Remember how fun the best LEGO sets were as a kid? They sparked your imagination and helped you create the toys that you played with. Robot kits for kids is the way more advanced version of the LEGO sets we grew up with (although LEGO has robot kits, but we’ll get to that) and are a great way to introduce children into the world of robotics and use their imaginations and creativity to essentially build their own toys — just like we did with LEGOs.
Robot kits takes fun and education and blends them together seamlessly. These robot kits help promote STEM learning (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and gives kids an early jump on using critical thinking to build their robot, as well as teaches them the basics of machine coding. And these kits do this in a fun and interactive way that keep kids engaged and wanting to learn.
A robot kit may be the thing that unlocks your kid’s hidden passion for mathematics and engineering that they didn’t even know they had. And as a bonus, it keeps them away from their gaming console for hours at a time.
Below are our recommendations for the best robot kits available in 2021:
1. LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox
The LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox is great for both complete beginners and those looking for a bit of a challenge. There are five different models that can be built. The instructions do a great job of guiding total newbies through their first robots, yet letting more advanced kids a little more leeway for personal creative expression. If you reach a point where your kid needs more to tinker with, there are additional LEGO products that also work with the kit, so the kit can expand as your kid’s knowledge expands.
2. Makeblock mBot Coding Robot Kit
This robot kit is simple for kids to get real world robot building experience. Instead of snap-together parts, youngsters will get to screw some parts into place — which may call for a little more adult supervision to be on the safe side. The app provides lessons that are basically mini games to help them build their robot all while keeping them entertained and engaged. And since the robot comes pre-programed with different operating modes, once their build is complete they can get to playing quickly.
3. Sphero Mini
PROGRAMMING FOR YOUNGSTERS
The ball is ready, your kiddo just needs to program it. The Shero Mini is more about programming than physical building. But don’t hesitate, it takes zero initial technical skill to get started. Your kid will go from getting the ball to moving to programming the sensors to teaching it how to say “ouch” when it rolls into an object like a wall. For a simple design, it provides kids a lot of programming lessons that unfolds gradually to promote their knowledge and interest in coding.
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4. Wonder Workshop Dash
APP BASED LEARNING
Kids can start their coding journey through game-based lessons that are available on various iPhone and Android apps. The apps teach your child how to program the robot from head to toe — literally. They’ll learn how to make the robot move to making sounds and turning its lights on and off. Having the choice to use different apps provides an opportunity for your kid to learn the way that best suites them, whether that’s through more picture, game or text based learning. It’s a versatile robot kit to help your kid learn to code.
5. Nintendo Labo Variety Kit
BEST FOR LITTLE GAMERS
Leave it to Nintendo to create a new way for kids to interact with their gaming consoles. Kids will use this kit to create toy-cons — additional controllers like pianos or fishing rods to help them interact and play each game. Although the toy-cons are made from cardboard, this gives little builders a chance to create and interact with their games like no other gaming console has. It’s a unique idea that helps kids learn while they game.
6. 4M Tin Can Robot
The Tin Can robot is literally a recycled soda can which little programmers can use like a blank canvas to spark their mechanical creativity. The instructions are simple and even the most novice users can build their first robot in less than an hour. Once it is built, you can program it to move in a straight line and move the arms and eyes. Sure, it’s not as flashy or advanced as other robot kits for kids, but it teaches kids the basics of mechanics in a fun and super affordable way.
Read more: The Best Robot Toys
7. LEGO Mindstorms
ADVANCED ROBOT BUILDING
We’re big fans of the LEGO Mindstorms robot kits, which recently relaunched in October 2020 with all-new designs and smarter bots. If your kid gets really into building and coding, consider splurging a bit to get them a kit with more advanced coding options. There are over 50 activities that kids can choose from and literally hundreds of components and parts for them to use to build their robot. This robot kit is suitable to kids 10 and up and can even help them prepare for kid robot building leagues that happen at schools around the country.
8. UBTECH Jimu Robot Buzzbot & Muttbot
There are enough components in the kit to build both the Buzzbot and Muttbot, which gives little builders plenty to work on as they jump into the world of robotics and coding. The recommended age is eight and up since the pin and hole construction might be a little too intricate for real young children. The Jimu app not only helps with the build but also provides a library of other creators and how they coded the project to help your kid spark ideas on what is possible with their robot.
9. Makeblock Ultimate Robot Kit
MULTIPLE ROBOT BUILDS
If your kid is advancing quickly in the robot building world, the Makeblock Ultimate Robot Kit has over 550 pieces that can be constructed into 10 different types of robots. They can make a catapult, gripping hand and many others all from this kit. Kids can learn to build their robots using both graphic-based or text-based coding, which helps them advance their building skills even further. It’s expensive, but there’s a lot packed into this robot kit.
10. Learning Resources Botley The Coding Robot Activity Set
NO SCREEN TIME
Between TV, computers, tablets and phones, children already get more than enough screen time. This robot kit for kids teaches them how to build a robot and code without the need for a phone or app. Kids five and up can learn how to build and program this little robot which is completely controlled by a neat little remote control. Let your kid get started on robotics early, and give their eyes a break from the screen, too.