95

For parents who want to introduce kids to coding or build their skills, Wonder Workshop’s Dash is a smart choice for kids ages 6 and up. 

Compared to kits that require extensive building before they’re up and running, Dash comes charged and ready for about 5 hours of playtime. The coding robot is compatible with Lego and the set includes two building brick connectors, plus kids can add their own Lego bricks to make other creations. 

There are also four free apps to download that take kids from beginner concepts to more advanced ones.

5

For Kids Ages 8 and Up

Makeblock mBot Robot Kit

The Makeblock’s mBot is an excellent option for young programmers, as the small robot can be built in about 15 minutes using an easy-to-follow guide and step-by-step instructions in 3D. 

Kids can start coding in Scratch, a graphic programming language, with free included software—plus there’s an app with 60 game-based tasks to challenge kids and help them advance their skills.

6

For Kids Ages 10 and Up

Lego Mindstorms 51515 Robot Inventor Building Set

Although this kit is expensive, you get a ton of action—plus challenging coding activities—out of this programmable remote-controlled robot. 

For older kids ages 10 and up, the Lego kit comes with plans for five unique designs, as well as a smartphone app with more than 50 activities, almost 1,000 pieces, and a rechargeable battery. If you already know your kid is obsessed with robotics, this may be the kit that finally satiates their curiosity.

7

For Young Astronauts

JIMU AstroBot Series: Cosmos Kit

With this kit, kids ages 8 and up can create three different cosmic robots—AstroBot, Rover, and Astron—or use their skills and imagination to build their own. 

The kit’s iOS- and Android-compatible app uses 3D animation to teach kids how to build the robots step-by-step. Then, after downloading the Blockly app or a similar block-coding language like Scratch, kids get to do the work. They can make the robots perform physical tasks like moving around objects, plus tweak light and sound effects and even give them personality traits.

8

For Young Inventors

Tinkering Labs Electric Motors Catalyst STEM Kit

Tinkering Labs
amazon.com

$65.00

This kit allows kids to build and rebuild robots, cars, and creatures of their own imagination. It’s perfect for the budding inventor who likes to tinker with things around the house, and includes wooden pieces, electric motors and batteries, plus hardware and tools, including protective goggles and a screwdriver. 

There’s also a game element—10 play cards that challenge kids to build various creations on the spot. The kit is a customer favorite, with an average 4.6 stars from more than 460 reviewers, and it’s recommended for kids ages 8 to 12.

9

Advanced AI

Anki Cozmo Robot Toy

For kids who’ve moved past the beginner level and are ready for a serious (if expensive) challenge, this kit allows them to build and program their own robot. 

Cozmo is equipped with AI and can express emotions, recognize people, and remember names using a 30-frames-per-second camera and facial-recognition software. 

Using the iOS- and Android-compatible app, kids can program Cozmo to do everything from dancing and sneezing to playing a game of hot potato by configuring coding blocks.

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