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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 some of 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, a hell of a good time.

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 that are beloved Fatherly staff and their offspring 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 and Robot Toys for Kids

For kids who love Legos, here's a coding kit with 23 robotic parts that are fully compatible with traditional Lego bricks.

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Kids get bored with toys. That’s especially painful when said toys are on the pricier side. Here’s a coding kit, for kids five and up, that aims to keep them engaged by giving them 23 parts to build their dream ‘bot. Oh, and best of all, this set works with Lego bricks, thanks to adapters supplied with the kit. Lego builders ready to up their game can combine the blocks with the interconnecting rods and parts, and build ever more functional and complex robots.

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 coding robot can be used without screens, and is great for kids nine and up.

This pocket-sized coding robot toy can follow you, play music, or escape using its sensors. Kids can teach him more tricks using the OzoBlockly code. Or else kids (meaning you) can choose to go screen-free and code Evo with color and markers. We like that you’re not tethered to a device when using this robot.

This toy robot shoots baskets into the buildable basketball hoop. That's about as non-boring 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 by letting them decide where the robot goes.

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, creating their own recording studio.

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.

One of our absolute favorite coding robots 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.

Magnetic robotic blocks that let kids endlessly reinvent what they're building.

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.

For kids who love trucks and diggers but are ready to step things up, get them this codeable robotic vehicle that they can program.

Kids eight and up can construct the construction truck of their dreams, and then code it to do whatever they want. They can create buildable, codable robots like Dozerbot and Dirtbot or design their own. They then download the app and get step by step instructions on how to build the thing and make it work. They use the Blockly coding platform, which lets kids build and code these robots to perform programs and tricks.

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.

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 that's a category leader.

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.

These Sphero Specdrums let kids tap any color on 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.

Like so much with the Lego brand, the premise is deviously 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.

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.

Dash & Dot are a pair of adorable, programmable, dare we say Minion-esque robots that can build, make music, or cruise around.

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. We like that this kit, for kids six and up, 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.

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