Are you or your child looking to get a few more robots in your life? While there are plenty of great household robots to replace some of your chores, these robots are all about having fun and learning something new at the same time. These fit in a wholly different category from the best coding robots for kids, though, so most of these robots don't require a phone or tablet — so your kids can have fun without cutting into their daily limit of screen time! The following list of best robotics kits for kids is organized loosely by recommended age.
For the little littles
Designed for kids ages 3 and up, this robot toy can help younger children develop fine motor skills. Included in the box is a child-safe plastic screwdriver and a set of screws that can be used to put the robot together or take it apart on a whim. Master the art of righty-tighty and lefty-loosey for those all-important building skills later in life.
While this may look like a very elaborate prank (and to be fair, it can be if you choose it to be), this is, in fact, a robot spider that excels in teaching young kids the basics of robotics and construction. But it just doesn't scuttle around; it can perform acrobatic tricks and even knows when to sidestep an object that is in front of it. The only downside is you'll need AAA batteries (which aren't included), but even then, you've got a robot that'll keep you and your child talking for days without spending very much.
Can you transform this can?
Do you enjoy beverages from cans? Instead of just tossing them in the recycle bin, get this kit to turn a few of them into bonafide solar-powered vehicles, instead! This kit is great for teaching your kids the benefits of recycling, the wonder of solar power, and the tricks of the trade in engineering. Grab a few and assemble your very own Boy Scout Pine Derby-esque race, or check out any of Green Science's other robot kits for similar ideas, all of which are super affordable.
If the previous entry piqued your interest, then this next kit will surely tickle your fancy. This complete kit lets your kids build a hybrid solar-powered car that they can actually drive with the included remote — also a piece that they'll put together. It's an introduction to building electronics and motors, as well as an amateur driving session with a remote-controlled vehicle, all while educating them on how a solar panel can charge the batteries that power the motor.
Tinkering Labs has put together a robot kit that's deceptively simple on the surface. Wooden pieces can be snapped together in seemingly any fashion to create the frame of your very own customizable robot. Pop the included motors in the most logical place and you'll soon have the most unique vehicle your child's imagination can cook up. The included challenge cards help get your kids acquainted with the concepts and, from there, they'll likely be spending hours putting together all sorts of cool gadgets.
A learning experience
Ever since I was a kid, I was fascinated with using one of those little grabber tools to reach up high and get cans out of the cabinet, position action figures higher up than I could reach, or to just drive everyone crazy. This robot arm is decidedly smaller and less mobile, but it's far more fascinating to use and it's a phenomenal way to learn about hydraulics and how to control the same kinds of robots and machinery that you'll find on construction sites and in factories.
All the things
Sillbot has put together a robot kit that'll let your kids build 12 pre-configured robots, all powered by the Sun. There aren't even batteries here to charge, just pure solar-power. All the buildable robot options are wildly different from one another, and none of them need an app or additional electronic device to operate, either. Once your kids have gone through all 12 options, they'll have an idea of how to truly customize their own robots from the diverse kit of pieces.
Become one with the Force
If your kid is a Star Wars fan... Well, this is the pretty obvious solution, right? Sphero BB-8 allows you to take control of the lovable droid through your smartphone, as well as voice control, or the super authentic-feeling wrist-mounted Force Band. It can last about an hour before needing to be charged (which takes 3 hours), but its body can definitely take some damage and your kid will even get into the spirit of Star Wars thanks to the robot's holographic video viewing option. R2-D2 is also available for around $200 but is quite a bit harder to find. May the Force be with you.
You'll have a ball
Sphero Mini is a robot that's wholly unique on this list. Instead of piecing together the robot and playing with the final design, Sphero Mini is a robot completely encapsulated inside a small sphere about the size of a ping pong ball. You'll be assembling an obstacle course that Sphero Mini can run through, completely controlled by the Sphero app on your smartphone. As is the case with several of these robots, Sphero Mini can be used for simple play or, as a more advanced choice, to learn how to code and create automated code-based ways for the robot to move.
Hard to argue with LEGO
When you think of building toys, you almost assuredly think of LEGO. The name is simply synonymous with creative building toys for a good reason, and LEGO Boost Creative robot will give your kids a new understanding of robots and coding with 847 pieces of joy. Thanks to the LEGO Boost app, available for Android or iOS, your kids can enjoy hundreds of hours of activities that are designed not just to be fun, but also to help them learn to code — one of the most important skills to learn for the digital age.
The UBTECH JIMU Robot introduces a buildable robot that you can shape and create in whichever way you want. But it doesn't stop there. You can also code the JIMU robot in a way that can teach it to navigate obstacles, pick-up objects, control lights and sound effects, and even give it a personality of its very own. While this is might be more suitable for older kids, younger kids will still have fun learning to code and build with ease. And if you're ever stuck, the app (iOS and Android) will be there to help you. UBTECH also sells a dragon model or a unicorn model that both feature the same capabilities as the Robot Astrobot.
Whether you're just looking for the best robot toys to get your kids, or trying to expand their learning horizons with an expandable coding robot, this list should have everything you need to get started. Great kits like the Tinker Labs Electric Motors Catalyst will get your kids thinking in new ways, inventing machines that do all sorts of things with just a few easy-to-assemble parts. Older kids can jump in with one of UBTECH's great robots, like the UBTECH JIMU Robot Astrobot, which can be used on its own or in conjunction with the app that teaches your child how to program more advanced behavior. Either way, it's a win-win for both play and learning!
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