Top Robot Building Toys for Christmas 2017

Looking for a good gift idea for a child? Why not a toy that is not cool and entertaining, but also inspires logical thinking and creative growth? Robot building toys have evolved a lot over the past decade. They changed in forms from the more obvious and boring educational accessories an into full fledged, exciting-to-play with, complex systems that children would just love to get their hands on. The best part of building the robot is that it also creates a sense of ownership for the child, and this makes them inherently more fond and protective of the toy since they know the value of making with with their own hands.

Makeblock mBot V1.1 Programmable Arduino STEM Robot

Makeblock mBot V1.1 Programmable Arduino STEM Robot

Programming with Arduino may seem like a tall order for kids, but thanks to the mBlock Scratch system, it is as easy as tapping and dragging on the touch screen. This toy makes programming feel like part of playtime instead of becoming a chore to do –which is a critical part of why it is so fun to play with. Users will feel a definite sense of satisfaction when they finish their first set of commands and see the robot move according to the customized program. One favorite function that users love to program into the robot is the ability for it to detect walls and avoid collisions.

Assembling the actual robot itself takes a very short amount of time, there are only a few parts and all the pieces have been designed to fit in together quite snugly. There’s also a protective casing around the main board which allows the robot to handle rough usage and also to diffuse the board’s LED light from being too bright. The improvements from the original release of the toy to V1.1 adds a lot of interesting new tweaks –most important of all is that the center of gravity for the robot has changed (most likely with the older caster wheel being swapped out with a new mini auxiliary wheel). This allows the machine to roll around surfaces more efficiently and of course, be more balanced.

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Build Your Own Robot Arm Toy

Build Your Own Robot Arm Toy

There is something that is hypnotizing about seeing assembly line robot arms working in unison. Each one would have its own unique function and entire groups of arms would be performing simultaneous tasks with the speed and precision that these robots are designed for. As marvelous as they all are, it is not easy to take a very close look at them unless you go onsite to a factory floor –or you can build your own. Build Your Own Robot Arm gets its users to be involved in the entire assembly process of building the arm.

It takes a lot of time and effort to build this kit, but it is a cathartic learning experience especially for children getting their first taste of engineering. They learn a lot about how different types of parts work (and how they are made to work together). Joints, hinges, screws, wires, and all other sorts of mechanical parts are put into play as the user becomes more familiar with the inner workings of the arm. Once built, a wired controller allows for full movement of the arm as well as its gripping manipulator claws.

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Meccano Meccanoid G15 Toy & Meccano Meccanoid G15 Ks Toy

Meccano Meccanoid G15 Toy & Meccano Meccanoid G15 Ks Toy

Parents will be quite surprised to see the name Meccano stamped on high-tech programmable robot toys, especially when it is a brand often associated with the more complex and yet amazing mechanical constructs of a much earlier generation of kids. But the G15 and G15 KS are not your typical cranes and lifts, these are fully programmable and fully customizable robots. The best part of it all is that these tech kits are way simpler than the mechanical marvels that predated them. Assembly makes use of specially made tools designed to make the process easy and fast. The programming process itself is made accessible thanks to the mobile app that puts everything at the touch of the finger –literally. And the best part of it all is that if you happen to have old Meccano kits stored in your basement, garage, attic, or some other place, you can bring them out and connect them to the G15 and G15 KS sets. So if you ever wanted to add voice commands to that old crane, you can turn it into a quick after project with your child.

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LEGO Robot Building Toy Mindstorms EV3

LEGO Robot Building Toy Mindstorms EV3

The EV3 is without a doubt, one of the most fun-to-customize Mindstorms sets we have ever encountered. The whole system is designed to be dynamic in both form and function, allowing user to configure settings for legs, wheels, arms, and all sorts of locomotive functionalities and that is just the tip of the iceberg. At the core of EV3 is a programmable brick that allows for either USB connection or a Micro SD card to help provide it with additional programs and functionalities.

Color and touch sensors provide the kit with an amazing level of spatial awareness, though you will want to program it if you want edge and collision detection functions (among other things). Naturally, if you have more than one Mindstorms set, you can combine parts and pieces from other sets in order to create a more complex robot. Our personal favorite when it comes to the EV3’s default sets is the R3PTAR, which looks like a land-bound leviathan. The crawling motion it requires to move is an outstanding lesson in physics as well.

If your child really wants to make a build, you can actually use several programmable bricks in a single one –with each brick providing very different functionalities. This allows your build to act and move with more complexity, though you will want to program it all nicely so that every movement is more synchronized with one another.

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4M Brush Robot

4M Brush Robot

The 4M Brush Robot is the perfect exercise in simple mechanical physics, art, and cleanliness –and we say it is’ perfect not because of the education value, but because it is fun. This little robot will zip around the floor and dust away at anything in its path. The eyes are just there for décor, the real magic is in the Brush Robot’s engine and the way it manages to balance itself while moving with nothing than a small brush on the back. As a standalone toy, the brush robot will deliver a lot of entertaining fun. But if you have several of them, you can watch the beautiful chaos they can make with colored chalk. Assembling the whole set is easy, and hardly requires any adult supervision (but still needed for small parts). Once it is build, the user only need to turn it on and set it on the floor. Watching this robot move around using the brushes for motion is an incredible sight –and expands concept of locomotion without the need for legs or wheels.

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Clementoni Science Museum Mio The Robot

Clementoni Science Museum Mio The Robot

The cleverly designed Mio the Robot hides a programmable functionality under the simple guise of basic switches for its main board. Children, driven by curiousity, will naturally discover this function and want to play it –allowing them to access a variety of functionalities and accessories for Mio. Most prominent of which is a magnet that allows it to grab metallic objects like coins from the floor. As a toy, Mio is a little bit of a lightweight, so it is advisable to not let it get rough handled. But when it comes to its features and functionality, children should be encouraged to get curious about it and be allowed to tinker with its parts and accessories. Building it is easy and quick with its very simply parts, so it does not take much time for children to be familiar with it.

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4M Kidz Labs Tin Can Robot

4M Kidz Labs Tin Can Robot

This little toy manages to teach children about robotics, recycling, and responsibility all in a single sitting. The 4M Tin Can Robot is exactly what it sounds like: a robot made out of a tin can. The kit already provides the motors, the arms, legs, and other parts, but it is up to you (or the child), to provide the tin can which will be the main body of the robot. The final result is a tin can with arms and legs (actually, wheels) that allows it to move around and be entertaining. While playing with the finished toy is fun, the biggest excitement here is during the building process. Of course, children will naturally be amazed that items originally classified as junk or used can be reused or repurposed –instilling in them the virtue of not letting things go to waste.

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4M 3 in 1 Eco Engineering Mini Solar Robot Toy

4M 3 in 1 Eco Engineering Mini Solar Robot Toy

The mini solar robot toy from 4M is a basic DIY project that allows the user to expereimen t with three different movement options: arms for hanging, legs for walking, and wheels for fast lateral motion. The configuration used depends entirely on the child playing with it (and swapping out parts is a pretty easy thing too). The core part however, remains the same: it is a small motor that is connected to a small sheet of solar panels. This amazing toy is a great way to introduce children to the concept of energy coming directly from the sun (as opposed to replaceable or chargeable batteries seen in other toys). It also opens up a lot of great educational discussion about how important it is to harness the power of sunlight for a variety of purposes.

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