Robotics kits are a wonderful way to introduce and improve your child’s STEM skills. The coding and building challenges presented by these robotics kits will help your child forge new connections in the brain, from analytical thinking to technical skills. There’s an activity out there for every child, from tots to teens and programming whizkids to novices. STEM-related job opportunities are growing at an explosive rate. Help spark your child’s interest in STEM to prepare them for a future in the fastest growing field worldwide!
Best Robotics Kits for Young Engineers
1. Snap Circuits Jr. Electronics Discovery Kit
The Snap Circuits Jr. Kit from Elenco brings robotics back-to-basics. Your child will find out what makes a robot “tick” by exploring circuitry and the foundations of electronics. The kit contains over 30 snap-together parts and instructions for more than 100 projects. Connect the parts to make a speaker sing, illuminate a flashing light or launch a tiny “helicopter” from it’s base. Expansion packs mean that the learning never has to end, even after your child has completed the entire circuit guidebook. Upgrade to Pro or Extreme for more complex parts and projects!
2. OWI Robotic Arm Edge
Your child can build a functional robotic arm with this kit from OWI. An intermediate build that requires only a basic toolset, the finished arm has five movable joints, five motors and a five-switch remote control, it also includes a light feature for in-the-dark use. Move, rotate and grip objects by controlling the arm’s rotating elbow, wrist and pincer. The arm can lift up to 100 grams—objects like cellphones and screwdrivers. Customers have even reported being able to “teach” the arm to write! With the addition of an interface cable and software, the project can be expanded to include a programming challenge.
3. mBot 1.0 Programmable Robot Kit
The mBot 1.0 Kit from Makeblock is all about graphical programming. With an easy to construct body, the main focus of the project is bringing the mBot to life using software to control its functions and motions. Adjust the speed and direction of mBot’s path, change the lightbulb’s hue, or soften the pitch of mBot’s beeps. Robot enthusiasts can take mBot to the next level by incorporating compatible Lego parts and Arduino systems. Using Bluetooth, you can control mBot with your computer or cell phone for endless hours of robot fun!
4. Think & Learn Code-A-Pillar Toy
Introduce your child to robotics early with the Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-A-Pillar. The Code-A-Pillar’s segments snap together to direct it’s movements (forward, left, and right) to reach it’s target. Flashing lights and sounds engage young learners in this hands-on experiment in coding and spatial thinking. For even more fun, your child can create an obstacle course for their caterpillar to navigate. Or, incorporate expansion pieces for full- and half-turns, and more light and sound combinations!
5. Meccano Super Construction Set
“Build, Learn & Play” with Meccano-Erector Multimodels robotics kits. The erector set has been a beloved toy for children of all ages since the beginning of the 20th century. Now, the addition of a motor and the potential to be combined with an Arduino board have catapulted it into the future! With over 640 pieces and a 6-volt motor, the possibilities are endless. Children can create functional cars, cranes, and ‘copters with the kit’s detailed visual instructions or come up with a design of their own.
6. 14-in-1 Educational Solar Robot Kit
Super sun-powered robots! This kit from Jeemak has everything your child needs to create fourteen different solar robot models, including Turtle-bot, Row-bot, Beetle-bot and Walker-bot. Introduce your child to green technology, and watch as the sun brings their creations to life, on land and in the water!
7. Ozobot 2.0 Bit
Tiny but mighty, Ozobot 2.0 Bit is one of the smallest programmable robots on the market. Ozobot is versatile—your child can use the robot with a computer, iPad and marker and paper. Watch as it changes color, direction and mode as it follows a color-coded path. Ozobot iPad apps, expansions and printable activities are a great way to discover all of it’s capabilities. The sky’s the limit once you’ve got the hang of it. The robot comes with access to OzoBlocky, a visual, drag-and-drop programming interface.
8. Code & Go Robot Mouse Activity Set
Looking for a simple introduction to coding and robotics for your young child? Then look no further than the Code & Go Robot Mouse Activity Set from Learning Resources. The set turns programming into an interactive puzzle-type board game, perfect for building critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Select a challenge card and arrange the interlocking board pieces, obstacles, tunnels and cheese wedge to match. Then, using directional cards, lay out a step-by-step path from start to finish. Finally, program the mouse and watch as it follows your directions to get to the cheese!
9. OWI Super Solar Recycler
Eco-friendly building is the name of the game with OWI’s Super Solar Recycler Kit. Turn old cans, bottles and CDs into incredible, functioning robots powered by the sun! This kit provides an affordable introduction to robot-construction, with easy-to-follow directions and no need for batteries. Create a “Street Roller, Walking Robot, Bottle Yacht, Drummer Robot, Flying Bird, or CD Racer” with the 6-in-1 kit.
Have you discovered any cool robotics kits you want to let us know about? We’re always open to learning here and want to bring you the best kits and products… plus we love crazy and fun robotics!!
Feature image courtesy of Flickr, JD Hancock.