Which robot building kit is best?
Robotics technologies are continually evolving. From an educational point of view, science, technology, engineering and math toys give children an introduction to the basics. They help ensure kids keep learning outside of class. However, intermediate and advanced robot building kits require some STEM knowledge to get the most from them.
Whether you are more interested in building robots or coding them, there are many excellent robot building kits to choose from. The Lego Boost Creative Toolbox is the top choice overall for building kits. Though it’s targeted at children, it can also be a great place to start for adult beginners.
What to know before you buy a robot building kit
Different types of kits
There are robot building kits for people of all experience levels. Beginners should start with simpler kits. Lego robot building kits are a great starting point for both children and novice adults. If you have little or no experience working with electronics, look for kits that do not require special tools or soldering. Intermediate and advanced users can find more complex kits for their experience levels, ensuring they have the necessary tools and soldering know-how.
Assembly and programming
Before purchasing a kit, ask yourself what you want to learn from your robot kit. Does your interest lie more in assembling the robot or in programming? If your interest is more on the coding or programming side, then out-of-the-box kits will allow you to start programming right away and avoid the hassle of building the robot first.
Software and hardware
Another important factor in purchasing a robot building kit is experience with different software and hardware platforms. Beginners can choose simpler kits, such as the one offered by Lego. Users with more experience can use kits using the Arduino or Raspberry Pi platforms.
What to look for in a quality robot building kit
Number of configurations
Some kits have only one configuration, thus requiring add-ons to make more. Other kits come complete with multiple configurations, giving the user more building options and more value for their money.
Robots are not only fun to build, but also offer educational opportunities. Building a basic out-of-the-box robot kit will be more fun for younger children, while nurturing their curiosity about how robots work. Older children may be more interested in the science behind them.
Number of pieces and compatibility with other products
Another consideration is how many parts come with the kit and whether they are compatible with other products. For some, more pieces means a limitless variety of configurations to build, which will prolong their interest and experience, as well as expand their knowledge.
How much you can expect to spend on a robot building kit
Simple robot toys are available for a mere $8-$9, while more sophisticated ones can cost more than $1,000. To obtain a kit with all the best features, you can expect to pay somewhere between $100-$400.
Robot building kit FAQ
Is robot building actually fun?
A. Robot building is fun for adults and children alike. Those interested in computing will find it especially fun. People with an active imagination will find building robots a great way to channel their creativity. Robot building kits can help nurture the interests of people who enjoy making things from spare parts or taking things apart and rebuilding them.
Are robot building kits safe?
A. When buying kits for children, take precautions and look for kits that do not need soldering or contain small parts. Out-of-the-box or plug-and-play robots are safer for very young children, while some intermediate kits that young children can use may require some soldering of components. In this case, you can look for kits that have the parts pre-soldered.
What are the required skills for a child new to robot building?
A. None. With basic kits, even reading skills are often not required. Tutorial apps provided with the kits are usually very visual. Using these apps can help children become more perceptive and spontaneous.
What’s the best robot building kit to buy?
Top robot building kit
What you need to know: This is an excellent kit for young children with a variety of projects that will maintain their interest for a long time.
What you’ll love: The projects increase in difficulty as the users learn, enabling them to build on knowledge acquired from previous activities. STEM knowledge and problem-solving skills will improve with each step, boosting imagination and creative abilities along the way. It is economically priced and will prove to be good value for your money.
What you should consider: Some activities might be a little too advanced for younger users.
Where to buy: Available on Amazon
Top robot building kit for the money
What you need to know: This kit is suitable for older children and adult beginners. It is a natural progression from Lego kits and a great starting point to learn the widely-used Arduino platform.
What you’ll love: The parts come pre-soldered with easy wiring. There are over 200 components in the kit which can be used with many other Arduino products. The provided tutorials start with easy tasks and gradually increase the intricacy, so they won’t overwhelm the novice or intermediate user.
What you should consider: The instructions come on a disc in a time when optical drives are becoming obsolete on PCs and laptops.
Where to buy: Available on Amazon
Worth checking out
Makeblock mBot Coding Robot Kit
What you need to know: This is a good, budget-friendly alternative to Lego kits and a great introduction to the Scratch and Arduino platforms for children ages 8-12.
What you’ll love: Impatient children can use the easy-to-follow instructions to build this kit quickly without adult help. The programming that children can do with this kit outperforms many other kits in the same category.
What you should consider: Add-ons need to be purchased separately to make more varieties of configurations.
Where to buy: Buy on Amazon
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Barry Peacock writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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