In a world fast turning digital, robotics can offer a world of benefits for your teen. Robotics isn't just about building cool machines - it's a bridge to critical thinking, teamwork, and complex problem solving. As parents, we often wonder if it is the right fit for our teens. How does it contribute to their educational journey? What are the potential benefits? Can it shape their future career? What's the best way to get started? Today we'll answer all of these questions and more, offering insight into the exciting realm of robotics for teens and the best robotics kits for beginners.
There are 3.5 million industrial robots as of April 2023. And 88% of businesses worldwide plan to adopt robotic automation into their infrastructure. From healthcare and agriculture to entertainment and transportation, the applications of robotics are diverse and widespread.
For live expert guidance learning robotics, join an award-winning online robotics class for teens, designed by professionals from Google, Stanford, and MIT.
Discovering the Fascinating World of Robotics for Teens
From fostering problem-solving skills to unlocking creativity, the benefits of introducing teens to robotics are immense. And it's not just us saying this! A recent Gallup report indicates that 9 in 10 parents in the U.S. want computer science education in schools. With a whopping 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 not invented yet, many of them will undoubtedly involve robotics in some way. So buckle up as we dive into this exciting future! Today we'll discuss how robotics can benefit teens, why coding and robotics go hand in hand, how experts recommend starting your student's robotics exploration, and much more.
What is the Best Way for a Teen to Start with Robotics?
Embarking on a robotics journey can be an exhilarating experience for teens. However, it can also feel overwhelming without knowing where to start. Here are some strategies to help your teen dive into robotics
These are a great way for beginners to get hands-on experience in building and programming robots. Kits typically come with all necessary parts and a guidebook with instructions. Some popular options include Makeblock kits and Arduino kits. Starting with a basic kit can help your teen understand the fundamentals before moving on to more complex models. Check out the full list of recommended robotics kits below - there's even an option under $50.
The internet is a treasure trove of resources for learning robotics. Online platforms offer a range of courses catering to different skill levels. Many of these courses provide step-by-step guidance on building and programming robots, with some even offering certificates upon completion. Make sure to choose a course that aligns with your teen's interests and skill level.
Joining a school or community robotics club can provide a supportive environment for your teen to explore robotics. They can work on collaborative projects, learn from their peers, and even participate in competitions. Competitions like the First Robotics Competition or VEX Robotics Competition not only provide a platform to showcase their skills but also expose teens to real-world engineering challenges.
4. Robotics Books and Magazines
Books like 'Robotics: Discover the Science and Technology of the Future' or magazines such as 'SERVO Magazine' can provide a wealth of knowledge. They can offer your teen a broad understanding of robotics and inspire them with the latest advancements in the field.
5. Coding Skills
A basic understanding of coding can go a long way in robotics. Languages such as Python and C++ are commonly used in robotics programming. Plenty of online resources are available to learn these languages, including award-winning platforms such as Create & Learn, which even offers a Free Python coding class.
Explore Robotics Kits for Teens
Check out some expert-recommended robotics kits for teens to get started developing a passion for this exciting field.
Key Features: Ages 12+, Learn Electronics and Coding, Extensive Learning Material, Price is under $50
For a deeper dive into the world of robotics and programming, consider the ELEGOO UNO Project Super Starter Kit. This kit uses Arduino (a popular open-source electronics platform) to help teens learn about programming and electronics. It provides all the components needed to start experimenting. It comes with extensive learning materials and is a great value for money. Common Questions:
- What's included in the kit? It includes an Arduino UNO board, sensors, a servo motor, and other electronic components.
- Is it suitable for complete beginners? Yes, the kit includes detailed tutorials and a guidebook that walks through the basics and progressively introduces more complex projects.
- What can be built with this kit? The possibilities are vast. Teens can build simple projects like LED light controls to more complex ones like a small weather station.
For live expert guidance learning how to use Arduino, join an award-winning online class, designed by professionals from Google, Stanford, and MIT.
Key Features: Ages 8+, Easy Assembly, Learn Programming, Price is around $80
The Makeblock mBot Robot Kit is an affordable entry point into the world of robotics. This kit features an easy-to-assemble robot that can be controlled and programmed using a user-friendly software interface. It’s perfect for developing logic skills and sparking creativity in teens. More advanced teens will want to consider the mBot Ultimate, which comes in at a higher price point. Common Questions:
- Is it durable? Yes, the robot is made of high-quality aluminum, and can withstand a fair bit of wear and tear.
- Can it be used to learn programming? Absolutely! The software used to control the robot introduces kids to programming in a fun, hands-on way.
Key Features: Ages 8+, Programmable Features, Engaging App, Price is around $150
- What can it do? The Sphero BOLT can move around, display a variety of LED light patterns, and respond to its environment.
- Is it compatible with my device? It works with both iOS and Android devices, so you're covered regardless of your platform.
Key Features: Ages 10+, Build and Program Robots, LEGO Interactivity, Price ranges from $350-$400
Looking to let your teen dive into the world of robotics? The LEGO MINDSTORMS Robot Inventor kit is an excellent place to start. It allows kids to build and program their own robots using LEGO blocks, which are already a favorite among many. The kit comes with everything they need to get started, including motors, sensors, and a programmable "brick" that acts as the robot's brain. You might need to check multiple retailers websites because this kit tends to sell out quickly. Common Questions:
- Is it suitable for beginners? Absolutely! The kit is designed to be beginner-friendly, with step-by-step instructions and plenty of support available online.
- Is it discontinued? Yes, actually LEGO has stopped producing their Mindstorms line. However if you can get your hands on existing kits, they're still awesome educational robotics kits.
Key Features: Ages 14+, Advanced Robotics, Multiple Building Models, Price ranges from $1300+
And finally, for teens that are much more advanced and serious about the field of robotics, or schools and teachers looking to invest in a top of the line kit, the Robotis Bioloid Premium Kit is a top-tier option for teens interested in advanced robotics. This kit offers numerous building models and programming options, allowing for a variety of humanoid, animal, and vehicle robot constructions. Common Questions:
- What's the recommended age range? This is a more advanced kit, recommended for ages 14 and up.
- Is this worth the higher price tag? For those seriously interested in robotics, absolutely. This kit offers a more complex and diverse robotics experience, which justifies the higher price.
Finally, the RaspberryPi is also an option. But they're frequently sold out as well.
How Can Robotics Benefit My Teen?
Robotics is a multidisciplinary field that encourages problem solving, logical thinking, and creativity. Here are a few benefits your teen will enjoy from learning robotics programming:
1. Enhances Problem-Solving Skills: When teens engage in robotics, they learn to build and control machines - these lessons go beyond textbooks, fostering hands-on skills. For instance, if a robot doesn't move as intended, teens must troubleshoot and revise their programming - a process that hones critical thinking and resilience.
2. Develops Teamwork: Robotics also promotes teamwork. Many robotics projects involve collaboration, where each team member brings unique ideas to the table. By working together, teens learn the art of communication, negotiation, and conflict resolution - skills crucial not only in their academic life but also in their future careers.
3. Supports STEAM Education: Robotics is a practical application of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math, offering a fun, hands-on learning experience. Robotics is also a gateway to coding, an essential 21st-century skill, and a path to lucrative tech careers.
Latest Trends and Research in Robotics for Teens
The robotics industry is already a huge industry and still growing rapidly, expected to reach USD 75.6 billion by 2026. Robots are widely used in manufacturing, transportation, agriculture, hospitals, and even in our homes. Here are some of the top companies that build or use robots already today.
- New robotic learning techniques – some involving learning from human demonstration, adaptive learning, optimization, and more – are leading to more useful robotics.
- Another research focus is human-robot interaction, including assistive robotics, medical robotics, and human augmentation.
- Mobility represents another large and fundamental problem space within robotics – it brings together the need for capabilities across human interaction, adaptation in dynamic environments, perception, and complex decision making.
Explore the Exciting World of Robotics for Teens
Robotics for teens goes beyond being just a fascinating hobby - it's a stepping stone towards a promising future in an increasingly digital world. The blend of technical, creative, and collaborative skills that robotics offers can equip your teen with the competencies needed to excel in their future careers. So why wait? Kickstart your teen's journey into robotics today! Check out our beginner-friendly teens' robotics courses or dive deeper with our article the history of robotics for kids.
You might also enjoy our free Snap Circuits building event led live by an expert.