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If you're looking for a toy that allows kids to design their very own creation, be sure to consider robot toys. Whether you're shopping for young children or olds kids, there are tons of options out there that incorporate STEM skills and imagination that'll make for great entertainment.
From basic and budget-friendly robots to technologically advanced kits, robot toys come in many different forms. Just be sure to consider recommended age, safety, educational value, and price while you shop to narrow down the options and find the perfect fit.
Here, the best robot toys.
Think Gizmos RoboShooter 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.
"For whatever reason, kids—including ours—love throwing and shooting things at their parents, friends, siblings, and anyone else around. If your child is in this phase, you will probably appreciate the RoboShooter, as it’s a gentler alternative to, say, Nerf guns."—Kaity Velez, Product Tester
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.
Ozobot Bit Maker Starter Pack
Though it’s just one cubic inch in size, this robot's 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, 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.
SmartGurlz Coding Robot for Girls, Jen on Robotic Scooter
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).
ZOOB BuilderZ ZOOB Bot Moving Building Modeling System
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
What to Look for in a Robot Toy
Robot toys don’t need to be complicated to be fun. Younger robot enthusiasts can benefit from a simpler, introductory robot kit or friend that introduces them to coding and design. Older children can likely handle a more complex activity that includes electrical components and intricate pieces and construction. You should also consider a child’s individual skills and preferences when choosing a bot. Kids who like a challenge may want a bot they can program themselves, using STEM skills, while others may just want to play games and dance with their toy.
Like with any toy, make sure to consider the safety precautions when choosing a robot toy. Many robot toys and kits include complex construction, which can pose a safety hazard for younger users. Hooking up electrical components and mechanical parts are best done with some adult supervision and oversight. Always follow the recommended instructions with your toy to keep everyone safe.
Robots are a great way to incorporate educational STEM principles into play. Many require imagination during the design and construction phase. Coding and mechanical design are two skills that bots are particularly good at encouraging. 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.
According to Chuck English, Virginia STEM Coordinator at the Science Museum of Virginia, coding is a popular activity for children of all ages. “Coding is a much broader term than what I grew up with. It’s not just learning certain languages. Kids can now develop simple apps and programs where they can see the outcome of it.”