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5 hours of play
Workshops and competitions available
Reports of DOA units
Reports of batteries not holding charges
The Wonder Workshop Dash robot is the perfect toy for teaching your little ones the basics of coding and robotics. Dash is compatible with five different apps that show off its abilities and slowly introduce kids to programming fundamentals until they have a basic understanding of how coding works. Wonder Workshop also offers children the chance to take part in the Wonder League to share ideas and Dash obstacle course builds and the Wonder Workshop Robotics Competitions to show off their skills.
Dash’s abilities can be expanded on with the sketch kit for making art, a bulldozer blade, a projectile launcher, costumes, a xylophone, and even an adapter to connect LEGO building bricks for truly custom robot builds. The Dash robot has been used in over 20,000 schools across the U.S. to help make computer and robotics science fun for kids.
Step up software to keep older kids engaged
Great for home and classrooms
Special batteries needed
Weak wheel connections
May not work as well with Mac computers
Makeblock, one of the leading brands of STEM toys, has introduced the mBot robot kit to help get kids more interested in science, engineering, and technology. The mBot can be put together in as little as 15 minutes with the included guide; it can also be built into almost any configuration your child can imagine by combining it with building blocks like LEGO and Mega Bloks.
The little robot is controlled by a dedicated iOS or Android app to teach the basics of coding and programming. There's also a more advanced programming software that can be used with Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome-based computers for more in-depth coding and to keep older kids interested in science and engineering.
Both the mBot and dedicated software are not only great to play with at home, but elementary school teachers can use them in the classroom for hands-on learning.
Hours of fun
Interacts with other MiP bot toys
Use on hardwood or carpeted floors
Connection issues with trackball
Reports of failing units
If your kids have ever dreamed of owning a pet dinosaur, the Miposaur is the closest they’ll get to the real thing. This fun, robotic dinosaur can be controlled with hand gestures, the included trackball, or the dedicated mobile app. The Miposaur responds to 10 different commands and cycles through three different moods; it even sometimes ignores commands to teach children creative problem solving and show off its mischievous personality.
With the hand gestures, your kids can make Miposaur swipe its claws, clap, and even roar. The trackball is meant to "feed" the dinosaur, make it dance, and even make it play fetch. The dedicated app works with both iOS and Android smartphones or tablets to convert the dinosaur into a fully remote-controlled toy or make it interact with other MiP robot toys. Both the dinosaur and trackball run on batteries and give your child up to six hours of playtime.
Can be used in water
12 blueprints included
Limited operation in dim light or with bulbs under 100W
Instructions are picture-only and in black-and-white
The Discovery Kids Mindblow 12-in-1 Solar Robot kit has everything your kids need to build just about any robot they can dream up. The kit includes 12 sets of blueprints for everything from a robot dog to a bot that can row around a pond or bathtub. There are 190 pieces to encourage children to try out different designs and teach the basics of mechanical and robotic engineering. The kit is powered by a small solar panel, eliminating the need for batteries and chargers that can get lost, damaged, or cut playtime short by running out of energy.
Each robot build features clear body panels so kids can see how the motor drives gears and shafts in order to make the unit move. Each build also utilizes a basic "face" to help give the robots a personality that kids can connect and have fun with. If you have older kids who have a basic understanding of engineering and are looking to build upon that, the Discovery Kids Mindblow 12-in-1 Solar Robot kit is just what they need.
Easy for kids and parents to build together
Compatible with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
No extra parts if you damage them while building
Older children may get bored easily
Reports of customers receiving the Japanese language kit rather than the English one
Nintendo has been a leading innovator in the video games market with consoles like the original Game Boy and the Nintendo Switch. They’re now taking on augmented reality and engineering with their Labo brand add-ons for the Switch. The Variety Kit contains all you need to build two RC cars, a house, a fishing rod, motorbike handlebars, and a 13-key piano.
The kit comes packaged with a game cartridge included to show you the basics of how to use each of the builds. The motorbike handles are also compatible with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for a more immersive playing experience.
Kids and parents can use the Toy-Con Garage software to create new ways to use the kit’s builds or use cardboard and other household objects to create your own Toy-Con objects. You can customize each build with paint, markers, stickers as well as other Labo kits for truly unique builds.
Five buildable bots
Compatible with certain LEGO City and NINJAGO kits
App teaches intermediate programming and coding concepts
App will not work with Kindle Child profiles
Incompatible with LEGO Mindstorm kits
Connectivity issues with Kindle 7 and 8 tablets
LEGO has jumped into making STEM toys, offering plenty of options to make science, engineering, and coding fun for kids of all ages.
The Boost Creative Toolbox 17101 contains 847 pieces to build five different robots: Vinnie the Robot, a semi-functioning guitar, Frankie the Cat, a multi-tooled rover car, and an automated assembly line to build miniature structures.
Each build can be controlled with the dedicated Boost app on iOS, Android, Kindle, and Windows 10 smartphones or tablets. The app also builds upon basic coding and programming lessons to introduce more advanced concepts.
Kids can combine the Boost Creative Toolbox with the LEGO City Arctic Scout truck and the NINJAGO Stormbringer to create even more robot builds and obstacle courses. The Toolbox comes with a playmat that allows your kids to do specific activities like path tracing.
All hardware, tools, and safety equipment included
Great for classrooms
Younger children may get frustrated
Reports of missing pieces
May not work as well on smooth surfaces
While not as complicated to build as the LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox, the Tinkering Labs Electric Motors Catalyst still offers your kids plenty of opportunities to test their engineering skills. The kit comes with over 50 parts to create an almost unlimited number of robots and vehicles; from doodle bots and simple cars to robots that can cut paper and even make scrambled eggs.
It comes with all the tools your kids need to get started, including safety glasses to reinforce basic lab safety procedures. There are 10 challenge cards with specific goals to help kickstart your child’s imagination, and each challenge can take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes to build to provide hours of fun. Like the Makeblock mBot kit, the Electric Motors Catalyst kit is great for playing with at home, and also a useful classroom tool for hands-on engineering lessons.
17 robot designs
Sensors to make the robot interact with stimuli
May be too complicated for younger children
Programming software has issues with Microsoft Silverlight
The LEGO Mindstorms EV3 31313 buildable robot kit comes with everything your kids need to create their own remote-controlled bots. There are five different styles of robots that can be made with the 601 pieces: SPIK3R the robot leader, an all-terrain vehicle, a gripper bot, a robotic snake, and a scorpion bot. Included in the over 600 pieces of the kit are three interactive servo motors and sensors for infrared light, colors, and touch to make the robots even more responsive to input.
The EV3 kit is compatible with all LEGO build sets so your kids can make truly unique builds, obstacle courses, or target ranges. The bots are controlled by a dedicated app that works with both iOS and Android mobile devices. There is also a step-up software for Windows and Mac computers to teach more complex coding lessons and keep older kids and even teens interested in science, robotics, and engineering. Kids, parents, and teachers can visit the Mindstorms website to download building guides for 12 additional robots, programming, and coding tutorials, and access the thriving online community in order to share ideas and robot creations.
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.