The 10 Best Robots For Kids

Updated June 08, 2017 by Lydia Chipman

10 Best Robots For Kids
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 40 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. Look, they're going to be our overlords soon anyway, so you might as well get your kids used to them. With tons of robots for kids out there, we've done the research and compiled a list to help you narrow your search. Some of them won't destroy the Earth, and are even educational, too. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best robot for kids on Amazon.

10. WowWee CHiP

While the WowWee CHiP won't poop on your floors, one characteristic it shares with living pets is the tendency to randomly refuse to obey commands. And, just like the real thing, right when you're ready to throw your hands up in frustration, it does something endearing.
  • responsive to voice and gestures
  • gets stuck in the middle of routines
  • limited documentation
Brand Wow Wee
Model 5805
Weight 4.9 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

9. Tomy i-Sobot

With gyro stabilization and 17 custom actuators, Tomy i-Sobot delivers movements unheard of among competitors. Karate kicks, dance moves, headstands and other acrobatics are all within this agile bot's capabilities, despite limited battery life and some difficulty turning.
  • easy custom performance programming
  • smooth but slow movements
  • controller is difficult to use
Brand TOMY
Model 7365
Weight 2.8 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

8. WowWee Robosapien X

Designed by a NASA scientist, the WowWee Robosapien X is a fully articulated humanoid bot that can be programmed in multiple modes and with unlimited steps to walk, run and engage in other dynamic movements, using the included controller or smartphone app.
  • affordably priced
  • entertaining dance routines
  • less customizable than high-end bots
Brand Wow Wee
Model 8506
Weight 4.9 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

7. Meccano Meccanoid 2.0

Programmable via a drag-and-drop smartphone interface, the Meccano Meccanoid 2.0 is capable of adaptive learning, and features voice recognition, trivia games, interactive storytelling and a large vocabulary, including over 3,000 preprogrammed phrases.
  • works with ios and android devices
  • 8 motors for realistic movements
  • allows for multiple ways to build it
Brand Meccano
Model 6028424
Weight 8.1 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

6. Sphero BB-8

The Sphero BB-8 is an app-enabled droid that has an adaptive personality that changes as you play. It reacts to your voice, and can be navigated via any smartphone or tablet. You can even record and view virtual holographic videos.
  • has an autonomous control mode
  • charges via a usb cable
  • easy to learn to control
Brand Sphero
Model R001ROW
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. Makeblock DIY 2-in-1 Starter Kit

Highly recommended by STEM professionals and educators, the Makeblock DIY 2-in-1 Starter Kit empowers kids to learn by building, customizing, and programming it, exploring mechanics, engineering and circuitry. Drag-and-drop visual graphic programming teaches coding skills.
  • open source construction platform
  • ultrasonic and other sensors
  • suitable for ages 10 and up
Brand Makeblock
Model pending
Weight 3.1 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. Mindstorms EV3

Combining robust programming capabilities with the familiar versatility of Lego bricks, the Mindstorms EV3 is a favorite among coding enthusiasts. From carrying out preprogrammed "missions" to building custom bots, its rich learning experiences are loads of fun.
  • infrared color and touch sensors
  • 9 alternative programming languages
  • suitable for various skill levels
Brand LEGO
Model 6029291
Weight 5.1 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

3. Dash and Dot

When Dash and Dot arrive fully assembled from Wonder Workshop, they come equipped with a suite of apps and tools designed to get young learners excited about coding. However, the pair's easy-to-use coding canvas and customizable interactions can be fun at any age.
  • outstanding ease of use
  • sturdy enough to withstand tumbles
  • sound and movement detection sensors
Brand Wonder Workshop
Model WB11
Weight 8.4 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Meccano Meccanoid XL 2.0

The Meccano Meccanoid XL 2.0 is an extensible humanoid build kit similar to the EV3, but with nuts and bolts instead of those familiar bricks. Larger than the adaptable EV3, it's a budget-friendly alternative for younger programmers and aspiring roboticists.
  • arduino programming capabilities
  • made from polycarbonate parts
  • can learn to mimic your movements
Brand Meccano
Model 6028406
Weight 11.7 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Cozmo by Anki

No bigger than a teacup, Cozmo by Anki brings machine learning and an "emotional engine" together in a playful design. An impressive repertoire of games and interactions can be grown not only via regular software updates but also through user programming and engagements.
  • emotive bot makes coding fun
  • smartphone app control
  • reasonably priced
Brand Anki
Model 000-00048
Weight 2.9 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

The Beginning Of The End

Call me an alarmist if you will, but these robots are getting too smart. It's only a matter of time before they become sentient, and then all bets are off. The different kind of smarts ought to scare you in different ways, all of which, I'm sure, are delightful to the children interacting with them.

There are robots that can walk and talk and play a variety of games, all controlled by a simple interface with your smartphone. There are robots that have specific targeting systems built into them, as well. That might make for a nice comprehensive game of fetch, but those targeting systems are one mad scientist's experimental program away from changing the recipient of their focus to your vital organs. Fetch has never had higher stakes.

Maybe I'm getting worked up over nothing. After all, these are pretty small machines, right? It's like how I always felt watching the Child's Play movie franchise, the one with the little kid's doll who comes to life and goes on a killing spree. I never understood what stopped the protagonists from just drop-kicking him across the lawn and being done with it. There's nothing of a truly threatening size, is there?

Oh, wait. There is one, and we've rated it extremely highly on our list. This thing is four feet tall, and if I've learned anything from watching Jujitsu competitions, it's that size isn't always an advantage. Four feet ought to be plenty, especially if you're made entirely of steel with 10 independent motors articulating your movement.

It isn't just the brawn we need to worry about, either. A lot of these robots record sounds to flash memory and access WiFi with the greatest of ease. Imagine if Nixon had had something akin to it.

Light-Hearted Horror

For all my fear mongering about the impending robotic Apocalypse, I hope you can see the humor in it. When your kids crack into these robots and either start assembling them, or just start playing with the ones that require no assembly, you'll see the sheer joy the toys impart on a developing brain.

Depending on the age of the child in question, and on his or her interest in the field, different bots will satisfy different tots.

Some of these robots come fully assembled right out of the package. All you need to do is charge them up or add a fresh set of batteries and the play begins. Others require a much more intensive assembly process designed to give your child the feeling that they are the very engineers of mankind's destruction–er–I mean, of their playtime. The engineers of their playtime.

If your kid's a card-carrying member of the instant gratification club, you might not get as many miles out of a robot that calls for a detailed and patient in-house manufacture. The risk you run is that it'll never get fully built in the first place, and all that time, and money, and effort will have been for naught.

On the other hand, should your child display an acute aptitude for spacial reasoning and mechanical engineering, one of the larger, more complicated DIY robots can be the start of a very bright future in the STEM programs.

Either way, narrowing down your list of robot options starts with knowing your kids. And if your little one becomes the man or woman to unknowingly tip the scales against humanity in the years to come, you'll at least have a bit of pride to feel alongside all that fear.

A Slow And Steady Revolution

While the notion of robotic companions reaches back at least to Greek mythology, the practical implementation of robots as toys for children has a more recent history. In the 50s and 60s, toy robots were basically dolls with square bodies that looked more like elaborate walking toasters than anything else. Slowly, but surely, that would all change.

A friend of mine owned an interactive toy robot when we were about 10. It operated on cassette tapes along with a system of yes/no, true/false and other binary questions marked along the tape. When you answered a question, it would tell you whether you were right or wrong and play out the following section of tape, which explained the right answer.

The toy was called 2-XL, and it was an updated version of a toy made by the same company in the late 70s. The 90s version looked a lot less like a tape player and a lot more like a robot, somewhere between Rosie from The Jetsons and the antagonist of a forgettable 90s VR action-thriller called Evolver.

While 2-XL had personality, he didn't really have any kind of mobility, and that's at least half the fun with robotics.

Those joint structures, along with facial recognition software and other advances that are developing at an incredible rate among robots in the US and Japan, are also creeping their way into our kids' toys.

It's unlikely that we need to worry about the robots indoctrinating them to their side in the great technological wars to come, when man and machine face off in one protracted contest for superiority with the very planet upon which these wars rage standing as the sole potential spoil. Having your kids more familiar with the bots might give them a tactical advantage on the battlefield, though.

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Last updated on June 08, 2017 by Lydia Chipman

An itinerant wordsmith with an alphabet-soup of credentials to her name, Lydia has turned iconoclasm into a livelihood of sorts, throwing herself into a broad constellation of interests. From antithetical cultural analysis to interdisciplinary combat training, she bears the scars and stripes of an uncommon diversity of experience. Reading, biking and exploring are favorite pastimes, but – with the notable exceptions of joining a religious order (not on speaking terms with a higher power) and becoming an artist (can’t even draw a respectable stick-figure) – she’d try almost anything once.

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