This Christmas is the perfect time for you to buy your kids a robot toy for them to enjoy and maybe learn a few things from. Here’s a look at some of the best robot toys out there for kids of all ages.
There are plenty of different robot toys out there so we’ve narrowed things down to key areas like the age of your kids, and what you want them to gain from the robot. Of course, they’re all great fun to play with but a few of these toys will also teach your kids useful skills such as programming concepts—if you’re looking for even more options to encourage an interesting in coding and science check out our favorite coding kits for kids and coding toys. As for robots, here’s our pick of the bunch.
Best For Toddlers: Dimple Wireless Remote Control Robot Puppy ($45)
There’s barely an age that’s too young for robot toys these days. That’s thanks to cute robotic toys like Dimple the Wireless Remote Control Robot Puppy. The pooch offers multiple different play modes, with the ability to sing, dance, crawl, stand, and speak. He can teach your kids the alphabet, as well as play familiar songs to teach them key concepts. As you’d expect, he’s super cute looking too.
Dimple charges via USB and his remote works from up to 6.5 feet away, so he’s simple to use yet technologically sound. Consider him a fine introduction to intelligent toys.
Best For Simple Programming: Makeblock Codey Rocky ($99)
The Makeblock Codey Rocky is a cute little robot that rides around on wheels. You can teach him basic actions like following a circuit, relaying a message on his LED screen, and even get him to say hello.
Where things get smarter is through his 10 programmable electronic sensors, including a gyroscope, so that programming potential is fairly varied. You can even attach building blocks like LEGO pieces to him, to expand his look and style. There’s the option of hooking him up to IoT devices too.
This gets a little complicated though, so Codey Rocky’s greatest strength as a Christmas gift lies in the simple tasks you can teach him, and his durability. Your toddler can drop him without much issue, while your older child can teach him basic commands. Effectively, he can grow with your child’s knowledge. We looked at him in-depth earlier this year.
Best For Voice Activation: Wonder Workshop Dash ($120)
Wonder Workshop’s Dash is a lot like Codey Rocky but with a few neat extra features. Notably, Dash will listen to your child’s voice and respond accordingly. As well as that, kids can program it, giving them the opportunity to learn about loops, events, and conditions. Dash Challenge Cards are included which teach you and your child more about what everything means. Several games are built into Dash but you can code many more too.
The robot is used in various schools around the world, so you know it’s educational. For older kids, consider buying Cue, a similar but more advanced take on Dash with a slew of features that appeal to tweens and teens.
Best For Star Wars Fans: BB-8 Sphero ($100)
Who doesn’t love BB-8? The beloved Star Wars robot is cute and full of personality. The BB-8 Sphero captures some of that magic, and gives your kids a cute robot companion of their own.
The device has autonomous behavior so BB-8 will happily head out on patrol on his own, checking out what’s going on around your home. He’ll also happily watch Star Wars films with you, and react accordingly.
He’s smart too. You can use character specific commands to program him, learning a little about STEM subjects along the way. There’s the option of controlling him via your smartphone or a rather neat Force Band too, giving your kids plenty of control. He’s cute and plucky — just like the film version.
Best For The Cute Factor: UBTECH JIMU Unicornbot ($120)
Robots are often cute but, well, they look like robots. The UBTECH JIMU Unicornbot looks like a unicorn that was transformed Robocop style into a cyborg. Luckily, he looks far happier than Robocop. Kids need to build the robot themselves with 440 snap together pieces keeping them occupied for much of Christmas morning.
Once constructed, it’s possible to use the unicorn’s many sensors to program him to do many things. You can get his magical horn to change color on command, or you can teach him to wander around the room. It’s all done via Blockly coding so it’s pretty intuitive. Even if your kids don’t remember much from their programming lessons, who could resist the allure of a cute unicorn roaming around?
Best For Alexa Support: Anki Vector ($250)
You name it, there’s Alexa support. Admittedly, the Anki Vector doesn’t have Alexa support just yet, but it’s coming soon. Regardless, it’s a pretty powerful robot that’s keen to help out at every turn.
He’s voice-activated and answers questions as varied as what the weather is to converting measurement units for you. He’ll take photos, time dinner, and solve mathematical equations along the way. As well as that, Anki Vector can independently navigate, head back to base when he needs to charge up, as well as recognize people and dodge obstacles. You can’t program him like with the other robots, but he is a tiny glimpse into a future that could be awesome or could all go a bit Terminator-ish.
Best For Advanced Robotics: Sphero ($150)
If your child is a little older, they’ll be less fussed about how cute the robot is and more interested in what it can do. Sphero is a good solution here. It’s a robotic ball that can be programmed quite extensively. With an 8×8 LED matrix, you can animate it and display real-time data as you progress. There are also programmable sensors including infrared, compass, light sensor, gyroscope, accelerometer, and motor encoders. Impressively, it’s waterproof and durable too.