Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Thinkgizmos Remote Control Robot at Amazon
“From talking to shooting disks, he is a robot of many talents.”
Best Lifelike: Anki Cozmo at Amazon
“Promoted as a ‘supercomputer and loyal sidekick’ all in one.”
Best Building Kit: LEGO Creator Robo Explorer at Amazon
“For the price, it’s a great gift for young roboticists.”
Best for Toddlers: Fisher-Price Teach 'N Tag at Amazon
“Movi talks, moves, and has 60 different facial expressions.“
Best for Coders: Ozobot Bit Maker Pack at Target
“This itty bitty robot packs a powerful punch when it comes to capabilities.”
Best STEM: SmartGurlz with Maria Doll at Amazon
“Maria is a doll with a robotic scooter that can be programmed by little coders.”
Best Sci-Fi: Star Wars Droid Kit at Amazon
“Kids and adults alike will be blown away by the things this droid can do.”
Best to Build: ZOOB BuilderZ ZOOB Bot at Amazon
“Kids can go by the book or come with up with creations of their own.”
01 of 08
Best Overall: Thinkgizmos Remote Control Robot
This remote-control robot does it all. From talking to shooting disks to busting a move, he is a robot of many talents. Once you load him up with the brightly colored disks (12 are included), you use the remote to get him into position, then it’s ready, aim, fire. (Parents, take cover!) He can even be programmed ahead of time to move and fire on his own for a surprise attack.
A touch of the “dance“ button and he’ll show you his moves. He can also walk forward, backward, left and right, and will greet you when you turn him on, “Greetings, Master, I await your command.” All that power takes six AA batteries, which aren’t included, so you may want to stock up as kids will want to start using this one pronto. Recommended for ages five and up, this robot is all about fun.
02 of 08
Best Lifelike: Anki Cozmo
For anyone who’s ever dreamed of having their own little robot “friend” like the ones in the movies, Cosmo may be the answer. Promoted as a “supercomputer and loyal sidekick” all in one, this is one smart and fun robot. Not only can it express hundreds of emotions, fist bump you and sneeze, but it also knows its owner’s name, face and quirks. Cosmo can also play games, lift the Power Cubes that are included, explore his environment and oh so much more. The more you play, the more new games and activities are updated for constantly evolving fun.
Kids get coding practice too, as they do basic block coding to get Cosmo to perform a variety of actions. All they need is a compatible iOS or Android device and the free Cozmo app. Recommended for ages eight and up, Cozmo runs on lithium batteries (included) and comes with a charger to keep powered up.
03 of 08
Best Building Kit: LEGO Creator Robo Explorer 31062 Robot Toy
Little builders can create their own robots with this inexpensive Lego robot kit. It has everything they need to build a robot-explorer, a robot dog and a robot bird. While the robots won’t talk, dance or move electronically, they feature movable tracks and body parts for lots of kid-powered, imaginative fun. Two batteries (included) power cool features on the robots like light-up eyes and a light-up jetpack.
The set is recommended for kids ages 7 to 12, and there are more than 200 pieces in all. Kids can follow the directions for the suggested creations or dream up wild, new robotic characters of their own. For the price, it’s a great gift for young roboticists.
04 of 08
Best for Toddlers: Fisher-Price Think & Learn Teach 'N Tag Movi
The toddler set will be mesmerized by Movi, an awesome little robot from Fisher-Price who will play games with them, teach them skills and so much more. From Red Light, Green Light to “Movi Says,” the games are on when Movi is on (Don’t worry parents, you can turn Movi off too). The games are active (tag, anyone?), so they get kids moving and grooving as they play and get exercise along the way.
Movi talks, moves and has 60 different facial expressions, making him feel quite real to kids. Movi will also teach kids shapes, letters, animal sounds and more, all while they’re having a blast. Movi runs on four C batteries, which are included, so the games can begin right out of the box.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Best for Coders: Ozobot Bit Maker Starter Pack
This itty bitty robot packs a big, powerful punch when it comes to capabilities. It’s just one cubic inch in size, but its powers are pretty major. Kids are in control as they use special markers to draw codes paper or the screen of tablet device. The Ozobot then follows the directions as dictated by the codes. Kids will be fascinated by their newfound power and get a taste of what coding is all about.
This starter pack comes with the Ozobot, a charging cable, four markers, skins and stickers and more than 20 suggested games and activities. When they’re ready to take their coding skills to the next level, there’s also an Ozobot website and apps for them to explore. One lithium battery is required, but it’s included, so Ozobot is ready to go out of the box. Recommended for ages eight and up, it’s a great toy that’s both fun and educational.
06 of 08
Best STEM: SmartGurlz with Maria Doll - App Controlled STEM Toy
Unlike most shoot-em-up, fighting robots, this one is prim and pretty, but also quite powerful. Part of the award-winning line of SmartGurlz toys, Maria is a doll with a robotic “Siggy” scooter that can be programmed by little coders. They use the SugarCoded app on a smartphone or tablet to send her on missions and other adventures including dances, obstacle courses, fashion shows and more. The app also lets them solve missions, win points and see how their friends are doing as well. Girl power, indeed.
Designed for kids ages five and up, it’s a great way to introduce STEM and coding skills in a fun and engaging way. It runs on one nine-volt battery (not included), but you can also purchase a rechargeable battery (sold separately).
07 of 08
Best Sci-Fi: Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit
Star Wars fans will flip for this kit that lets them build their own droid. It includes everything they need to bring it to life, including the electric blocks and parts, a nine-volt battery and an app that guides them. Recommended for kids ages eight and up, and it’s designed to be simple enough for them to construct without the help of parents, so they feel a sense of accomplishment. If they want to get extra creative, they can put the directions aside and build a bot straight from their imagination.
Once it’s finished, they can teach their droid new skills and send it on missions and challenges. The droid runs in drive mode (kids control it via the app), self-nav mode (the smart bot has a “mind” of its own), and even, force mode, where kids can guide it with the simple wave of a hand. Kids and adults alike will be blown away by the things this droid can do.
08 of 08
Best to Build: ZOOB BuilderZ ZOOB Bot
This kit offers a beginning course in robotics as it contains everything kids need to build their own cool bot. It comes with 49 pieces, two wheels, a pull-back two-wheel motor, four tires and cool, light up eyes. Instructions to build four ZOOB-Bots are included, as is the required battery. Kids can go by the book, or come with up with creations of their own as their imagination is the best guide. The pieces simply snap together, and they work with other ZOOB kits for expanded building.
Recommended for ages six up and an affordable price, it’s a great way to get kids interested in robotics and start building those STEM skills
Products Tested by The Spruce
How We Tested
We bought two top-rated robot toys and our reviewers tested them for 20 hours. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these toys, from their price to their entertainment value. We’ve outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
What to Look for in a Robot Toy
Function Some robots will delight kids with their tricks and human-like capabilities; others will help them learn important skills. Certain robots come ready to wow kids out of the box, while in the cases of other models, putting them together is part of the fun. Consider your child’s age, interests, and attention span when choosing the perfect robot toy.
Complexity While most robots come with a recommended age range, think about a child’s individual skills when choosing a bot. Kids who like a challenge may prefer a bot they can program themselves, using STEM skills, while others may just want to play games and dance with their toy.
Price From basic, affordable bots to more expensive ones with bells and whistles aplenty, robots come in a wide range of prices. If you’re not sure about a child’s affinity for robots, you may want to start with a more basic model, while devoted fans might get more use out of a sophisticated bot. Don’t forget to consider the cost of batteries, too — some require quite a few and need replacing frequently.
Test Results: Thinkgizmos Remote Control Robot Fires Discs, Dances, Talks - Super Fun RC Robot (Best Overall)
What We Like
Discs shoot fast
What We Don't Like
Packaging feels cheap
One of our testers thought that this toy was very much worth buying “for its entertainment qualities.” One reviewer also reported that her children loved using it: “The discs shoot far and fast which was exciting for my son,” she said. “It’s also great that the discs are soft so I didn't have to worry about them accidentally hitting his younger brother.” In terms of negatives, one reviewer didn’t like its high volume: “I’d add a volume button,” she said. “It’s way too loud — especially for those of us who live in apartments.” One tester also said that its packaging material “felt cheap and made the toy feel less special.”
Test Results: Anki Cozmo (Best Lifelike)
What We Like
Fun to play with
Teaches kids about coding
Has broad appeal
What We Don't Like
Questions about ongoing app support
Although our tester pointed out this toy’s high cost, she still felt it was a worthwhile investment: “Cozmo is very much worth buying if you can afford to do it,” she said. “He's the perfect toy to help introduce kids to coding, and he's constantly evolving and learning alongside your child. It's pretty cool to see.” She did, however, have concerns about its ongoing app support: “Anki recently announced that it’d be shutting its doors and laying off all staff,” she said. “Bugs or other issues could cause the app, and therefore Cozmo, to be useless, especially if it's not being regularly updated or patched.” Note: the company has created a self-serve help center and will be monitoring cloud operations for Anki accounts.