The 7 Best Robotics for Kids in 2019

Keep your children entertained for hours with these awesome robots

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Roundup

  • Best Overall: Wonder Workshop Dash Robot at Amazon, “Designed to make coding fun without the typical frustrations of building and programming.”
  • Best Personality: Anki Cozmo at Amazon, “Will recognize faces, names, and personalities, cheering kids up when they're down.”
  • Best Educational Kit: Makeblock mBot Kit at Amazon, “Assembly parts are clear to put together, but allow for deeper levels of creativity.”
  • Best Makeblock Add-on: Makeblock Light & Sound Pack at Amazon, “Includes light and LED sensors, as well as a sound sensor that reacts to clapping.”
  • Best Robot Dinosaur: WowWee Miposaur at Amazon, “He will dance, chase or maneuver around obstacles.”
  • Best Robot for Outdoors: Sphero Ollie at Amazon, “Coated in a durable polycarbonate shell that can survive a drop off a cliff.”
  • Best Star Wars Robot: BB-8 at Amazon, “Built with a camera and kids can even record holographic messages that can be viewed in augmented reality.”

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Wonder Workshop Dash Robot

4.5

Dash is a colorful robot that is designed to make coding fun without the typical frustrations of building and programming a robot. Winner of the “Best Toy Award,” Dash comes ready to play right out of the box, responding to your voice and rolling around the living room right after opening. Although Dash comes ready to recognize a number of commands and can be used in games such as hot potato, the real fun is programming it for hundreds of more activities.

Use the free Apple, Android or Kindle Fire apps to program in a fun “quest mode” that is colorful and captivating, a great introduction to coding for kids as young as six years old. Dash can be programmed to follow a racetrack, dance, light up, make noises, joust or play all kinds of other games. Your kids will unlock new abilities the more programming quests they create, using a reward system to keep them motivated and engaged. Dash robots play well together, so your kids and their friends can even complete quests together. This robot is well-built, endlessly entertaining and actually fun to program.

Best Personality: Anki Cozmo

4.8

Cozmo is a little robot with a big personality. Like a character in a Pixar movie, he is quirky, rebellious and endearing, winning you over with his charm and humor. Artificial intelligence allows Cozmo to express hundreds of emotions from angry to amused. Cozmo will recognize faces, names, and personalities, cheering kids up when they're down and distracting them when they’re bored.

At his core, Cozmo is a robot who loves games. He is made of 300+ parts that are designed to help him explore and interact with the world around him. He comes with Power Cubes for fun games such as Quick Tap and Keepaway, with new games added all the time.

Best Educational Kit: Makeblock mBot Kit

The mBot Robot is a beginner educational kit meant to introduce kids to STEM fundamentals such as programming, electronics and robotics. Assembly is a balance of accessibility and complexity; the contracted assembly parts are clear to put together, but allow for deeper levels of creativity and programming possibilities. Programing is fueled by Makeblock software Scratch 2.0, which gives kids a drag-and-drop graphical programming platform to dictate a variety of robot functions.

The core robot is a line-following vehicle with two wheels and a cute smiling face that is controlled via an app. Choose from a variety of games such as balloon bursting or soccer and sumo – each requires fun programming objectives. They can even customize the robot with Makeblock extensions and legos while developing in the Arduino open source ecosystem, so they can make the robot of their dreams! 

Best Makeblock add-on: Makeblock Light & Sound Pack

Extend your child’s Makeblock robotic universe with this three-in-one add-on pack that adds sound and light to their programming arsenal. The kit includes light and LED sensors, as well as a sound sensor that reacts to clapping. They can build a scorpion robot that blends sound and color recognition or a light chasing robot that follows light with its eyes. Or, your child can outfit their own desk lamp with an intelligent desk light robot, which responds to touch and sound. All the possible creations and parts can be combined with other robots to extend the number of fun games they're able to program. All programming is done in Scratch 2.0, which teaches kids STEM fundamentals in a fun and accessible way.

Best Robot Dinosaur: WowWee Miposaur

Miposaur is an interactive dinosaur that kids can control with an app or its TrackBall. Just like a puppy, Miposaur is trained to follow his ball, which is a Mobile Inverted Pendulum designed by the UCSD Coordinated Robotics Lab. Just activate the TrackBall to get Miposaur’s attention and he will proceed to follow it around the room. Once he is alert, your child can use a variety of hand gestures to have him do their bidding. He will dance, chase or maneuver around obstacles. To control Miposaur, use the fun app on a phone or tablet. They can even reward the robot when it behaves (and sometimes he acts mischievous) with food or play other games. Get ready for your children to have loads of fun, especially if they pair with other WowWee robots, which Miposaur can befriend. 

Best Robot for Outdoors: Sphero Ollie

Let your child conquer the outdoors with Ollie, a tough rolling robot designed to do pull off adrenaline-pumping stunts. If there was an X-Games for robots, Ollie would roll off with gold medals. The robot is coated in a durable polycarbonate shell that can survive a drop off a cliff, so there's no need to play nice. It can go as fast as 14 mph, capturing the thrill of speed in a small cylindrical body that can fit in your child's hand. It comes with two blue Nubby Tires for indoor and smooth surfaces, while the Prime Hubs can capture all kinds of terrains. They'll be able to take Ollie to the skatepark or rock quarry and control the action with a smartphone. Bluetooth is good for up to 100 feet of range and LEDs help them keep track of the robot at night. Full gesture controls give precision accuracy in trick mode, and the app even alerts them when they pulled off a difficult stunt. Ollie accessories allow for increased personalization and style.

Best Star Wars Robot: BB-8

Bring Star Wars to life with the BB-8 smart droid, the perfect companion for any young fan. BB-8 responds and recognizes voices, springing to life and rolling around the living room or patio to commands such as “go forward.” You can also control BB-8 from a smartphone, where a number of instructions can send BB-8 out exploring the environment at top speed of 4.5 mph. BB-8 is built with a camera and kids can even record holographic messages that can be viewed in augmented reality, which transforms the galaxy around them. BB-8 rolls over carpets, wet surfaces and course corrects to stimuli in his environment, even adapting his personality in response to others.

Tested by

How We Tested

We bought two top-rated robotics for kids and our reviewers spent 23 hours testing them. To get the most comprehensive results, they watched their children interact with them and try out their different features. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these robots, from STEM features to durability. We've outlined the key takeaways so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in a Robotic Device for Kids

STEM features - Robots are fun, but let’s face it: A lot of the reasoning involved in splurging on a toy like this is for STEM learning. Different robots and robotics have varying levels of STEM; some have it as a primary focus, while for others it’s just a result of using the robot. If you specifically want your child to learn about coding or robotics, it may be better to pick a model that emphasizes these features.

Age level - The age of your child plays an important role in what kind of robot would best suit them. You may want to consider purchasing a robot that will grow with them if your child is young, offering basic features at the beginning with room to expand later. On the other hand, if your child is old enough to learn to code, a more advanced model might work better.

Personality - It’s hard not to get attached to a robot, especially considering how cute some of them are. Some robots even have a personality that will develop based on interaction and use. If you think your child might enjoy having a robot companion to play with, choosing one with a personality might be a fun idea.

Test Results: Wonder Workshop Dash Robot (Best Overall)

4.5

What We Like

  • Perfect for developing STEM skills

  • Fun voice recording/playback feature

  • Durable

What We Don't Like

  • Minimal built-in automation

Wonder Workshop Dash Robot
Wonder Workshop Robot
Wonder Workshop
Dash Robot
Wonder Workshop Dash robotic device
Wonder Workshop Dash Robot device
Wonder Workshop Dash Robot for Kids

Our reviewers found the Dash robot to be a “fun” and “intriguing” toy that was strongly geared toward helping a child develop STEM skills. While it comes with some built-in commands, the robot required critical thinking skills for the majority of its movements, sounds, and interactions, according to our testers. With a heavy focus on coding skills, less advanced users might find programming and interacting with Dash to be time-consuming and slightly frustrating, cautioned one of our reviewers, but with time, the robot will develop a fun personality. As one of our testers revealed, “Dash is like a member of the family — our own robot!”

Test Results: Anki Cozmo (Best Robot)

4.8

What We Like

  • Great entertainment

  • Teaches kids to code

  • Has multiple difficulty levels

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive

  • Unsure about ongoing app support

Anki Cozmo
Lifewire / Angelica Leicht
Anki Cozmo
 Lifewire / Angelica Leicht
Anki Cozmo
 Lifewire / Angelica Leicht
Anki Cozmo
Lifewire / Angelica Leicht 

This robotic toy won over our tester because it was the perfect combination of entertaining and educational: “Cozmo is the perfect toy to help introduce kids to coding, and he's constantly evolving and learning alongside your child. It's pretty cool to see,” she said. Plus, she liked that kids with different skill levels can play: “The Cozmo app offers two levels on the Code Lab—one for beginners and one for more advanced kids,” she explained. “It keeps little ones from getting overwhelmed and older ones from getting bored.” In terms of negatives, she had concerns about its app support in the future: “Anki recently announced that it’d be shutting its doors and laying off all staff,” she said. “Bugs or other issues could cause the app, and therefore Cozmo, to be useless, especially if it's not being regularly updated or patched.” (FYI, the company has created a self-serve help center and will be monitoring cloud operations for Anki accounts.) She also pointed out its high price tag.