We are here with a selection of the best programmable robotics toys for kids.
Since there are so many STEAM Toys and specifically coding toys on the market these days, it can be difficult to figure out the best one which will be worth your money and will provide the maximum learning and a joyful experience to your kid.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best home robot kits and coding robots for children at a glance:
- 2 Code and Go Robot Mouse Activity Set – Screen free coding robot
- 3 Jimu Robot UnicornBot by UbTech – Powerful programmable home robot kit
- 4 Lego Mindstorms Robot Inventor – A Lego robot building kit
- 5 Makeblock mBot – The educational robotics kit to learn Arduino
- 6 Lego Mindstorms vs Makeblock
- 7 Dash by WonderWorkshop – Child’s first real robot friend
- 8 Lego Boost, fun and educational robot
- 9 Edison – STEM and educational robot for everyone
- 10 Lego Spike Prime – Designed for the classroom but ideal for home
- 11 Makey Makey – An invention kit for everyone
- 12 Botley 2.0 coding robot (kids as young as 5 can start coding with the 100% screen-free STEAM toy).
- 13 Best Winter Deals in Programmable robot for kids
Best home robot kits and coding robots for children at a glance:
- Best Screen-free Coding robot: Code and Go Robot Mouse Activity Set
- Best robotics kit for Lego fans 10 and up: Lego Mindstorms Robot Inventor
- Best Arduino starter robotics set: Makeblock mBot
- Best robotics kit for homeschool: Code Kit by LittleBits
- The funniest robotics kit: Lego Boost
‘Code and Go Robot Mouse’ by Learning Resources is an awesome first programming robot for children. Code & Go is ready to go out of the box and can be started in just 2 minutes (requires 3 AAA batteries, not included with the set).
Inside the box, there is a blue mouse coding robot, 16 grid pieces, 22 maze walls, 3 tunnel pieces, 30 double-sided coding cards, 10 double-sided maze activity cards, a plastic wedge of “cheese” and an activity guide.
This is a great toy designed to give your kid an introduction to robotics and programming without screens. It is not necessary to have a tablet or mobile to play with it (as it is with Botley or Cubetto Play Set). And the price on Amazon is under $40.
Recommended age: 5 to 9 years old.
- DEVELOPS: Critical Thinking, Coding Skills and Problem Solving
- CODING FUNDAMENTALS: As kids learn to program they build key skills that include critical thinking, problem solving, sequencing, and programming fundamentals
Some people compare Jimu Robots with Lego Mindstorms, although they are different proposals. UbTech are the creators of some amazing programmable robots, the Star Wars First Order Stormtrooper robot and Alpha PRO, a spectacular humanoid robot that has 16 servos.
Jimu Robot Mythical Series UnicornBot which has 2 servos, shares Alpha’s wide possibilities of programming (the Blockly programming interface makes it easy and fun to learn to code, works via Bluetooth). You can program your Unicornbot’s special color sensor using eight magical color cards.
After assembling the pre-designed character piece by piece, following the 3-D building instructions on the app, you can start playing with the pre-programmed movements or you can try to create your own set of movements.
Recommended age: 8+ years.
- Introducing A Brilliant, Buildable, Codable Robot From Ubtech Robotics
- Learn To Use Blockly Coding To Program Your Unicornbot'S Special Color Sensor Using Eight Magical Color Cards
Lego Mindstorms Robot Inventor is the most popular programmable robot building kit for kids ages 10 and up. Mindstorms Robot Inventor set is the perfect gift for your children to motivate them to learn the basics in programming, mechanics, and robotics.
Lego Mindstorms Robot Inventor is compatible with normal Lego and Lego Technic parts.
This kit includes almost 1,000 Lego pieces, the intelligent brick, 4 Medium Motors, Color Sensor and Distance Sensor. The hub brick is a programmable intelligent brick that functions as the heart of the robot and the various sensors and motors. Programmable with Scratch or Python.
You can build many different things such as autonomous robots, remote-controlled vehicles, or create robots with precise functions. The robot inventor app includes 50 activities that bring your creations to life.
We know it’s not the cheapest robotics kit in the market, but this set is a great investment for every family with a child into robotics. Really amazing set, we love it! Robot Inventor is a powerful robotics set combining creativity and technology with endless possibilities.
Recommended age: 10+ years.
- With LEGO MINDSTORMS Robot Inventor (51515), kids gain essential STEM skills as they build, code and play with remote-control model robots and intelligent creations that shoot missiles, play ball, drive around and more!
- With almost 1,000 pieces, including an intelligent Hub, 4 Medium Motors, Color Sensor and Distance Sensor with break-out interface, youngsters can also build their own fun robotic toys and share them online on LEGO Life
Makeblock mBot is an educational robotics kit for your child to learn how to program and practice with electronics. The board is based on Arduino UNO. Like with all robotic kits, playing has two parts:
- Robot assembling (includes instructions with very simple drawings to follow).
- Coding and playing the proposed challenges.
Makeblock mBot is aimed for children from 8/10 years and is a robotic toy ideal for maker children. Kids love it because there are lots of add-ons and expansions sets. mBot can be controlled with a smartphone, tablet or a computer via Bluetooth. We know a lot of adults who like this kit as a starter Arduino set.
- 【Bluetooth Dongle】 No cable needed, USB interface, plug-in directly to connect Makeblock programming device, with high transmission efficiency and low latency data transmission, ensure a stable signal when using coding devices.
- 【Entry-level Coding Robot for Beginners】 Designed for learning electronics, robotics and programming in a simple and fun way, mBot is an excellent educational robot toy. From scratch to Arduino, it helps kids to learn programming step by step via interactive software and learning resources.
Lego Mindstorms vs Makeblock
Similarities Lego Mindstorms and mBot Makeblock
- Programmable with Scratch and Python.
- You receive lots of pieces, the robotics kits are not assembled.
- Lego compatible (Mindstorms is obvious and mBot has a Lego plate).
- You need a tablet or a computer. We recommend a computer, specially with Python.
Differences Lego Mindstorms and mBot Makeblock
Lego Mindstorms is for kids 10+ and mBot Makeblock is for kids 8+ (with some parents supervision).
We think the learning curve with Mindstorms is easier, it’s more kid friendly, specially since the 2020 update to Mindstorms Robot Inventor. You have a huge Lego Mindstorms community and ideas around Internet.
Makeblock robotics kits are more focused onto learning about Arduino UNO and sets are much oriented to a maker kids and robotics enthusiasts. With the mBot Kit you can make a lot of starter things like a line sensor or obstacle detection robot.
mBot is much more affordable than Lego. Price range is totally different. mBot is around $75 and Mindstorms is around $350.
Dash is a great quality programmable robot for curious minds, for a wide range of ages. It’s a wonderful introduction to robotics/programming and STEM activities.
Kids can give Dash Robot voice commands and explore loops, events, conditions, and sequences with the included Dash Challenge Cards. It is controlled by Bluetooth via mobile or kids’ tablet and there are 5 free apps for endless hours of fun (for iOS and Android).
With Dash, your children can have entertainment for those rainy, snow or summer days. It is used in more than 20,000 schools as a powerful educational component.
Dash robot is perfect for use in a classroom or at home with family and friends, letting kids work solo or come together for group coding projects. This is compatible with Lego bricks and Swift Playgrounds from Apple (to program and control it).
Basic Dash kit includes the robot, Dash Challenge Cards, a catapult Launcher kit, and a power adapter. You can extend the possibilities even further with the Sketch kit, Building block connectors, and many more accessories from Wonder Workshop. Dash is fun for everyone!
Recommended age: 6 to 12 years.
- CREATE: Dash arrives charged and ready to go out of the box Kids can give Dash Robot voice commands and explore loops, events, conditions, and sequences with the included Dash Challenge Cards It’s more than learning to code
- LEARN: Dash robot offers an open-ended learning platform that makes tech knowledge simple and accessible, helping kids grow into confident creative architects The catapult Launcher kit helps kids learn about trajectory and easily snaps onto Dash
Other Wonder Workshop coding robots and sets are:
- Cue Quartz (for older siblings, 10+)
Lego Boost is a fun and creative robot kit that teaches kids how to bring blocks to life with programming. With Lego Boost kit, children can move their building blocks thanks to the motors and sensors included in the set. This is a great set for teaching kids about building robots.
Kids from 7 to 12 years can build and also learn to program. This is a great set that combines building and programming with endless fun for all the family!
- Who doesn't love robots? Introduce kids to the creative world of coding with the best educational STEM toys to foster their curiosities. Building, learning, and programming robots has never been more fun!
- Includes 847 LEGO pieces that kids can build and rebuild into 5 cool multifunctional models. The best and most popular robotics toys for 7-12 year old boys and girls who love to tinker and learn about science. Use the latest tech like color, distance and tilt sensors.
Looking at the photo you may not see anything special, but it is definitely worth to try this out. Edison can detect and dodge obstacles, it moves with the sound of a clap, traces lines following its path and communicates with other Edison robots.
In addition, it is very resistant, and it can even withstand a vehicle running it over (which is not an activity we would recommend, but it’s a good measure of resilience).
Edison is a very versatile little robot, and it can be programmed in different environments and levels according to the child’s age.
Your child can begin interacting with it via a remote control, then code it in a Scratch-like environment, and then try the Python programming language.
It is compatible with Lego, so you could use it as an engine for your Lego creations. You can get all this for less than $60.
Recommended Age: 4+ years
- Edison is a robot for learning and inventing, an intelligent car that can see and hear thanks to the different sensors installed.
- Detect and skid obstacles, start moving with the sound of a palm, draw lines following the path, detect light and also communicate with other EDISON robots.
Lego Spike is designed for the classroom, but it works great with motivated parents and children. Kids from either homeschooling or non-homeschooling families would love to play and learn just for fun.
Lego Spike Prime is compatible with all the Lego bricks you have around home. Children first build, motorize and put sensors on a model. The second part is the programming.
As your kid moves forward you can get much more out of the projects, also move from Scratch to Python. Lego Spike Prime introduces kids to computational thinking and engineering principles in a fun and engaging way. Of course, you can buy the essential robotics set if you homeschool your child.
Recommended age: +10 years.
- The SPIKE Prime solution brings together LEGO bricks, a programmable, multi-port Hub,coding language based on Scratch and STEAM learning units to help students of all learning levels build confidence and critical thinking skills
- From easy entry lessons to the limitless creative designs, SPIKE Prime engages students regardless of their learning level in thinking critically, analysing data and solving complex problems with real-world relevance
Makey Makey is an exceptional creative piece of kit. You can create a dance mat out of cardboard, the greatest banana piano, a giant controller to play with a video game or cardboard drums.
It also a good entry point to programming with Scratch. It is a creative kit for inventions and allows making the leap from programming to tangible objects.
Makey Makey is an easy and fun way to break the wall between tangible games and screens.
Best suited for kids older than 8 years, but even the 4-year-old kids will love Makey Makey! It’s so much fun, the only limit is your children imagination and creativity!
Recommended age: 8+ years.
- Stem fun for all : No matter if your child is a budding engineer, computer wiz, or amateur inventor, JoyLabz invention kit will bring out their creativity in unique and fun ways. With thousands of possibilities to build, interact, and inspire, Makey Makey is the perfect science gift for ages 8 and up!
- Easy setup: Just plug, clip, and play! No programming knowledge needed or cumbersome software installation. With set up in seconds, your kid can dive right into inventing, whether at home or in the classroom. No software to install. Works with Mac, Windows, and Chromebook.
Botley 2.0 coding robot (kids as young as 5 can start coding with the 100% screen-free STEAM toy).
Botley 2.0 has amazing coding features! You can transform Botley into a train, ghost, police car, and more! Botley encourages problem-solving, creativity and using logic at home.
Your little coders can build coding sequences of up to 150 steps (that’s a lot of steps!), and go on adventures with a built-in sensor that lights up Botley in the dark!
Botley is a coding robot for kids 5 years old and up (7 and 8 years old will also enjoy Botley). We love that it’s a technology screen-free activity that encourages children to use their thinking, creativity and imagination during play time!
If you are looking for a robot kit to build, Botley is not your set. Botley is fully assembled!
Botley requires three AAA batteries, and the Remote Programmer requires two AAA batteries. It’s a cool, affordable STEAM toy and I would certainly recommend it.
Recommended age: 5+ years.
- CODING TOYS FOR KIDS: Code right out of the box with the next generation of our Toy of the Year winning coding robot!
- DISCOVER: 16 fun interactions—transform Botley 2.0 into a train, police car, ghost, and more!
Best Winter Deals in Programmable robot for kids
★ Osmo Coding kit (music creation, coding & problem solving) | Price on Amazon
★ Botzees Augmented Reality Robotic Building and Coding Kit | Price on Amazon
★ UBTECH Mythical Series: Unicornbot Kit-App-Enabled Building & Coding Stem Learning Kit | Price on Amazon
★ Sphero RVR: All-Terrain Programmable Robot with Customizable Hardware Platform | Price on Amazon
★ Thames & Kosmos Kids First Coding & Robotics | No App Needed | Grades K-2 | Price on Amazon
★ Learning Resources Code & Go for less than ¢20 | Price on Amazon
★ Boolen build a computer DIY Kit New Edition | Price on Amazon
★ UBTECH JIMU Robot Builderbots Series: Overdrive Kit / App-Enabled Building and Coding (You save 30%) | Price on Amazon
You will find ideas for everyone in your family, from toddlers to teens; toys that empower boys and girls and teach coding and STEAM principles while they play.
This article has been updated June 2021.
Do you need more ideas: check our Gift Guide.
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