Do you remember when you first watched Star Wars and wanted your own droid or robot to play with? Maybe it was Transformers or Wall-E that caught your imagination.
As a big kid, you might be wondering which are the best robot toys for kids these days (that you can play with as well).
Children are exposed to robots in many ways in the modern world. They see them in animated movies, on car manufacturing lines, and in toy stores. Although robots are not yet part of every household, they capture the imagination of kids, big and little.
Let’s look at why you might want a robot toy for your child, what to look for in one and our top choices.
Why Select a Robot Toy for Your Kids?
There are many skills a child can learn from playing with robotic toys. They can help with fine motor coordination, critical thinking, and much more.
Some robots require assembly, which can help your child’s manual dexterity. It will help them read and follow instructions, encouraging analytical thinking. Working with parents or friends to assemble their robot will teach them how to work as part of a team.
Not only that, many robot toys fit in with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education and learning. This might prepare them for a career in one of these fields later in life (1).
What Should I Look For?
There are several factors you might want to consider when choosing a robot for your child. These include:
- Age appropriate: Check the toy is suitable for your child and the stage of development they’re at. While some might be charming to look at, think about whether your kids will learn anything from them. It’s about new experiences and adding to their mental, physical, and emotional development, as well as fun.
- Quality: You don’t want to buy a robot only for it to fall apart after a few days of use. Kids can be tough on their toys, especially when their bots are battling each other for supremacy. Make sure the toys are sturdy enough for little hands, that might not be as careful as we would always like.
- Safety: It’s back to age here; stick to the manufacturer’s age recommendations. This is especially the case with younger kids, as there might be small parts which would be a choking hazard.
- Aesthetics: Consider what your child is most likely to play with. It’s not worth buying them a Lego robot if they don’t like playing with these classic bricks. Choose something that will appeal to them and they’re more likely to play with it.
- Budget: Prices for robot toys can vary. As with anything, you get what you pay for. You might be better investing a little more for safety, usability, and quality.
As a further note on age appropriateness, be guided by your child as well. One of my friends’ kids has high functioning autism and ADHD. At the age of 6, he can easily build and operate a robot suitable for a child aged 10 years and over.
The same might apply if you have a child who has a penchant for mechanical toys. A toy in their age range might not challenge them.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, you might need to choose a robotic toy from a lower age range for some children. Buying them something that they don’t understand or that’s too difficult will mean they won’t play with it or quickly lose interest.
The Best Kids Robot Toys of 2020
We’ve chosen 13 of what we think are the best robot toys out there. They cover requirements for many ages and themes. Let’s take a look.
1. Wonder Workshop Dash
This ready-to-use, out the box robot will perform basic voice-activated tasks as soon as you get it. However, you can expand its capabilities using an app compatible with iOS, Android or Kindle Fire.
Quest mode lets your kids code in a fun way, to teach their robot what to do. It can dance, follow a racetrack, make noises, light up, and more. The more quests your child completes, the more this robot will do.
I really like that this is a progressive learning curve for children aged 6 years and over.
2. Sphero BB-8 Droid
Star Wars never fails to deliver when it comes to robots. Their characters are firm favorites with young and old. The BB-8 droid made its debut in “The Force Awakens.”
This smaller version of this popular droid is suitable for children 8 years and over. It can be programmed from any iOS or Android device. Features include holographic videos that appear from its built-in camera sensor, as well as an adaptive personality.
It will respond to your child’s preferences and will undoubtedly become their new best friend. It can be voice or app controlled.
There is also a Sphero app that can be connected to allow your child to be introduced to STEM-based robotics.
3. Lego Mindstorms EV3
Why not combine your kid’s love of Lego with learning? Suitable for boys and girls from age 10 upwards, this kit lets them build and program their very own robot.
It has 601 pieces that can create 17 different robots. This is great if your child gets bored with one configuration — they can just change it for a whole new toy. Once assembled, use the free app to control the robot.
It will be able to walk, talk, complete tasks, and play games. It can also be programmed to grab items and shoot targets. As well as app control, there’s also an infrared controller included.
4. Cozmo Robot by Anki
Fans of Wall-E will love Cozmo, the compact robot, which evolves the more you interact with it. You can play games with it, but don’t win too often or it will throw a tantrum!
It has over 100 human-like emotions and, when connected to the free iOS or Android app, can recognize faces, names, and ask to play. Once your child gets used to it and is ready, easy coding can be completed with a drag-and-drop function.
While recommended for ages 8 and up, teens and adults are sure to find Cozmo fun, too. This video shows Cozmo in action.
5. Meccano Erector
Ideal for the budding engineer or coder, Meccano brings years of expertise to this robot for kids aged 8 and over.
With 115 parts, the Erector can be built in about an hour and is designed for novices to the world of robotics. Once put together, you sync the robot to your PC and use free software to customize it. Program it to walk or turn, compose music with its sound effects, or record phrases.
This robot will even dance for you, with built-in beat sensors. It’s a good starting place for STEM learning for kids.
6. Fisher-Price Bright Beats
Little ones love interactive toys and this one is a great place to start. Beatbelle has 120 songs, sounds, and phrases to engage your baby in learning the alphabet, counting, and more.
It’s suitable for babies and toddlers from 9 months old. They’ll have fun dancing along with this spinning robot that shakes its head and swings its hips. The robot encourages little ones to sing and clap, and rewards them with flashing lights.
It helps develop gross motor skills with movement and music, and starts them on the road to recognizing letters and numbers.
This intelligent dinosaur robot responds to hand gestures, its trackball, or commands from an Android or iOS compatible app. Kids aged 8 and over will have a great time training the Miposaur. It can play fetch, “dino in the middle” or follow the ball while they go for a walk.
Feed it cavemen, steak, or socks from the app and watch what it does. It can dance, beatbox, chase things, and maneuver around an obstacle course. Its three different moods will respond to the 10 hand commands.
8. Fisher-Price Think & Learn
Great for getting younger kids moving and learning, this robot is suitable for children aged 3 to 6 years. It has six games, with three different play modes, letting them interact with their personal robot friend.
Your little one will love chasing it around the home while learning their ABCs, or hitting the flashing lights on command. They’ll listen to “Movi” tell them to crawl like a lion on the floor or make the shape of a triangle or a square with their hands.
This robot is great for developing gross motor and thinking skills, as well as language development.
9. Ozobot Bit Coding Robot
This pocket-sized robot is a good place to start your kids aged 6 and over on the right track to computer programming. The code can be drawn in colored lines on a piece of paper, or you can use a tablet or computer to send “Bit” its commands.
Transferring code to the robot couldn’t be easier. Once you have dragged and dropped your code, just hold the robot to the screen. You can then watch it follow the paths you have set for it.
It comes complete with pens and paper for writing code, and skins and stickers to personalize your robot.
This video from the inventor shows how Bit works.
10. Zoob Bot
Kids love to build and create, and with this robot, they can do both. The pieces easily snap together, letting them make their own robot buddy to play with. There are no screws or tools needed.
Lights for its flashing eyes are battery operated, and it has wheels and a motor to send it spinning across the floor. When assembled, all the parts move, which is great for imaginary play.
Suitable for children aged 6 and over, it contains 49 “Zoob” pieces. You can add to these with additional ones should you want, with a box of 125 more.
11. Zoomer Dino
Okay, we know there weren’t really robots in prehistoric times but there were dinosaurs. If you have a child who is obsessed with these creatures, then this could be the robot for them.
For any kids aged 5 years and older, it displays different moods and can be taught tricks. Operated from a remote control or by touch, this dino will chomp and roar, with realistic dinosaur sounds.
Just don’t pull his tail and make him mad, or he will be chasing and chomping at you. You can easily calm him down, though, by patting him on the nose.
12. SmartGurlz Maria Robot Doll
Adventures and exciting missions help code this scooter-riding doll. Connect to the “Sugar Coded” app via Android or iOS, and help Maria solve puzzles. There are over 100 coding options on this interactive app.
Girls (and boys) aged 5 and over can learn to code in a fun way. The “Siggy Robot” scooter can hold dolls up to 6 ounces in weight, so Maria can be changed out for Barbie or Action Man.
It’s great that Smartgurlz breaks the gender stereotype of robots, and encourages girls to code.
13. Sphero Orbotix Ollie
Take your robot outdoors and have it perform tricks and race along any terrain without worrying about damage. Perfect for tweens, this cylindrical robot can fly along at speeds up to 14 mph, and its polycarbonate shell is strong and durable.
Controlled from a variety of Android or iOS apps, take Ollie to the skatepark and watch him perform the tricks you control. It even comes with tires for indoor use, so you can race it around the home — if mom allows it. The Bluetooth range of this robot is 100 feet and it has LED lights.
Watch Ollie go through its paces on this video.
Back to the Future
There is little doubt that we’re now in the age of technology, and toys are fast catching up. Many are not only fun but also educational, preparing our little ones for life ahead.
The robotic toy you choose will depend on your child’s age and capabilities. The ones we have reviewed will all be fun and educational for your kids as they step into the world of robots.
For our favorite, we’ve gone with the Wonder Workshop Dash. Not only is it ready to go on delivery, but teaching kids the basics of coding from 6 years of age is a fantastic asset. Furthermore, we think older children will enjoy it as well.
Did you enjoy our reviews of the best robot toys for kids? Do you now have more insight into what they can do? Please leave us a comment — we’d love to hear from you and please share with other parents of budding coders.