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Robots have long had the power to elicit reverence and awe in adults and children alike.
Is it their superhuman brainpower? Or the fact that they are replicated time and time again in films, TV shows and various other pop culture forms?
There's something inherently cool about them that's difficult to define. Whatever it is, kids love them, and a robot toy is a great way to both entertain and educate your child.
A robot toy is essentially a machine that can be programmed to perform different tasks independently of a human, with many even demonstrating distinct personalities. Besides being cool and fun to play with, a robotic toy also offers many educational opportunities. Robotics, i.e. the building and operating of robots, is a great field to get kids interested in; practising it helps stimulate creativity and aid cognitive development. Building a robot helps children develop STEM skills and improve focus, whilst the programming needed to get it to complete various tasks helps to stimulate a child's problem-solving abilities. Many of the best robot toys include step-by-step instructions to help your kids get to grips with basics of robot engineering, constructing and coding, so they'll have their own home robot up and running in no time.
With all these benefits, it's no surprise that robot toys for kids are becoming increasingly popular and available; you can now buy them at most of the large toy retailers, and online. Take a look at our pick of the top robotics toys, models and sets and find the best robot toys for your kids.
Our Top Choice
LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox 17101 | Fun Robot Building Set And Educational Coding Kit
This LEGO robot building starter kit is an excellent way to get your kids engaged in basic engineering, coding and robotics. The kit, which works alongside an app, includes the parts to make five different robots, so your child can decide which they like the sound of best. Will it be the walking, talking robot or the musical robot? We love the sound of the 'AutoBuilder', which, once assembled, will build you miniature Lego models! Once its up and running, each robot can be programmed to complete different tasks. With over 60 activities and 840 pieces, this set will have your kids entertained for hours.
- Price: £149.99
- Age: 7-12
Best For Families On A Budget
This cute red robot with light up eyes is the perfect interactive robot toy for families who want to satisfy their child's robot fetish without breaking the bank. And for a toy on the cheaper end of the price scale, he can still do quite a lot: teach him 12 different tricks or up to 75 actions and he'll learn more and more as he is played with. Featuring hand-tracking technology that allows your child to control him with simple hand gestures, he'll become their obedient little buddy in no time.
- Price: £10.50
- Age: 3+
Best For Teens
LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Toy Robot Building Kit
It may be pricy, but with this robot kit you get what you pay for, and with 601 pieces for your child to contend with you're sure to get your money's worth - it'll keep them occupied for hours at a time. There are five different robots to build with the parts and kids can either use the infrared remote control or the Robot Commander app for iOS or android to program their creation to complete any number of commands. A great, more advanced robot toy for older kids, this robot features an infrared sensor that allows the robot to see, a touch sensor that allows it to feel and a programmable brick that your child can code to make it speak. It's also compatible with all other LEGO construction sets. A robot-lover's dream.
- Price: £166.50
- Age: 10+
Best For Under 5s
Fisher-Price Think And Learn Code-A-Pillar
This fun interactive caterpillar from Fisher-Price is an excellent way to teach younger kids critical thinking in preparation for more advanced robotic toys. The different segments of its body can be broken apart and rearranged to program the caterpillar to move in different directions, helping to engage children in problem solving, sequencing and cause and effect learning. Kids can experiment freely, learn from their mistakes and get to grips with the elementary concepts of programming as they play. The light-up sections, blinking eyes and fun sounds provide extra sensory stimulation, and at £28.99, it's not as expensive as many of its competitors.
- Price: £28.99
- Age: 3-6
Best For Under 10s
Learning Resources Botley The Coding Robot Activity Set
Enhance your child's STEM skills with Botley The Coding Robot, which teaches kids as young as five the basics of coding and logical thinking. Featuring LED lights that indicate the direction of each step, this little robot can be programmed to follow a series of simple demands such as moving forwards, reversing, turning, avoiding objects and making sounds. The set also comes with a remote programmer, a pair of attachable arms to help little Botley move objects and a pack of coding cards that will help children to understand how programming a robot works.
- Price: £59
- Age: 5-10
Best For Learning To Code
Wonder Workshop Dash Coding Robot
This robust little robot from Wonder Workshop is an excellent gadget that will help younger kids understand programming minus the build-it-yourself element. Little Dash comes fully assembled, charged and ready to play with up to five hours of juice so impatient youngsters can get on with learning. The bot can be controlled via one of five apps or by voice control. Each of the apps focuses on a different aspect of programming, whether it be a coding-language-in-pictures that's super easy to get to grips with, or more technical and high-level coding concepts. A great educational tool. It doesn't look quite as traditionally 'robot-like' as some of the others featured here, but it still completes the same sort of tasks: moving around, emitting sound effects, even dancing!
- Price: £154.99
- Age: 6-11
Best For Coding On The Go
Sphero Mini App-Controlled Robotic Ball
This super compact little ball connects to an app to teach children the basics of programming a machine. The app is well-designed and easy to use and will have your kids teaching the ball to move around traffic cones, knock over bowling pins and play games of all kinds. In fact, the Sphero mini is a great introductory tool for all ages and is so small and nifty that it can be easily transported to friends' houses, on trips and to family gatherings. It only lasts an hour, but is easily charged with a USB cable.
- Price: £49.99
- Age: 8+
Best Entertainment Value
Really R.A.D Robot Mibro
This dinky little talking, walking (more like wheeling) remote-controlled robot is great fun. Chock-full of personality with tons of funny little phrases built in, children can also speak into the controller and the voice will transmit through the mouth of the robot, even when it's in a different room! His nifty tray also comes in handy for fetching small items. Simple, fun and easy to use, this little bot is perfect if you are looking for a basic toy to keep your little kids entertained.
- Price: £30
- Age: 5+
Best Robot For Star Wars Fans
The iconic R2-D2 is one of the best-loved and most well-known robots in pop culture history. This Sphero model is controlled via an app, and can perform a range of the classic R2D2 sounds and idiosyncrasies that will delight fans of the films. Kids can even sit him beside them as they watch their favourite of the franchise and observe his reactions - endless fun for Star Wars fanatics. More of a remote-control toy than a robot, perhaps, but an engaging and well-made toy nonetheless.
- Price: £79.99
- Age: 8+
Best Novelty Robot
Chad Valley Radio Controlled Boxing Robots
A great novelty set that will keep boisterous youths entertained, give two children a boxer robot each and let them go nuts. Each one can throw punches until the other loses its head, at which point they can be reset and made ready to go all over again. A simple pastime but you'd be surprised how many hours of amusement kids can get out of them.
Kidadl Best Buys selects the top parent-recommended products across the web for families of all ages. If you liked our suggestions for best robot toys then why not take a look at our favourite diverse dolls, or for something different take a look at our kids sliders.
- Price: £20
- Age: 8+
Originally from Manchester, Olivia has spent the last couple of years living between Toronto and Vancouver. She now works as a freelance writer in London and loves literature, travel and eating anything sweet. Her love of spending time with children began when she worked as an au pair in Paris.