Teaching basic robotics to kids is an excellent way to foster a love for science and engineering that will grow with them as they get older. Fun robot kits for kids are a great way to introduce children to simple robotics engineering concepts. Robotics projects increase creativity, teach children to follow directions, and the finished product gives them a sense of accomplishment and confidence. Not only that, but they have a cool toy to play with when the project is complete. In a world where instant gratification is often the norm, having to put a little time and effort into building a toy will help kids to appreciate the toys they have and the mechanics behind them.
There’s a variety of robot kits for kids, ranging from programmable, remote controlled robots to simple, easy to assemble pull back toys. When choosing a robot kit, consider your child’s age and interest level. A child experienced in building things with legos or erector sets may enjoy a more complicated build, while a beginner may enjoy something simple and easy. When shopping for robotics kits for kids, it’s best to look for kits that don’t require soldering, as many kits designed for adults do. Shop for kits in which the finished robot looks cool and is durable, and the project level is appropriate for your young engineer.
Build-Your-Own Robot Kits For Kids
1. Makeblock Starter Robot Kit
The Makeblock Starter Robot Kit is a great robot kit for kids. It’s fun to build and helps builders learn not only robotics and electronics, it also uses basic Arduino programming. (Arduino is an easy to use open-source electronics prototyping platform.) The kit builds either a robot tank or three-wheeled robot car and the finished product is pretty cool.
Best for: Serious beginners, Arduino, robotics, coding
2. Wonder Workshop Dash Robot
Most definitely the cutest little robot for kids, the Wonder Workshop Dash Robot is perfect for kids just getting into robotics, coding, and making. Controlled via a free app for Apple or Android, kids can use their phone or tablet to program Dash to move, dance, light up, make sounds, avoid obstacles, and even react to their voice.
Best for: Beginners, coding, apps
3. 4M Tin Can Robot
Teach recycling and robotics with the 4M Tin Can Robot. The kit includes everything to assemble the cute robot, except a used can. The finished product is an entertaining walking and wobbling robot that kids will love. It’s not an overly-complicated build but your young scientist may need a little bit of assistance.
Best for: Simple, Low cost
4. 11 in 1 Programmable Robot Kit
The 11 in 1 Programmable Robot Kit is a jack of all trades… Well, 11 trades at least. Powered by the hugely popular Arduino platform, this little guy can transform into a line-following robot, rubber band gun robot, edge-detection robot, interactive game robot, and many more.
Best for: Arduino programming, Mechanics
5. LEGO Mindstorms EV3
The king of the DIY robot space has got to be LEGO Mindstorms EV3. While it does come at a heftier price tag, Lego robotics offer some amazing enhancements to the hugely popular world of LEGO. With building guides for five unique robots, the EV3 can be controlled directly from a smartphone or programmed via iOS/Android app and PC/Mac machines.
Best for: LEGO lovers, Coding, High-end
6. 4M Table Top Robot
The 4M Table Top Robot is a clever, easily assembled, and inexpensive robot kit. Kids will enjoy building this cool looking little robot. After building, just install the batteries and start it up. It walks across a table and then senses when it’s too close to the edge, then turns to go a different direction. This is a really fun introduction to robot kits for kids.
Best for: Simple, Low cost
7. ZOOB BOT
A NAPPA Children’s Competition Honor Winner, the ZOOB BOT is a fun and simple build. It’s a great introduction to robotics and building. The robot is made up of gears, joints, and axles that just snap together. It includes instructions for different robots but there’s potential for a creative maker to build so many more. The finished robot is an enjoyable pull-back toy with light up eyes.
Best for: Simple, battery optional, younger children
8. Smithsonian Science Activities Robo Spider Kit
Easy to follow instructions and a reasonable price make the Smithsonian Science Activities Robo-Spider Kit an excellent robotics build for beginners. The final product is a cool toy and it includes a color poster for kids to display on their wall.
Best for: Simple, insect lovers, low cost
9. Thames & Kosmos Remote Control Machines
Another kit for building remote controlled robots, the Thames & Kosmos Remote Control Machines have everything needed to build ten machines. A creative maker will be able to use the pieces to build many more. The included infrared remote control allows the user to control three different motors at the same time for lots of fun after the building is finished.
Best for: Intermediate, creatives, mechanics
10. 4M Doodling Robot
The 4M Doodling Robot is a cool and unique little robot. This inexpensive kit is a relatively easy build and kids will enjoy watching it make its own works of art. The finished robot can be taken apart and rebuilt in different configurations, making the robot draw different patterns. It’s a fun lesson in building, mechanics, and basic robotics.
Best for: Simple, artists, low cost
11. Kuman Project Complete Starter Kit for Arduino UNO
The Kuman Complete Starter Kit for Arduino UNO is the perfect launching pad for kids to take their robotics and programming to the next level. With 44 components and a tutorial CD full of projects and source code, the kit contains everything your child needs to start creating amazing things. From simple and fun projects through to masterpieces of electronic engineering, this is the kit for kids with limitless imagination and ideas.
Best for: Intermediate/Advanced, coding, limitless possibilities
Robot kits for kids offer a fun and educational building experience. Has your child used a robotics kit? Tell us about it in the comment below!
Feature image adapted from image courtesy of Flickr, Brad Montgomery.