Our team of testers (and their kids) spent a not unpleasant sum of over 20 hours tinkering with a range of toy robots to find out which are the best out there, comparing features such durability, battery life and age range, as well as each robot’s special features and actions.
While we’ve found the 7 robots we tested were all pretty cool and have their own unique features, our top pick for kids is Cozmo by Anki.
Cozmo by Anki Review – 92%
When it comes to learning how to program, Cozmo can be a great starting block for kids. First, Cozmo looks so cute and shows various adorable reactions, which is why kids will tend to gravitate towards it; younger children and infants may not find it as scary as other robots.
- A charming and intelligent robotic sidekick that explores, remembers and reacts to his environment - and to you!
- Challenge him to games, or turn on Explorer Mode to see things from Cozmo's perspective
- Unlock new games and upgrades the more you play
Cozmo seems to grow with the child as it’s able to learn and develop every day. making it more of a friend or robotic companion than an actual toy. Cozmo can be controlled, but it is able to function on its own as well. It can even recognize the entire household, making it part of the family!
WowWee COJI Smart Robot Programming Toy Review – 91%
Older kids can enjoy the WowWee COJI Smart Robot Programming Toy just as much as Cozmo by Anki at a much cheaper price. However, the small parts of this toy can probably be too advanced for kids under 4 years old so consider this if purchasing.
- Program your very own Coji
- Fully programmable via universal language of emojis
- Colour LCD screen
Since Coji has a display screen and you can see the emojis on the screen, your child can become more familiar with emotions and facial expression. Coji is also a great learning tool for your child since it provides a reward for every level completed. It also helps introduce kids and adults to the world of coding, but this robot also encourages your child to be mobile since they have to ensure that they are face-to-face with Coji.
Robosapien by WowWee Review – 90%
The Robosapien is a humanoid that can also function as a playmate for kids because of the several functions it can perform. These functions are almost human-like since it can do things like walking, running, farting, dancing, and even speaking in an international caveman language. Unquestionably, the movements on this model are surprisingly fast and it impressed our child reviewers no end!
Compared to the previous two models that require connection to an app, Robosapien is mainly operated by a remote control. However, I have heard complaints from fellow parents that some Robosapien X models didn’t work, which made me questions the consistency of the quality of this brand.
SGILE Large Humanoid Self-programming Robot Toy – 90%
Since many kids enjoy fighting games, SGILE has tapped into this by including a fighting mode for this robot. Some of our child reviewers loved pretending they were dodging the bullets shot by SGILE!
Similar to the previous humanoids that we have tried, SGILE can move in several different directions and it can create all sorts of hand gestures. True to its name, SGILE can self-program and replay 50 of its previous movements. Moreover, it creates fun movements for kids of any age to enjoy.
Meccano Micronoid Building Set Review – 84%
Despite the fact that the Meccano Micronoid needs assembly, it was easy to build and this in itself can help develop your child’s critical thinking as they assemble their Micronoid. (However, check you’ve received all the parts before starting as this was one issue we encountered!)
- MicroNoids are pocket-sized robots with big personality! They interact with each other, answer questions, and even dance.
- MicroNoids are programmable with simple push button programming.
- MicroNoids love to dance when they hear a beat.
As easy as its assembly, it is also easy to operate and program, which is ideal for kids. (However, the small size of the Meccano makes it hazardous for younger children who may potentially swallow parts, so consider this if purchasing.)
Once it is up and running, there’s no party like a Mecanno party since this micronoid dances to every beat! Incredibly entertaining and our child reviewers loved it.
LEGO 31313 Mindstorms EV3 Robot Kit Review – 82%
The LEGO 31313 Mindstorms model is a more luxurious alternative to the Meccano Micronoid Building Set in every way. However, it is also much more difficult to build considering that it comes with 601 pieces! With the ARM9 processor, this is certainly a robot for those with a slightly advanced knowledge of robotics, so it’s obviously more suited for older children.
- Build and program walking, talking and thinking robot toys that do anything you can imagine
- Includes EV3 Brick and three servo motors, plus colour, touch and IR sensors
- Control and command your robot with the enclosed remote control or download the free app for your smart device
Creating the robots can be a bit tricky, especially if you just rely on the instruction manual that can be a bit complicated to read – adults may be needed to get this robot up and running! Although building this LEGO set is a large part of the fun as you can explore with the six different designs that you can create.
Hexbug Spider Review – 80%
The Hexbug spider is great for kids with a fascination with bugs…or even for anyone looking to help their kids get over a fear of spiders! (Unless, of course, it creeps your kids out more!)
- Infra-red control
- Two Channel
- Fits in the palm of your hand
The Hexbug Spider is adorable and it can fit right into your hands which, to kids, will make it feel like a toy and pet at the same time. It moved like a real spider and it was easy to control with the use of the infrared remote control, although it is a much more basic robot compared to the others we tested, with fewer functions and features.
Frequently asked questions
What different types of children’s robots exist, and what do they do?
There are different types of robot, but the most popular types are the humanoid robots, animal robots, social robots, and rescue robots. A humanoid robot is built similarly to human and it acts as a research tool for science.
An animal robot, on the other hand, is an attempt to simulate animals and they can become a nice little companion for their child owners (or substitute pet that doesn’t need feeding or shed hair!).
Social robots are designed to communicate with humans in order to improve their communication skills – good for kids’ language developments. A rescue robot is designed to help in search and rescue operations.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a children’s robot?
When kids are exposed to playing with a robot, it can increase their creativity since they are exposed to different ways of constructing a robot.
Moreover, it brings children closer to technology, massively important in today’s world, and they can learn how to use them in an intelligent manner. Furthermore, robots with advanced interactive abilities can encourage a child’s language development.
On the other hand, robotics can reduce familiarity with humans. In addition to this, it can make the children rely more on machines for computations and logical thinking.
If technology is used in an improper manner, it can lead to more distractions than benefits, although it all depends, as it does with most children’s toys, on how long the child spends playing with it and whether they have access to a range of toys, books and entertainment sources.
What should I look for when choosing a Robot for Kids?
When choosing a robot for kids, it’s important that the robot is appropriate for their age. When the robot is more advanced for their age, the child may not be able to use it well and will get less out of it, making it a disappointment for the child and a big waste of money!
Furthermore, since kids will be using these robots, it’s important that they are designed in a durable and sturdy manner because kids tend to throw toys around, so you definitely want one that will withstand a bit of a beating.
Another important factor to consider is the appearance of the robot since kids tend to gravitate towards brightly colored toys with a range of lights and sounds.
How does a kid’s robot work?
This depends largely on the type of robot, but we’ll consider a few different types below.
Since most robots mimic the human body, they are connected by joints. They also use actuators like electric motors, solenoids, hydraulic system, or a pneumatic system to allow the wheels to spin and move. They are then wired to an electrical circuit to power it up, which allows the robot to work.
Some robots even make use of Artificial Intelligence to allow the robots to function in the manner that you wish.
What’s the best programmable robot for children?
The WowWee COJI Smart Robot Programming Toy is a great learning tool for your child to learn about programming by using popular emojis.
Parents can just download the app for an easier way to control Coji. This one’s also on the cheaper side, the parents won’t have to break their budgets.
What’s the best robot for kids under 4 years old, why?
Kids under the age of four tend to play carelessly and harshly, which is why Cozmo by Anki is great for toddlers and pre-schoolers.
Since it is tested for drops, you can be sure that the robot will still function even when your toddler accidentally drops it or throws it around.
The durability of this robot is unquestionable and it allows your child to interact with the robot, which can also help the child develop some of their cognitive skills and language development.
What’s the best robot for kids between 4 and 8, why?
For the four to eight years old category, we believe the WowWee COJI Smart Robot Programming Toy would be the best.
The reactions that the emojis show will also become relatable for the child, and this robot is a nice easy introduction for them into the world of programming.
What’s the best robot for kids 8 to 12 years old, why?
In order for older kids to develop their love for technology, it is best for them to have a robot that is similar to humans. Robosapien Multi-Speed Robot has several pre-programmed functions that will allow the operator of the robot to explore the functions of this toy.
Pre-teens can also enjoy the fact that they can interact with this robot since it is capable of speaking like an international caveman. It even has different sets of personality, which the kids can relate to depending on their mood.
What’s the best programmable robot for teenagers?
The SGILE Large Humanoid Self-programming Robocop is best for older kids since programming it requires an advanced level of skill. Controlling this robot isn’t too simple for teenagers, which means that they can explore the functions more and further develop their analytical skills.
It even has a fighting mode, which keeps the kids active and it allows them to interact with a human-like toy. Since most kids are also on their computers nowadays, they can charge the battery of this robot via USB charging.
What can we use robots for?
There are several possible uses for robots. In fact, robots have been eliminating the use of humans in some companies, especially in production factories. Robots have been used in space exploration in the form of ROVs, which eliminates the need for a human to go into space when exploring the galaxy.
Robots can also be now used during surgery to allow surgeons to operate on patients even when they are in remote areas. Robots can also be used for domestic purposes such as cleaning the house.
What’s the best educational robot and why?
The LEGO 31313 Mindstorms EV3 Robot Kit is more than just a toy since it allows your child to learn. They can build six different robots from this set, but it’s best for older kids since there are several parts to this robot and requires assembly.
However, if your child is interested in building robots, this Lego set is definitely one way to develop their skills.
What’s the best robot animal toy for children?
The HEXBUG Spider can help eliminate your child’s fear of insects. Since the toy spider comes in bright colors, kids can lose their arachnophobia at a young age since they are exposed to spiders in a fun manner.
As it crawls in any direction, you can ask the spider to bring tiny rooms to another room. It even comes in a variety of color for you to choose from. The robot spider can even be like a pet since it crawls toward all directions and it rotates its head for up to 360 degrees.
Are toy robots safe for kids?
Toy robots are safe for kids to play with, however, you need to consider the best one for your child’s age and needs before buying them. It is important to check for the durability of the robot since it’s likely to be thrown about a bit if it’s for a young child.
Parents should also check for the security and safety features to prevent any hazardous events. Moreover, the toys that you use for the kids should be appropriate for the child that will use it.