Whether you know a young inventor who's already into robotics or they just really like , robotics kits make an excellent gift for kids. Experimenting with basic robotics is a great way to combine creativity with basic building and programming skills.
These seven kits are fun and interactive for young inventors of all levels.
The Smithsonian’s Robotic Spider Kit is great for beginners ages 6 and up to learn how robotic joints fit together and move. Just assemble, power on the motor, and off it goes. Arachnophobes beware: The resulting robot has eight multi-jointed legs that mirror the walking motions of real spiders.
Building this mechanical artist is an excellent quick robotics exercise. Simple enough for beginners ages 8 and up to figure out on their own, the angle and height of the pens on this little robot can be adjusted to create a variety of different designs.
The winner of 50-plus toy awards, the littleBits Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit is perfect for the Star Wars and robotics enthusiast. Inspired by R2-D2, with this littleBits kit inventors can bring their droid to life while learning block-based coding skills. A smartphone app lets inventors 8 and up be the C-3P0 to their new friend.
The toy car for the self-driving EV generation. With the Elegoo UNO Project Smart Robot Car Kit, builders gain experience programming Arduino. Once the car is assembled, it can be controlled using Bluetooth. When placed on “smart mode,” it will automatically detect and avoid obstacles.
With motors and wooden pieces, the Tinkering Labs Catalyst Kit inspires builders to learn about simple circuits and motorized machines. To help get inventors started on projects, the kit includes challenge cards with ideas for projects, some fun and some practical—like a machine that draws curvy lines, or a machine that could scramble an egg. Great for inventors 10 and up who want to spend time experimenting with their own ideas.
From prosthetics to assembly lines, creating an arm that can move flexibly and fluidly has been one of the main challenges of robotics for years. Once built, OWI’s robotic arm operates on six axes of movement, and can be manipulated to grip and lift objects. No batteries or electricity are required: The entire project is hydraulically powered, making it the perfect project for inventors 10 and up to learn the basics of hydromechanics.
The mother lode of robotics kits! The builder can create 17 different figures, from a humanoid robot to a stinging scorpion. The programmable brick included in the set allows builders to teach their creations to walk, talk, and more—creations can be controlled with a remote control and the free EV3 Programmer smartphone app. Inventors can share their programs and creations, and find inspiration for more projects, on the online Mindstorms community.