The 7 Best Robotics to Buy for Kids in 2017

Keep your children entertained for hours with these awesome robots

Wonder Workshop Dash Robot
Photo from Amazon

Toy robots have gotten more sophisticated in the digital age. They no longer just flash lights and make a series of bleeps and bloops, but now have expressive personalities that can adapt to your child. Whether you are looking for a fun way to introduce your children to STEM skills such as programming and electronics, or just want a fun toy to amuse the kids, there is a robot for your little ones. Need help deciding which one is the perfect fit for them? Keep reading to see our favorite robots on the market today.

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.

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! 

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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