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Best Robot Toys That Teach Kids Coding and STEM Skills

Robots and toys that will help your child to learn to code, recognize social cues, or just practice building Legos.

It’s easy for parents to spend a ton of money on seemingly great toys that quickly end up in the trash. Instead, look at the great robot toys that you can get for your aspiring inventor. These robots for kids can introduce kids to STEM concepts, activate their inner “maker”, and even teach them some coding. Plus these toy robots are also, you know, tons of fun.

So if you’re looking for a high-tech robot toy for your high-tech non-robot kid, look no further. We’ve rounded up a bunch of cool robots kits for kids, from a robot dinosaur toy to a robot ball, that are beloved by online reviewers and Fatherly staff alike. All you have to do is pick an age-appropriate option with a level of difficulty that suits your kid. Because you don’t want to discourage your kid by giving her a robot that requires a Stanford computer science degree to enjoy.

Best Robots for Kids

Kids love trains, and we love this train set that teaches kids three and up to code. Without screens.

It’s a gorgeous classic toy train, but with smart features for savvy young kids. Younger children play screen-free, just like with a regular toy train, and learn to control the smart train’s navigation and speed by using colored plastic tiles that snap on and off the tracks. If you do opt for screens, download the app and they can really go wild with the train.

This deceptively simple-looking STEM coding toy morphs into five different toys and is controllable via Bluetooth using your Android or iOS device.

Kids eight and up can connect the buggy with regular ol’ Legos, and can turn it into anything from a ladybug to an alien to a sloth. They learn Scratch, Python or Arduino (C++) programming to make whatever they create come to life. And because this is Lego-compatible, it never gets old or boring.

This toy robot shoots baskets into the buildable, basketball hoop. That's about as dope as you get.

This is the perfect gift for fans of the NBA or the WNBA. The ChampBot coding kit lets kids program the robot to score points and shoot baskets. It has three servo motors, two DC motors and an IR sensor, and is meant for kids eight and up. A compatible iOS or Android device is needed to work this robot.

This toy robot for preschoolers is a fantastic way to get them into STEM learning.

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Kids three and up enter different codes to control the robot’s movements, teaching kids about early math concepts, colors, shapes, and letters. Plus, kids program the robot to move in different ways. There are three ways to play: free coding, learning challenges, and by using secret codes.

Star Wars fans, and there are a lot of them, will dig this coding toy, which lets them connect code blocks, see the JavaScript, learn about loops, logic, and variables, and get more powerful the more they train.

Once kids connect the board, button, and bits, they move their hands to swing lightsabers, levitate X-wings, pilot starships, make lightning, and fight stormtroopers. It works with Apple and Android products. It’s great for kids six and older. You need a tablet to really get the max use out of this coding toy, so if you’re not into screen time, think twice.

Kids use coding blocks to create music beats while coding. Which is a great idea, because music is an integral part of child development.

The idea is simple yet brilliant. Kids love music, and now, they can can compose their own tunes by arranging Osmo’s coding blocks into patterns and sequences. It’s great for kids six and up. Worth noting: This doesn’t work without the Osmo base, which is sold separately.

Our absolute favorite coding robot to date, Cozmo expresses hundreds of emotions, recognizes kids, and remembers names. Plus, kids can use him as a spy cam.

Kids can play games with Cozmo, sure. But what’s really cool is switching him into explorer mode and guide him to places, and see what he sees on a smartphone or tablet. He’ll even greet people on command. He’s great for kids eight and up.

This wonderful set gives kids the chance to explore how a variety of electronics work, including lights, sounds, magnetism, and, yes, radios.

Kids eight and older have access to more than 328 experiments, connecting things like a AM/FM radio, a flying fan, a doorbell, LED lights, and even things that make animal sounds.

These are cubes, only they're brilliant magnetic robot blocks.

Kids built the robot of their dreams with these cubelets. They are little blocks of software inside little blocks of hardware and because block has a special function, how kids assemble their robot changes its behavior. Every single time. It’s great for kids four and older.

Kids use play dough to learn the basics of electrical circuits in a hands-on way.

This great set teaches electrical circuits with conductive and insulating dough, letting kids squish, mold, and sculpt the dough while learning about engineering and tech. This is better for older kids, because you need to be somewhat careful when using it.

Kids build their own working computer by following a step-by-step book.

Ideal for kids six and up, this coding kit teaches them the intricacies of building their own computer complete with programmable LED lights, DIY case, power button, wireless keyboard with track pad, memory, HDMI, and and power cables. Kids can plug into any HDMI screen and browse the Internet and connect to the Kano community.

No screens required: Botley is ready to go out of the box and features completely screen-free coding. He has a remote programmer transmits your kid's commands and gets him rolling.

Great for kids five and up, Botley is a fantastic solution for parents concerned with screen obsession. Botley is operated via a remote and kids have him navigating obstacles, moving in patterns, or completing simple tasks. They can also build their own challenges. The one caveat is: Botley looks cute. Botley is fun. Botley is also a lot like a remote controlled car.

Sphero bolt is an app-enabled robotic ball that kids can drive and code. It's learning disguised as fun, from a brand we love.

Suitable for kids eight and older, the Bolt is the size of a baseball. It has an LED light matrix that lets kids program the robot to show characters, vector graphics, sensor data, or play games on the matrix itself.  Coolest of all is BOLT’s built-in compass that allows kids to drive the robot, and program it to follow real-world directions on a map.

Music is integral to child development. And these Sphero Specdrums let kids tap any color or the included play pad to create sounds, loops, and beats. They can create their own music without you spending a fortune on pianos, trumpets and guitars.

Ideal for kids six and older, the Sphero Specdrums are app-enabled musical rings that turn colors into sounds. You simply connect to the Specdrum mix app and tap on anything to create and mix any sounds, beats, and loops that all play through your phone or tablet. It’s basically limitless creativity.

Instead of using a screen, kids work with Sammy. He's a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that's really a robot that teaches coding principles and skills to children in kindergarten and up.

Pros: Sammy the toy robot is another fantastic option for parents leery of screens. Kids program Sammy by laying down a sequence of physical cardboard code cards. They can program him to move around, light up, and play sounds.

Kids can build and rebuild this toy robot into five cool multifunctional models of this robot, and then use a tablet to bring it to life.

Pros: Like so much with the Lego brand, the premise is brilliantly simple. Kids build and code this robot toy, and then download the app to make it move and do tons of other stuff. They can even turn the robot into a guitar with pitch bend and sound effects.

Lego plus robots equals fun. It's not much more complicated than that, but the kinds of builds and programming your kid can do with this kit definitely are. Good for ages 10 and up.

The same Lego bricks your kids know and love form the basis for the robotic platform. This kit comes with instructions for 17 different robots, but we’re betting that your kids are good for ideas for at least 17 more. The robotic part of the kit lets kids program them, using special sensors and a central programmable unit. A remote control is included with each set, but the real action happens on the smartphone, tablet, and computer apps.

We like the simplicity of how these blocks are defined: sense, think, or act. It's an intuitive system that will help kids understand how everything functions together. The companion app is particularly robust, with standard block-based coding along with unique features like personality swap. Good for ages 4 and up.

The app has lessons appropriate for different ages, so it can be a companion to kids as they grow up, get more interested in coding, and continue to grow their skillset.

Artie is a programmable robot that draws whatever you code on any sheet of paper you want. Good for ages 4 and up.

Artie the coding robot connects to your wifi network, and you log into the Artie interface to drag and drop blocks of code into the command area. You then tell Artie to turn right or left, move forward or backward, and pick up or put down his pen to draw what you want. You can use preprogrammed shapes and games, or write your own custom code for Artie.

This incredible toy lets you become a dinosaur trainer. Yes, that's right, you train your own interactive dinosaur and toggle between training mode, guard mode, RC mode, and total control mode. Good for ages 8 and up.

So is Blue being a good lady? Then reward her with treats. Or pet her. And as you train her, you unlock higher levels and her behavior improves. You use the joystick to move her around, and you’ll be stunned by her lifelike movements. And yes, she responds to your commands.

Dash & Dot are a pair of adorable, programmable, dare we say Minion-esque robots that can build, make music, or cruise around. They're Lego-compatible, so kids can adorn them with pretty much any decoration they can imagine. Coding the bots to do their bidding helps kids understand that computers are actually machines that people build to do what they want, not just sentient hunks of metal that wreak havoc out of the box. Not yet, anyway.

We like that this kit is a complete set, with two robots and accessories like brick connectors, a xylophone, a launcher and missiles, a bulldozer bar, a tow hook, and two USB charging cables. Four different apps help kids get all they can out of their new robot friends. The Path app teaches the fundamentals of robotics and coding, the Go app helps them learn about the Dash’s capabilities, the Blockly app teaches advanced coding concepts, and the Xylo app helps them use the aforementioned instrument to play music. Good for ages 6 and up.

On the other end of the size spectrum, this ping-pong-ball-size robot uses facial recognition technology to drive the ball. For real.

You had us at facial recognition. Plus, the Sphero Mini has a gyroscope, accelerometer, and LED lights that glow in a slew of colors. You can swap out colorful, interchangeable shells. It’s very cool. Good for ages 8 and up.

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