Any kid who has watched Transformers or Rob the Robot likely has an ingrained interest in robots, and that's why robot kits for kids make such a great gift. Kids are naturally curious creatures, and learning the mechanics of something they appreciate fuels their curiosity and feeds their mind. Yes, it's a STEAM toy, and that's important, too, obviously. But in general, robot kits are plain old fun that can lead to all kinds of pretend play, and even stem off into other interests like coding, engineering, or design.
Why Robot Kits Make Such Great Gifts
There's a lot more than mechanics that go into building robots. Studies show that kids learn computational skills, organization, they gain important technological skills, and robotic learning may even improve literacy. Robot kits for kids are a simple way to embrace kids love of all things AI, in a format designed for their level of learning and capabilities, where everything is included. While some of them are best when a parent helps, the majority of these robot kits are made for kids to do together or all on their own.
How We Chose
I recruited a group of kids ranging in age from 6 to 14. I decided to let them have at it, from opening the box to building the robot. I matched the kids to the ages specified by the manufacturer, to make sure that each was hopefully within their abilities. We tried 22 robot kits in total, and only seven made the cut. And here's why.
They are the kits that kids can do all on their own — or at least 90% on their own. The kits chosen were fun, the instructions clear and concise, with images to assist. The materials in the kit matched the price point of the robot, and the robot wasn’t, as one of the kids so eloquently put it, “super lame, and not cool-looking.” Kids do care about the aesthetics of the robot quite a lot, as they like to show them off after completing their creations. Much how I assume Dr. Miles Bennett Dyson felt about his creations. (I mean, we're almost at singularity, so...)
Kids who love science and robots will treasure this gift, but I think you may be surprised at just how many kids in general like these robot kits for kids. Not every kid in the testing group loved robots or building toys, but they all got a kick out of the kits, and have really embraced the activity with more appreciation than even I anticipated.