The 10 Best Robots For Kids

Updated December 09, 2017 by Lydia Chipman

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We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. Every day, it seems more apparent that the future belongs to robots, so we might as well let our kids get used to working with them. With tons of droids, drones and pet-like automata to choose from, which one is right for your child will depend on the ideal combination of interaction, mobility, programming and playful learning experiences. 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. Meccano Micronoid

Programmed via push-button, the Meccano Micronoid uses animated vocal expressions, answers yes and no questions, and dances to music to engage users in playful and intellectually stimulating activities that foster growing STEM skills.
  • fun and challenging at any age
  • voice recording available
  • assembly requires time and patience
Brand Meccano
Model 20078530-6033259
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

9. Hexbug Vex IQ

Hexbug Vex IQ is a construction kit with hundreds of snap-together components, a video game-style controller, multisensory inputs, a dozen self-configuring ports and a robotic "brain" to make it all work, using one of two proprietary coding languages to program it.
  • designed for ages 8 and above
  • simple step-by-step instructions
  • requires 6 aa batteries to operate
Model 228-4444
Weight 7 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

8. Lego Boost

Like its wildly popular predecessor EV3, the Lego Boost creative toolbox combines robust programming capabilities with the familiar versatility of those ubiquitous bricks, providing everything you need to build and code five different multifunctional automatons.
  • customizable block coding
  • recommended for ages 7 and up
  • does not use mindstorms software
Brand LEGO
Model 6224314
Weight 4.5 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. 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 an unlimited number of 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 WowWee
Model 8506
Weight 5 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. Think & Learn Teach 'N Tag Movi

The Fisher-Price Think & Learn Teach 'N Tag Movi has an expressive face and an assortment of fun and engaging interactions especially programmed to get preschoolers actively moving, learning and building critical thinking skills through play.
  • 3 modes and 6 different games
  • tough and impact-resistant
  • requires 4 c-cell batteries
Brand Fisher-Price
Model FPM27
Weight 5.5 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. Cue by Wonder Workshop

Incorporating an emotive AI and easy-to-use coding canvas, Cue by Wonder Workshop comes equipped with a suite of apps and tools designed to get young learners excited about programming, but its playful interactions, sensory responses and activities can be fun at any age.
  • use javascript or block code
  • compatible with ios android and fire
  • navigates and explores autonomously
Brand Wonder Workshop
Model QU01-13
Weight 2.8 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Mattel Kamigami

Pairing a visual programming language with snap-together folding plastic parts, Mattel Kamigami creatures encourage budding engineers (and entomologists, perhaps) to put their creativity to work building, coding, playing games and competing with fellow robotic critters.
  • recommended for ages 7 and up
  • cool insectoid configurations
  • works with smartphone or kindle fire
Brand Mattel
Model FTT95
Weight 5.6 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. Ozobot Evo

Ozobot Evo, a pocket-sized playmate that performs tricks programmed in the OzoBlockly language via smartphone app integration, also uses optical sensors to follow color-coded "commands" placed or drawn on the surface it roams, including Follow, Music and Escape.
  • 4 complexity levels for coding
  • active online creative community
  • 10-min charge for 1 hr of use
Brand Ozobot
Model pending
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

2. 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.
  • makes coding fun
  • smartphone app control
  • recommended for ages 8 and up
Brand Anki
Model 000-00057
Weight 3 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Sphero BB-8

The Sphero BB-8 is an app-enabled droid with an adaptive personality that changes as you play. It responds to voice commands, gestural controls using the Force band, or navigation via any smartphone or tablet. You can even record and view virtual holographic videos.
  • goes exploring in autonomous mode
  • gyroscopic stability and propulsion
  • durable polycarbonate shell
Brand Sphero
Model R001SUS
Weight 2.6 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 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 December 09, 2017 by Lydia Chipman

An itinerant wordsmith with a broad constellation of interests, Lydia Chipman has turned iconoclasm into a livelihood of sorts. Bearing the scars and stripes of an uncommon diversity of experience—with the notable exceptions of joining a religious order or becoming an artist—she still can’t resist the temptation to learn something new.

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