Top Robotic Toys To Build 2020
These days, children need to use and understand technology to make their way in the world, and to be prepared for the jobs and careers of the future. Buildable robot toys can help them do this.
The best robotic toys to build, teach kids the STEM skills they will need - science, technology, engineering and math - and in a fun way that is easy to understand.
Here, our selection of build-your-own-robot-kits range from the simple to the complex. Some use a free downloadable app from the manufacturers to program and control the bots from a smart phone or tablet.
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Kamigami Creepy-Crawly Robot Bugs - By Mattel
Kamigami build-it-yourself robots from Mattel are a bit different from other robot kits. They’re not just based on insect shapes, they're assembled with parts made from tough, foldable plastic materials. The parts go together easily with snap rivets.
You download a free app to your Smart device, then use the easy-to-use interface to program and control your robot.
Play solo or take advantage of the IR sensors to battle with friends.
In the box with your Kamigami critter kit, there’s a fully encased motor, micro-USB charging cable and full instructions.
These are fun and affordable robot kits. They’re great for teaching kids about robotic engineering and having fun doing so.
For ages 8 and over.
Mantix Praying Mantis
These are a few of the robots from Mattel. See all the Kamigami Robot Kits HERE!
4M Tin Can Robot
Introduce your kids to scientific and mechanical principles in a fun and exciting way, with the 4M Tin Can Robot.
This tin robot is a fun robotics kit that will teach children the science behind creating a robot, as well as the value of recycling.
They’ll be able to build a motorized and functional silly robot toy, a motorized monster or a variation of the two.
All that’s needed to build this kit is a used soda can, one AA battery and a Phillips screwdriver.
Ages: 8 years and up.
UBTECH Jimu Robot 2-in-1 Kit
You build this robot kit in several ways. Either assemble the pre-designed Buzzbot or Muttbot - a humanoid type or a dog based robot - or create your own unique robot.
The parts are snap-together and can be easily assembled into your robot of choice.
Movements are programmed in the Jimu app which can be downloaded to your smart device.
Good points are that it is easy to build and code. With 3-D animated instructions, the step by step assembly is straightforward. The larger the screen on your device the better, so a tablet would be better than a phone.
The kit has a number of small parts, so it’s best to keep younger kids away to avoid the risk of them getting swallowed!
This robotic kit is great for kids of eight years and above to engage in STEM learning. There’s hours of fun to be enjoyed with this Jimu robot.
Ages: 8 years and up
Makeblock mBot Starter Robot Kit
The mBot is a good starter robot kit for kids to learn about robot engineering, and entry-level graphical programming.
It can be assembled easily in 20 minutes or so, without making any mess. Circuit boards and Bluetooth Modules just clip into place, making robot construction a breeze. It is available in blue or pink.
Remote control is easy and uses the the mBot app which can be downloaded to iOS and Android devices, and mBlock software which is based on the Scratch 2.0 programming language and which works with PCs.
There are separate versions of the kit. The Bluetooth version will be best for family and home use. (Note - mBot is not compatible with Amazon Kindle Fire tablets).
There are many modes to play with mBot - it has sensors that allow it to follow lines and to avoid obstacles for example. It can be reassembled and reprogrammed many times over.
What’s also cool about the mBot kit is that it is compatible with LEGO pieces, so you can use your imagination to modify the appearance of your bot if you wish.
The robot needs to be powered by 4 x AA batteries or a 3.7v 1800 mah rechargeable Lithium battery.
The mBot is an affordable STEM robot kit and a great educational tool, providing simple learning about coding and robotics.
There are Add-ons to extend the scope of mBot - Click HERE!
Age range: 8 years and older.
LEGO Mindstorms EV3 31313 Robotic Toy Kit
The LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robot kit is in a class of its own. Over 600 pieces in the box enable your kids to build 5 different robots. Technically it's better than previous models, with faster processor, more memory, touch sensor, color sensor, infra-red sensor and so on.
It's been put together to make it more fun and easier to get started with, and to be able to create some very cool looking robotic machines.
At the core of this robot is the EV3 brick with an ARM9 processor. It has a USB port for WiFi and to connect to the internet, a Micro SD Card, 4 motor ports and backlit buttons.
Control is by integration with your smart device - you download the free EV3 software - as well as with a remote control unit.
Each robot has about 5 different missions to follow so there is plenty to do with EV3.
The Lego Mindstorms EV3 makes it possible for anyone to build and control robots. It is pricey but offers superb value for this type of toy.
Ages: 10 to 15 years.
Crawler-mounted ATV Tracker & Rapter
6-legged Spiker & Heavy-lifting Gripper
UBTECH JIMU Builderbots Series Overdrive Kit - Interactive Robot Building Block System
Using Ubtech’s award winning building block system you can build, code and interact with their Builderbots robots Dozerbot or DirtBot, in this Overdrive Kit. You can even create your own design of robot from the parts supplied.
You’ll need a compatible Apple or Android device to operate Builderbots. Just download the free JIMU Robot app then get to work using Blockly coding to navigate your Builderbot around obstacles, pick up objects follow a routeway, learn STEM skills and have a lot of fun.
In addition to using code sequences, you can also program new custom actions using a PRP system - that’s Pose, Record, Play.
These bots have 2 robotic servo motors, 2 DC motor, an ultrasonic sensor, a rag light, main control box, a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery and a USB cable for charging.
There are 410 snap together parts. The assembly guide uses 3D and 360 degree animated instructions which makes the robot building a breeze.
Buildable and codable robots like Dozerbot or DirtBot are great ways for kids to learn about robotic engineering and programming, and have a great deal of fun at the same time!
Recommended ages: 8 years and up.
DozerBot - look at those cool on-screen animated instructions!
Meccano-Erector Micronoid Code Zapp Robot
Build Micronoid Code Zapp, connect it to your computer, then program it. This nice sized STEM robot from Meccano takes a bit less than an hour to assemble, then your kids are ready to start learning the basics of coding.
Kids can code their own robot movement sequences, use the built-in games, and create music with the Micronoid's sound effects.
There are several Micronoid robots, (see all Micronoids HERE!) each with their own personality, style and voice. They interact with each other and when working in close proximity, will co-ordinate their moves.
The kit has 115 parts, a motorized micro module, USB charging cable, tools and instruction sheet.
4 x AA batteries are required which are not included.
Ages: 8 years and older - for budding engineers and robo-coders at the novice level.
Robobloq Qoopers - 6-in-1 Transformable Robot Kit
This DIY Robot kit is a great introduction to science, engineering and coding. Just build a robot, then control it with your phone or tablet.
Qoopers is a programmable, build yourself robot that can be assembled in any of 6 pre-designed ways - as either Captain Alloy, Scorpoid, The Voyager, The Dozer, The Cavalier or Li’l Guardian. You can even use the components to construct your very own custom design robo machine.
Components are made of metal, which is a pleasant change from the more usual plastic, and the aluminum parts have a nice colored metallic finish.
Use the Robobloq app for fully illustrated building instructions - robots take less than an hour to assemble. Then use the app to set up and run your robot.
The Scratch 2.0 based graphical programming system is easy to use, and helps you learn coding fast with its user-friendly interface. You program your robot by dragging-and-dropping blocks of code into a command sequence on your smart device.
When assembled, Qoppers run on powerful motors and provide a lot of fun indoors or outside. Control range is about thirty feet using Bluetooth.
You'll need 6 x AA batteries which are not supplied, so make sure you have enough replacement batteries as these robots will get a lot of use.
From a gift perspective, Robobloq Qoppers comes in neat packaging. Main pack contains 5 boxes clearly identifying the different parts - electronic modules, hardware and tools, main board and so on.
This is an exciting robotics package for older kids, and is fully customizable on the hardware and software sides for more advanced users.
Qoopers is a fun learning experience, whether building the machine, programming it or playing with it.
Hexbug Vex Balancing Boxer Robot
This pair of neat boxing robots from Vex Robotics, are made with over 600 snap-together parts. They are controlled via the free Vex Pilot app for Apple and Android devices that you can download for free.
The bots use self-stabilizing technology to operate upright, and as soon as you build them and download the app, they’re ready to throw a punch or two.
You can buy the boxing bots singly or as a pair, but it does make sense to buy them as a fighting pair as they work out cheaper.
6 x AA batteries are required per robot (12 in total), which are not supplied with the kit, so make sure you have enough spares.
For ages 8 years and up.
Meccano-Erector MeccaSpider Robot Kit
There's a lot of fun to be had building the Meccano MeccaSpider, but the real fun comes when it's time to play.
It'll take between one and three hours to build, depending on your child's ability and then you'll have an 18 x 16 x 7.5 inch hi-tech robotic spider, that's full of surprises!
With built in games, a guard mode and an attack mode, this interactive spider robot will show its personality and provide a lot of fun for all the family.
4M Tabletop Robot Kit
You can teach kids the basics of robotics by building a working robot of a crab! That's what the 4M Tabletop Robot does.
This toy is a good and simple introduction to robotics that could well stimulate interest in a child to learn more about the science.
When it's been constructed, the crab will move under its own power, stop at obstructions and change directions, and perform some tricks. You don't need any special tools just a phillips screwdriver, but a single AA battery is required to power it.
This is recommended for children 8 years and upwards.
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