Anyone with a tech-savvy kid knows that robotics kits are the new up and coming toy in terms of tinkering trends.
In fact, if you have a child between the ages of seven and seventeen, you’ve likely already been approached with a request for one of these popular toys.
The current market in robotic kits is overwhelming, with thousands of different kits already piling up on toy shelves around the nation. So, how do you know which to buy?
Below, we will outline what robotics kits are, how they can help your child develop skills to last a lifetime, and which robotics kits are best for your child’s individual interests and skill level.
Why a Robotics Kit?
Robotics kits are a great investment for children who are eager to learn about the field of robotics or even kids who are just generally interested in figuring out how things work.
Have you ever known a child that loved to pull apart old broken toys, clocks, or small appliances? If so, then those are the exact kids that robotics kits are geared for. Robotics kids teach kids to think critically. By putting their robot together, they actually learn the cause and effects of technology and mechanics.
These are useful tools not only for kids with a keen interest in the field, but also to kids in general. The toy helps them develop their sense of problem solving and prediction, which will benefit them in many areas of life!
Robotics Kit Buyer’s Guide
When purchasing a robotics kit, you are going to have a lot of questions. Especially if you have never tinkered in robotics before, the setup of a robotics kit is likely to overwhelm you. Below, we will discuss some of the major criteria to consider when purchasing your first kit.
The instructions on these things can be a little complicated. If possible, take the time to look over the instructions before you decide on your purchase.
Granted, anything that is meant to challenge your child will be confusing to them at first. You aren’t looking, necessarily, for instructions that are crystal clear. Instead, what you want to do is find a kit that will be challenging, but not so challenging that you’re going to have to call in three uncles with PhDs and an aerospace engineer to help.
Look for instructions that include diagrams and words that your child will easily understand. If there are larger words that must be put into play, give the instructions a read through to determine if there are enough context clues to help them out or if there is a glossary provided.
What is your child’s individual personality like? Do they like dinosaurs? Outer space? Would they be more interested in building a small robotic car or a small robotic man? Maybe their “robot” should be nothing more than an intricate alarm system.
Different kids like different things. A robotic kit that suits their personal taste will play out far better than one that doesn’t. A child who grows frustrated trying to build their robot is more likely to give up if they don’t think the end result is worth their current effort.
Always check the suggested age on the box. A child of six is not going to understand or learn anything from a robotics kit that is designed for teenagers. Similarly, a teenager is going to quickly become bored with a kit that is designed for minds and skills below their own.
How is the robotics kit constructed? Is it an easy kit with snap-together parts? Does it require gluing or screwing? Must your child learn how to solder?
The safety and construction skills of the robotics kit are just as important as the skills required to understand the mechanics. Do not get a kit that your child will be afraid of trying to tackle or one that they could potentially injure themselves working on.
The price of a robotics kit matters, too. Especially on the first go around, you aren’t going to want to invest a great deal of money into a project that your child might not even enjoy. Start small and test the waters, then work your way up into the more advanced (and expensive) options on the market.
Best Robotics Kits
There are thousands of robotics kits currently available for sale online and in stores. It can be hard, given the climate of the market, to know what’s “junk” and what is worth the price and effort.
Below, we have compiled a list of some of the best robotics kits we have found on the market today. We have also reviewed each fully to give you a better idea of how each works and what kind of child it is best suited for.
- Beginner course in robotics
- NAPPA Children's Competition, Honor Winner
- Battery included for eyes, no batteries required for pull back motor
The ZOOB Bot Builder is a kit that has nearly 50 different pieces that all work together to create a number of shapes and robot designs. Inside of the kit, you will find step-by-step instructions for four of the creations, but ingenuity is definitely rewarded here!
The pieces can be taken apart and put together any way your child wants, meaning they might be making their own special robots designed to perform unique tasks in no time!
- BUILD AND TRANSFORM A ROBOT - The 14-in-1 Educational Solar Robot kit allows your future engineer to build a robot and...
- CHALLENGE AND EDUCATE - Curious learners will be challenged with building and interacting with the 14 different robot...
- POWERED BY THE SUN - With alternative energy playing such a pivotal role, there is no better time than now to start...
This robot is designed to work without batteries by harvesting the natural energy of sunlight. There are over a dozen different ways to make this robot – you can build a crab, a dog, a person, or more!
The only drawback to this robot is that it can not be remotely powered by phone or other devices, as many of the other robots on the list can be. This is because the OWI Solar Robot only works in direct sunlight, putting the energy it gathers to immediate use.
Eventually, the day might come where there is a robotics kit that will charge and stay charged from solar power, but for right now, the OWI is a great way to teach your child about mechanics and natural energy.
- The 4M Tin Can Robot teaches the value of recycling by repurposing a used can into a fun and functional robot.
- No special tools or knowledge required; the kit contains detailed instructions and all the necessary parts.
- Just add a used soda pop can and let the fun begin.
This kit breaks robotics down to bare-bones basics. You basically use a tin can to build a robot from the few essential components that come inside the kit.
Not only is this a great lesson in recycling (since the kids will have to “harvest” their own junk supplies), it is a lesser expensive option because there is not so much involved in putting the kit together.
When the robot is finished, he will move around the room on his own, and your child will feel a swelling sense of pride knowing that they have literally turned trash into a whole new treasure!
- Geckobot model walks vertically up smooth surfaces like windows, glass, and mirrors.
- Learn about the physics of air-pressure, suction, and surface texture.
- Build 6 robotic models, in addition to the Geckobot; 7 different models in all.
Is there anything more fun than a gecko? As it turns out, yes. That would be a robot gecko. The parts of this kit require minimum assembly, so it’s a fun kit for almost any age. The moving parts all make him walk and move just like a real gecko would when his construction is finished.
Like many others of his kind, this robot is controlled by a phone app and can do a number of cool tricks like walking up walls with suction cup feet or breaking apart into six smaller robots when desired!
This kid comes in two variations. You can build a robot or you can build a robot dog. Each of the robots is built using six interior motors. This means that the movements of these robots will be extra smooth when built properly.
While the kits are easy to use with pieces that simply snap together, there are over 250 pieces in total, so patience is a virtue when sorting through the step by step instructions to get this project done.
When the robot is built, it is programmed with a smart device app for kids to control Jim or his Mutt from anywhere within the home.
- The Meccano MeccaSpider is designed for kids aged 10+. Intermediate complexity level. Build time of 1-3 hours. 5 C...
- BUILD A ROBOT: Designed for children aged 10 and up, building the MeccaSpider is a challenge that kids and parents can...
- EDUCATIONAL AND INTERACTIVE STEM TOY: The robotic kit encourages kids to develop skills in science, technology,...
The MeccaSpider sounds a lot scarier than it really is. This high-tech arachnoid is designed with kids 10 years and up in mind to be able to build on their own without the assistance of a grown up.
When fully built, the spider is red and black and squirts “venom” at threats. It also uses infrared sensors to track its friends or enemies, which are easily programmed using a smartphone app. It is even designed with a built-in game interface.
- The future is here and it’s ready to play! Meet M.A.X, the 12” tall advanced robot featuring both artificial...
- M.A.X comes with built-in infrared sensors, to help it sense obstacles and navigate surfaces as it rolls around on...
- Challenge young minds with this S.T.E.M robotics toy. Perfect for budding engineers, builders and visionaries, M.A.X...
M.A.X. is the new robotics sidekick from the Mecanno line. He’s a curious little guy who, when fully functional, will guard your bedroom, tell you a joke, sing you a song, or even play games with you.
This is a robotics kit that is designed for parents and kids to work together. There is a fair amount of complicated instruction involved, but nothing that isn’t still educational and simple enough for parents to explain to their children as they are working.
When fully constructed, M.A.X. stands 12 inches tall and uses his infrared eyesight to navigate obstacles throughout the house and uses his digital face plate to respond to his master with facial expressions, game interfaces, and cute dialogue.
- Now with coding! Kids learn how to control electronics with code in 6+ New Block-Based coding missions.
- Award-winning: winner of 50+ toy awards and gift guides, including creative toy of the year, Good Housekeeping & ttpm.
- Missions & challenges: now with 22+ missions in the app so kids can teach their Droid new skills.
This is definitely one of the favorites on the market. Anyone who has ever loved Star Wars has dreamed of being friends with the signature series robot, R2D2. This kit actually lets you build him yourself!
The kit from LitteBits is designed to build a miniature model of the robot which can be powered by one of two ways – either with a smartphone app or with your very own “force.” The “force,” of course, is a touch activation trigger that is engaged by a wave of the crafter’s hand. How neat is that?
Robotics Kits: In Review
If you are the proud parent of a young scientist, you probably already know that robotics kits are the next big thing in kids’ toys. What you might have had trouble with, though, was figuring out which robotics kits were best for your child’s needs and why.
Any of the kits featured on this list would make a great gift for a child who is interested in learning more about how robotics works. Each of the toys we discussed has its own unique characteristics that make it a worthwhile competitor in the robotics kit field of market. They are also each uniquely geared toward a child’s personal taste.
Hopefully, after reading this, you have a good idea of how robotics kits work and the unique way in which they can help your child learn. You might also have a better idea of which robotics kit you would like to purchase for your own child.