Ultimate guide to 2020’s best robotics gifts for kids

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The holidays are just around the corner (already)! With Black Friday deals on the horizon, many parents and families are on the hunt for fun, educational gifts for kids.

Since iD Tech is a leading authority in making STEM awesome for kids, if we do say so ourselves, we scoured the internet for the latest and greatest products. 

Our recommendation for inspiring kids to love technology while having an absolute blast this holiday season? Robots! 

Robotics is one of our personal favorite ways to have hands-on fun with technology. Not only does robotics help students in many ways, is it a perfect jumping off point for a STEM hobby, young tech enthusiasts have countless options for exploring robotics. From starter kits for beginners to sophisticated, competition-ready sets, there’s something for every age and experience level. 

Besides, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as seeing something you built come to life, right? 

Robots do that and more. There are numerous educational benefits to kids learning with robots, even if they’re marketed as "toys." 

Educational Benefits of Robotics

Think about it. From reading complicated instructions, to building, to programming and troubleshooting, robotics puts a range of critical thinking skills to work. Robotics introduces advanced topics like engineering and programming, and as a bonus, it happens in the most fun way possible. 

Studies show that kids, especially young kids, learn best when motivated to work towards a meaningful goal. Goal-setting for kids is as important as it can be challenging. If kids have a concrete means of tracking their progress like, say, building an awesome, moving machine, that process gets a whole lot easier. 

Before purchasing any product, please be sure to read its description, terms and conditions, and age recommendations to decide what is right for your family. Some products may require additional materials and/or programs to operate that may not be included in the original purchase. Products may contain small, sharp pieces and/or have other features that require adult supervision. iD Tech does not officially recommend or otherwise endorse any particular product. The information provided herein is merely a snapshot of products currently available.  

Best Robotics for Kids

So, to get your child excited about their next challenge in STEM, look no further than these top-rated, tech-tastic holiday or “just because” robotics gifts, kits, and toys.

Best Robotics Gifts for Kids Ages 4+

Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar: 4.5/5 stars, 619 Amazon reviews

This adorable techy critter is perfect for the youngest scientists. Kids aged 3-6 can experiment with problem-solving and coding while enjoying the Code-a-Pillar’s delightful sound effects and movement. 

Educational Insights Design & Drill Robot: 4.5/5 stars,  1,807 Amazon reviews 

It’s colorful, engaging, and sure to intrigue little ones. At just $12.99 and with hundreds of five-star reviews, it’s no wonder this is a popular robot. The kit comes with a kid-friendly mini tool set and is designed for eager builders. 

Best Robotics Gifts for Kids Ages 8+

VEX Hexbug Catapult: 4.6/5 stars, 247 Amazon reviews

Something about (safely!) hurling things through the air universally appeals to kids. This set teaches a particularly engaging lesson in kinetic energy as kids construct a catapult that can launch small projectiles up to 10 feet! 

STEM 13-in-1 Solar Power Robots: 4.5/5 stars, 212 Amazon reviews

It’s never too early to learn about amazing solar technology. With 13 unique building combinations of varying complexity, there is plenty here to keep kids busy, learning, and having a blast. Budding engineers should know all about different types of power and how they work, and this kit is a delightful introduction. 

LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox: 4.7/5 stars, 1,674 Amazon reviews

847 pieces are sure to challenge even experienced tinkerers. This kit includes instructions for five unique constructions, each featuring the latest in education technology. Fans of LEGO will be delighted to combine this set with other products for a robotics extravaganza! 

Thames & Kosmos Remote Control Machines: 4.6/5 stars, 563 Amazon reviews

For those who love remote controls and speedy gadgets, this is a great option. This robotics kit contains versatile configurations with lots of room for creativity. Plus, if your child dreads the word "Zoom,” what better remedy than to watch this little guy zoom around the room? 

Makeblock mBot Robot Kit: 4.5/5 stars, 840 Amazon reviews

The Makeblock mBot introduces coding concepts with a smile—and quite literally so. This smiling robot can be programmed to run obstacle courses and more. Beginner-level coders especially will appreciate the straightforward, hands-on application of their new skills. 

JIMU Robot Mythical Series Firebolt Kit: 4.6/5 stars, 87 Amazon reviews

Magic and science combine in this awesome dragon robot. The JIMU Mythical Series is sure to captivate kids’ imaginations and spark an interest in programming. The STEM applications are cleverly designed to animate this creature in ways reminiscent of Eragon and The Hobbit; by coding, kids can make the dragon’s wings move and its snout light up! 

Best Robotics Gifts for Kids Ages 10+

LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Robot: 4.6/5  1,151 Amazon reviews 

This LEGO robot is definitely on the higher end, price-point wise, and it’s easy to see why. The EV3 robot can do just about anything from playing games, to avoiding obstacles, to shooting darts at targets and talking to its creator. Kids can use the EV3 app to improve their coding skills and see what their robot can do.

MeccaSpider Robot Kit: 4.4/5  stars, 359 Amazon reviews

Erector sets sure have changed since my 90’s childhood. Patience and precision of assembly pay off as kids construct this cool moving spider. Its complexity is ideal for dedicated builders or as a project that parents and kids can tackle together! 

Best Robotics Gifts for Teens

Please note that teen kits tend to be pricier, but there are definitely options that won’t cost thousands of dollars!

Sphero RVR Not listed on Amazon, no reviews available 

Having seen Sphero (wait, what is Sphero?) robots wiz around iD Tech camp floors this myself, I can attest to how much fun kids can have with them. The latest model pairs with an application that allows kids to explore more advanced topics. Experienced programmers will also love how “hackable” this hardware is and enjoy experimenting with connecting it to Raspberry Pi or micro:bit. 

Makeblock DIY Ultimate Robotics Kit4/5 stars, 55 Amazon reviews

The Makeblock DIY is a 10-in-1 robot with lots of building options. Kids can learn Arduino and Python programming as they construct this talented, wireless-enabled robot. 

VEX IQ Super Kit: Not listed on Amazon, no reviews available

This kit contains everything teen robotics enthusiasts need to create something cool and even practice constructing for competitions. With the choice to follow the included blueprint or build something custom, 800 parts and 4 motors provide plenty of possibilities. 

Awesome! What next? 

Over the course of 20+ years of teaching kids to code through robotics, we’ve seen hundreds of smiles and heard countless shouts of triumph when programming translates to something amazing. 

We know that learning looks a little different nowadays, but there are still plenty of ways to get your child excited about STEM. From YouTube tutorials, to virtual robotics clubs, and free helpful websites, there are ample resources to help get started today! 

iD Tech is constantly working to bring a love of STEM and robotics to kids, even in  a socially distanced world: check out our small group and online private robotics lessons here!

A photo of Virginia

Virginia started with iD Tech at the University of Denver in 2015 and has loved every minute since then! A former teacher by trade, she has a master's in education and loves working to embolden the next generation through STEM. Outside the office, you can usually find her reading a good book, struggling on a yoga mat, or exploring the Rocky Mountains.