When we were growing up, the coolest robotic toy we had available was the Poo-chi, a robotic dog that could walk and occasionally respond to basic commands. In the last several decades however, robotic toys have grown in both popularity and in capability. Now, there are hundreds of awesome products on the market that allow kids to build, code, and engineer all different kinds of robots. We’re going to be looking at the best robot kits for kids in today’s post, with the intention of helping you determine the best robot kit for your student. Join live online robotics for kids classes to learn all about robotics with expert guidance and a curriculum designed by Google, Stanford, and MIT experts.
Discover the best robot kits and toys for kids
In the next several sections, we’ll look at the best robot kits for all skill levels, from brand new beginners to seasoned experts. We rate eight of our favorite robotic kits, break down their pros and cons, and help you figure out where to buy these fun and educational kits.
Best robot kits for beginners
First, we’ll cover great programmable robot kits for beginners. Whether your student is a LEGO aficionado or an aspiring engineer, all these kits are exciting ways to start engaging with robotics and programming.
1. LEGO Boost
Overview: The LEGO Boost robotics kit inspires kids to bring their LEGO creations to life with its Creative Toolbox, the fun and easy entry to building and coding smart toys. Using a combination of LEGO pieces and electrical components, kids can build several different robots that can be easily programmed with a simple app. Create a cat, build a guitar, or even make your own robotic assembly line!
Pros: This kit is easy to use and set up, and very accessible for beginner coders or roboticists.
Cons: The LEGO BOOST app for the robot will not go past the initial build instructions without enabling Location Services on the tablet.
Expert review: The New York Times Wirecutter chose LEGO Boost as its top pick for beginner coders, stating: “It’s a well-thought-out kit that a panel of child testers enjoyed as much as we did. The simple programming interface is easy to get started with, and the visual instructions allow non-readers to use and enjoy it.”
Price: $148 on Amazon
2. Pica Toys Solar Car
Overview: With the Pica wireless remote control accessories set, you can build your own remote control car and learn about the circuit diagram of remote control. This kit is designed to motivate children to love science and build children’s confidence in mechanical systems. It’s a great, affordable option for kids who want an introduction to robots. It also emphasizes green technology.
Pros: This toy is easy and fun to build and comes with clear instructions and plenty of support online.
Cons: It’s not as “impressive” as some of the other options as it reportedly has a short driving range.
Promising review: "I purchased this great set for my 7-year old and immediately became a hero in his eyes. This is not something he could build on his own, but i didn’t expect that he would. We built it with him and now he’s having a blast playing with it and seeing first hand the sustainable gift that is solar energy. This is a great product both as a teaching tool and a fun toy" said one reviewer.
Price: $25 on Amazon
3. OSOYOO Robot Car Starter Kit
Overview: The OSOYOO Robot Car starter kit has everything you need to build fully functional robot cars. They use a proprietary, third party board that is fully compatible with Arduino, and come in either a battery-operated or a rechargeable set. The online tutorials step you through how to build and program these cars, and build up to more complicated configurations.
Pros: Good, detailed instructions and good bang for your buck.
Cons: Requires some more advanced programming knowledge. If your student is interested in learning more Arduino, check out one of Create and Learn’s Arduino classes. Also, confirm that the software is compatible with your chosen hardware, as some reviewers have noted.
Promising review: "I got this for my son for Christmas and he loved it. It has kept him busy for a while. I had a couple technical issues and reached out to company and they provided great customer service and resolved issues." said one reviewer.
Price: $67.99 on Amazon.
4. UBTECH JIMU Robot Astrobot Series: Cosmos Kit
Overview: The UBTECH JIMU Cosmos kit enables students to build custom, appealing-looking robots that can be reconfigured and reprogramed multiple ways. The robots are built with easy-to-use, snap together pieces, and coding is all done with UBTECH’s own Blocky coding language (similar to Scratch). There are tons of other UBTECH kits with different themes, and all come highly rated.
Pros: Extremely well-thought out instructions and easy to use.
Cons: While the manufacturers recommend ages 8 and up, this product is best suited for slightly older kids.
Expert review: Tom’s Guide calls the Jimu Robots “A great robot toy for kids” and touts it as a “powerful robot-building system with plenty of versatility.”
Price: $99.00 on Amazon
Advanced robotics kit
For students who would like more of a challenge, consider an advanced robotics kit. These kits require more dexterity, have more complex structures, and may require more complicated coding.
5. Geeek Club Nano Bots
Overview: For fans of green energy, electronics enthusiasts, and those who just want to get more into robotics, this is a great kit. Assemble seven “nanobots” using the provided PCBs, soldering equipment, and a strong attention to detail. Then, watch as these bots hunt for light, their main power source. They’re cute, fun, and a great way to get into more advanced builds.
Pros: Well-made kit, lots of clear instructions, fun to make.
Cons: For some students, this kit may be overwhelming - per one reviewer, it requires a longer attention span and decent fine motor skills.
Expert review: "Robots from PCBs are very original. The yellow robot is very similar to the terminator. I was pleasantly surprised by the high-quality packaging with detailed instructions and a training book. There is a bag with extra details in the box, so you can experiment and create your own robots." said one reviewer.
Price: $129 on Amazon
6. LEGO Mindstorms Robot Inventor Building Set
Overview. The grown up version of LEGO Boost, LEGO mindstorms are a classic, extremely popular building kit for children who love engineering, robotics, and programming. The kit features nearly 1000 pieces, and a near-infinite number of possible creations, including robots of all shapes and sizes. Use the Robot Inventor app to program the robot in a user-friendly block coding language.
Pros: This kit is one of the more customizable, and can provide hours of entertainment.
Cons: This set, while it comes with many features, is expensive.
Expert review: PC Mag gives this set 4.5 out of 5 stars and claims, “The Lego Mindstorms Robot Inventor kit is the best way to teach kids (or yourself) how to build and program robots, with a Bluetooth-capable brain, multiple motors, nearly 1,000 pieces, and streamlined Scratch programming.”
Price: $359.95 on Amazon
7. Parallax Boe-Bot
Overview 3-5 sentences: The Parallax Boe-Bot was created for robotics hobbyists and is a great introduction to building robots “from scratch.” The programming manual is comprehensive and does a great job explaining how all the sensors and other pieces interact. While the Boe-Bot is considered a beginner kit, it is geared towards adults and will be advanced for middle and high schoolers.
Pros: This kit is sophisticated and fun to assemble. Students have a lot of creative freedom to make the bot move as they wish.
Cons: This kit is only a starting point, and many hobbyists recommend buying more parts to really get the best performant robot possible.
Expert review: “The best beginner robot kit available” - RoboRobotics Reviewer
Price: $249.95 from Parallax.
8. ELEGOO UNO R3 Project Smart Robot Car Kit
Overview: Our final kit is the ELEGOO UNO R3 Smart Robot Car. One of the more advanced robotics cars on this list, the UNO R3 features an Arduino-compatible circuit board and “smart” capabilities - it can avoid obstacles and has built-in line tracking. The car is assembled from component parts, and then requires coding using the EleRobot app.
Pros: This kit is very flexible and its AI abilities are sure to impress.
Cons: Lots of small parts may make this kit less suitable for some students.
Expert review: Electromaker claims, “it's arguably the best kit on the market for delving into the Arduino space.”
Price: $79.99 on Amazon
Try the best robot kits and toys for kids
Today, we’ve reviewed some of the best robot kits for kids of all ages. If any of these toys appealed to your student, consider taking a coding or robotics class with Create & Learn to help build the skills necessary to get the most out of these robots. Jr. Robotics teaches students how to work with robotic coding interfaces like many of those mentioned above, and our Scratch classes will help build block coding knowledge that can be applied in these kits. We also have fun robotics summer camps.
Written by Sarah Rappaport, who graduated from Northwestern University with undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering and music. She's now working on a masters in data with Georgia Institute of Technology. She taught math and computer science with Teach for America for two years, and now works as a Systems Engineer.