The word ‘robot’ immediately makes me think of two things, the humanoid friend I dreamed of having as a child and a 70′s dance move I’m desperately trying to master. Although my bionic friend is still yet to materialise there are some pretty cool robotics kits for kids around, that little hands can experiment with…
As a youngster I was always thrilled playing with a simple robotics kit, the sheer magic of seeing the motor actually work was worth hours of tinkering around with fiddly wires. This Parent Guide looks at 5 of the best robots for kids that can be created from a simple set and customised until their heart’s desire. If you have any to add to the list feel free to share them in the comments.
The Best Robots for Kids
This inexpensive set is perfect for illustrating the link between the sun’s energy and power. The 6 in 1 set comes with instructions of how to assemble each of the models which include a Solar Revolving Plane, Windmill, Plane, Airboat, Puppy and Car. The set does not need screws or batteries which make it a great beginner set. Please note: Models need direct sunlight to work!
The Build Your Own Robot Arm is a great place to start for children who eventually want to build a robot army to take over the world (Joke!). The remote control robot arm is relatively simple for a 10 year old to construct with a bit of adult help and teaches the basics of robot technology and control systems. The finished arm can effortlessly perform a number of functions such as grabbing, lifting, lowering and an LED spotlight will illuminate the whole process.
The set has received strong reviews on Amazon and at under £30 it seems hard to beaten for beginners and even those with experience of robotics sets. The only downside seems to be the need for batteries, which isn’t really a downside at all!
A few years ago K’NEX introduced a series of 4 Moto-Bots which combined K’NEX classic building parts with a small motor. Although this isn’t strictly a robotics set - the focus is on construction – the finished models cleverly use the motor to add character to each Moto-Bot. Chomp (pictured right) is No.3 in the series and brilliantly opens and closes his mouth as he walks about. Genius!
The sets are made up of 399 parts and require 2 x AA batteries. Recommended for children age 7+ the sets are fun to build and great to see in action. At £31.99 they represent good value but keep in mind they are less Robotty than the other in this list.
Quite simply, LEGO Mindstorms are awesome. They are at the top end of children’s robotics sets, featuring a powerful EV3 Brick which gives the robot wifi and internet connectivity that can be used to wirelessly configure and control the bot. The set comes with intuitive drag and drop software to help young enthusiasts program and command the Robot. Instructions introduce users to 4 possible models to make but the most fun is had making custom creations.
This is by far the most comprehensive set out there, designed by LEGO specifically to introduce the younger generation to Robotics whilst giving enthusiasts a new toy to push boundaries with. At £299.99 it’s certainly not a fleeting purchase but for what you get for your money is well worth the investment.
This odd looking little bot is powered by the rapid vibrations of its motor which sits a-top your standard nail brush. The well designed little kit gives the brush bot some googly eyes for a bit of character making it perfect for a fun introduction to robotics. The recommended age is 8+ however a little adult help may be needed when connecting the motor.
Often science museum products have mixed reviews due to their sometimes gimmicky nature, however the Brush Robot comes out well with a bunch of positive feedback. We agree that it’s a good value set with lots of educational potential but due to its simplicity may be forgotten after a few plays.
If you know of any other robotics sets for children, let us know in the comments below