A Quick Guide on Buying the Best Robot Toys for Kids in 2017

While robots have yet to be a household presence in our society, we cannot deny that these are also popular things. We see them in several movies, such as A.I. and Transformers, and in trade, commerce and industry, such as in automobile manufacturing. We are fascinated by their mechanical capabilities, among others, even when we’re already adults.

For these reasons, robot toys are among the most popular gifts for kids and even for kids-at-heart. Their interactive nature makes them valuable learning tools, too, especially for building cognitive functioning, social cooperation, and problem-solving skills.

Here are our top 15 picks for robot toys for kids. Like with all toys, we suggest following the recommended age limit set by the manufacturer. This way, the children can get the most benefit from their regular use, such as enhanced problem-solving skills.

Note: For purposes of brevity, the pronoun “he” is used to denote both boys and girls.

Fantastic Robot Toys for Your Kids

1. Sphero Star Wars BB-8 Droid

Suitable for: 8 years old and up

The Star Wars franchise continues to give us several lovable characters, many of which are robots. Aside from R2D2, we now have BB-8 Droid, a lovable robot first introduced in The Force Awakens. Your child can now have BB-8 Droid as a toy albeit a smaller version of the original robot in the movie.

But don’t let the smaller size fool you because this robot toy has several lovable features, too. These include a unique programming wherein you can use an Android or iOS device to control it, as well as virtual holographic videos.

What's Great About It: We like that it appears to have artificial intelligence, perhaps more advanced than necessary for a kid’s toy. According to parents who bought it for their kids, it has a highly adaptive persona that changes depending on the child’s unique preferences. We don’t like it’s smaller size compared to the movie robot but we can’t have it all.

2. WowWee Miposaur

Suitable for: 8 to 15 years old

The blockbuster movie, Jurassic World, is a goldmine for toy manufacturers, especially when it comes to the dinosaurs. The velociraptors, a vicious species of dinosaurs, are among the most popular so the Miposaur robot toy benefited from it.

Miposaur is a dream for robot enthusiasts for many reasons. You, an adult, will appreciate that it can be controlled via voice recognition, hand gestures, and path tracing. You and your child will have fun controlling its movements, such as dancing, feeding on prey, and giving chase, while the Beacon Sense trackball makes it easy to control.

What's Great About It: We like that it can engage older children and teenagers with its advanced controls while also introducing robotics to the younger kids. Every child in your home will find something to rave about it, whether it’s the fine details of its craftsmanship or its fine remote control options.

3. OWI 14-in-1 Solar Robot

Suitable for: 8 to 15 years old

What do you get when you combine basic robotic technology and solar power? You get the 14-in-1 Solar Robot! Your older kids will like the opportunity to build 14 different robot modes, from cars to critters, all of which are fully functioning robots. You don’t have to be worried about their fun being limited by batteries because the build-your-own-robot has solar power for its fuel.

What's Great About It: We like it that children can either build their robots based on the templates provided or create their own designs. The options promote their design creativity, analytical thinking, and social cooperation skills. We also like the eco-friendly and cost-efficient solar power used for it.

​4. Zoob Bot 50 Piece Building Set

Suitable for: 6 to 18 years old

Lego blocks plus a robot-building kit is the best way to describe the Zoob Bot, a kit containing 50 parts including motor wheel assemblies, tires, and wheels. Your child, who may or may not be into the Transformers series, will like that it isn’t just a ready-made robot. You may even be asked to lend a helping hand in building the toy from the ground up, so to speak, which is a great bonding opportunity.

What's Great About It: We wish that the robot doesn’t need batteries in order to light up its eyes but this is a minor flaw. We like it because it’s a build-your-robot toy that encourages creative and cooperative play among the kids. Your child should be able to build it within 15-30 minutes depending on his skill level but his sense of accomplishment will likely last for days.

​5. WowWee MiP Robot

Suitable for: 8 to 15 years old

The humanoid robot is becoming more popular even among children, especially among girls with their talking dolls. The MiP Robot is a humanoid robot toy that can engage kids and kids-at-heart for hours on end, thanks to its wide range of features. You can, for example, program it to perform several tasks, exhibit behaviors including movements, and navigate around the house.

What's Great About It: We like its highly responsive programming that allows for more advanced behaviors than can be expected from a kids’ toy. We commend the manufacturers, too, for the robot’s ability to follow objects, obey commands via hand gestures, and develop a personality, of sorts. Your child will appreciate it for being such a great companion while you will like it because it contributes to his mental development.

​6. Meccano MeccaNoid G15

Suitable for: 8 to 13 years old

The MeccaNoid is suitable for older kids because of the sheer number of its parts and the complexity of building the robot. Your pre-teen or teen should have the skills to build a personal robot from 600 parts, as well as program it according to his preferences in a personal robot. You can help, too, in programming it to respond to voice commands and play hundreds of phrases.

What's Great About It: We like it that building and programming the robot actually challenges the minds of older kids. Your child has to go outside his comfort zone of ready-to-use robots since the MeccaNoid requires assembly followed by programming and controlling via Android or iOS device.

7. OWI Robotic Arm Edge

Suitable for: 10 to 15 years old

The high-tech industries involved in the manufacture of automobiles, silicon chips, and machineries use robotic arms for safety and efficiency purposes. Now, your older kids can see how robotic arms work in these industries albeit at a smaller scale. The toy robotic arm is a completely functional replica of its larger cousins so it also has multiple movements in its joints, namely, the digits, wrist, and elbow.

What's Great About It: We recommend the Robotic Arm Edge for older kids who want to understand robotics technology up close, especially since joints movements in robots are still among the trickiest to master. Plus, your child will have hours of fun in imaginative play, perhaps even discover practical applications for it.

​8. 4M Tin Can Robot

Suitable for: 8 to 15 years old

Sometimes, the simplest toys can provide the greatest enjoyment and educational opportunities for kids. This may well be true for the 4M Tin Can Robot, which can be almost anything that your child wants it to be. Your son, for example, can just leave the fully assembled robot as is (i.e., barebones) or place it inside a container (e.g., soda can or plastic bottle) before decorating it.

What's Great About It: We like that it’s easy enough to assemble for an 8-year old to do, perhaps with a little help, yet challenging enough to allow a 15-year old to build it on his own. Plus, the possibilities for the robot’s “body” are aplenty so your child can be as creative as he wants.

​9. 4M Doodling Robot

Suitable for: 8 years old and up

Robots can be programmed to perform a wide range of tasks from assembling vehicles to drawing images. The Doodling Robot obviously falls into the second category, a novel way for kids to enjoy two activities at once. Your child only needs to attach coloring instruments to its three arms, adjust the arms’ height and angle, and play with the robot. And voila! Your child has robot-assisted works of art to show off to his family and friends.

What's Great About It: We like that it combines learning about the basics of robotics and the joys of drawing to create works of art. Your child’s cause-and-effect skills and creative imagination are also enhanced as he experiments with the angle and height of the doodling arms.

​10. Fisher-Price Imaginext DC Super Friends RC Transforming Bat Bot

Suitable for: 3 to 7 years old

Batman is as popular today as it was in our time so we’re not surprised that younger kids are fascinated by this Bat Bot. Basically, the 11-inch Batman-inspired robot can transform into the bat tank, the Cape Crusader’s famous vehicle. Aside from the transforming robot, the set also contains a radio controller unit, a Batman action figure, and colorful disks.

What's Great About It: We like that it’s a great toy for both older and younger kids. The older kids can add it to their Batman toy collection while the younger kids can actually play with the entire set in imaginative play. Plus, you can’t have too much of the Caped Crusader.

​11. Wonder Workshop Dash Robot

Suitable for: 8 years old and up

Lego isn’t just about building blocks, as evidenced by its Dash Robot. Your Lego-crazy child will love that the Dash Robot is a fully functional robot compatible with the Lego brick systems. You can help him in programming it to perform a wide range of tasks, such as walking, running, dancing, responding to voices, and even avoiding obstacles.

Tip: The Blockly and Wonder apps can be bought from Google Play and Apple Store. These are used for programming the Dash Robot.

What's Great About It: We have to say that this is one of the best robot toys for kids – and the experts agree, too. This has garnered several toy awards due to its innovative design. Enough said.

12. Ozobot Programmable Robot Toy Starter Pack

Suitable for: 6 to 15 years old

Just imagine letting your child build his own army of miniature robots, not for world domination but for the fun of building it! This is apparently the goal behind the creation of the Ozobot Programmable Robots starter pack. As the name suggests, the miniature robots can be programmed to perform a wide range of behaviors including dancing, running and jumping.

What's Great About It: We like that the miniature robots are cute enough to appeal to younger kids. Yet it’s also a challenge for the older kids to program to perform their desired behaviors, thus, encouraging them to experiment. Your child may even ask for another starter pack since he wants to build several armies.

​13. ThinkGizmos RoboShooter Remote Control Robot

Suitable for: 5 years old and up

RoboCop, the fictional cyborg police officer, is another popular robotic character among kids and adults. If your child has already seen the movies, then he will like the RoboShooter, a robot toy inspired by the character. You don’t have to worry about it promoting violence because it’s as wholesome as can be.

The 13-inch toy robot only shoots mini-discs from its chest, dances to music, and says kid-friendly phrases. The RoboCop movie, after all, was also about good triumphing over evil.

What's Great About It: This is a great toy for kids to pretend that they’re also cyborg police officers who serve and protect the public. Plus, the shooting and dancing motions provide an hour or so of entertainment for the kids, a great reason for parents to get it for them.

​14. Westminster Robot Remote Disc Shooting Robot

Suitable for: 5 years old and up

Toy robots can be expensive but this Mr. Robot is an affordable option. Your kids will like it because it can shoot colorful mini-discs up to 20 feet away. You’re likely to approve of it, too, because it’s easy to operate even for a 5-year old kid yet also fun to play. You may have to assist the kids in setting a target for shooting the discs.

What's Great About It: We recommend it for parents who want an affordable robot toy that, nonetheless, engages the kids in independent play. Plus, it has infrared connectivity and a remote control with five functions, which extend its enjoyable factor.

​15. Zoomer Dino

Suitable for: 5 to 10 years old

Kids who want pets but can’t handle the responsibilities of pet ownership may benefit from Zoomer Dino, a toy robot dog. Parents who want to introduce robotics in a lovable package may also consider its purchase – and we recommend it, too. You can assist you kids in programming it to chomp, chase, and roar, even dance around on its wheels.

What's Great About It: We may not be so enthusiastic about a toy robot dog literally going underfoot – it can be programmed to follow your kid around the house – but it’s a great toy for kids. You will find that it teaches them about the responsibilities of pet ownership, such as in training (i.e., programming) it.

How I Came Up with this List of Robot Toys

With dozens of toy robots, from the Transformer-like to the human-like robots, available in the market today, we had to carefully consider several factors. We wanted to provide parents and grandparents, among others, a reliable list of the safest toy robots that should also provide ample learning opportunities for kids.

With this in mind, we looked at the following aspects of each toy robot before including them in our top 15 list.

Age-appropriate in terms of the physical and mental development

We didn’t want to choose toy robots just because these were fun to look at, such as when performing cute moves or saying charming things. We also wanted to ensure that the kids will learn new things and enjoy new experiences from playing with them. We chose these toy robots because these can contribute to the children’s physical, mental and emotional development, whether it’s from building them from scratch or playing with them.

High-quality workmanship

Kids can be rough, so to speak, on their toy robots, especially when engaged in pretend play like pitting the toys against each other. We then checked that, indeed, these toys can withstand regular and normal use, even occasional abuse, from both small and big hands. We chose only those that have sturdy materials and durable construction, which we determined from actual testing and consumer reviews.

Safety features

Of course, high-quality craftsmanship also included safety features, which parents must be aware of at all times. We recommend following the minimum age requirements, especially when there are small parts that can become choking hazards.

Overall aesthetics​

We also considered the overall aesthetics of the toy robots. Children will obviously be attracted to toy robots with bright primary colors, recognizable characters (e.g., Batman and BB-8 Droid), and striking styling. Adults will also likely choose toy robots based on their physical appearance, especially as many of them are considered collectibles.

Age of your child​

When choosing toy robots, we recommend choosing based on your child’s age. In case you have a special needs child or a gifted child, as diagnosed by an expert like a developmental pediatrician, we suggest choosing based on his unique needs. You may, for example, choose the MeccaNoid for your developmentally advanced 6-year old child who wants to learn robotics hands-on.

Your right choice in an age-appropriate toy is crucial to your child’s overall development. A toy robot that’s too easy to build and operate will not challenge him as well as he needs to be challenged. A toy robot that’s too difficult for his physical and mental skills can overwhelm him. In both cases, he will likely leave it behind and, thus, learn little to nothing from it.

Price of the toy​

We also factored in the price. But since you have to decide on your own budget, we considered it a secondary priority in our criteria. Besides, when it comes to toy robots, you will get what you pay for – and it’s always best to pay for quality, safety and usability (i.e., learning opportunity).

Benefits of Letting Your Kids Play With Toy Robots

Nowadays, both boys and girls are encouraged to play with toy robots since these are excellent tools in teaching universal skills. These physical and mental skills include fine motor coordination, analytical and critical thinking skills, and social interaction and teamwork skills, among others. Parents can choose the toy robots based on the particular interests of each child, such as the BB-8 Droid for a Star Wars fan, to get the best benefits from them.

We can mention several benefits that come from regular and proper use of toy robots for both boys and girls. First, children develop their fine motor skills and manual dexterity when assembling the robot kits. These are important skills in other activities, such as writing.

Second, kids hone their cognitive skills when assembling, operating and repairing their toy robots. They are able to read and follow instructions, which allows them to practice their critical and analytical thinking skills. They can also think in a three-dimensional way to see how each part fits with the others.

Third, children will have a better understanding of more complex cause-and-effect relationships in real life in several ways. They will, for instance, know that by following the process of assembly, they can create a toy robot. They will also learn that by working well with their playmates, they can make the work faster and easier, a crucial skill in other areas of life.

Suffice it to say that kids will significantly benefit from playing with toy robots! You, the parent, have the responsibility to ensure that they are safe while playing with their toys and to check that they are learning from it.

Conclusion

Robot toys are worthwhile investments in your child’s physical, mental and social development. You don’t have to spend wads of money on an expensive robot since most of these toys here are relatively affordable, too. Your active participation, particularly in the form of guidance, during the assembly and operation is a must, too.

While these are enjoyable toys, keep in mind that these are only toy robots. You’re well-advised to exercise parental supervision, when and where necessary, especially over the younger kids.

    Sandra Cobain
     

    Mum of two. Child psychologist. Ardent admirer of art, crafts and cooking. She is the head of content for BestForTheKids. When she's not busy crafting posts & researching about compelling content ideas, she can be spotted playing outdoors with her two adorable children.

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