Who should get this

A robotics kit should be of interest to any parent who wishes to encourage a child’s interest in the STEM fields. Schools often turn to kits to teach physics or math concepts, but at home they can also serve as a creative outlet and source of fun. We think the best beginner robotics kits challenge you to build the robot in a creative, open-ended way using hundreds of pieces. You’ll then program it on your mobile device or computer to walk, talk, and play games.

How we picked and tested

We interviewed experts and scoured sites like Amazon for robotics kits before selecting seven to test. Photo: Signe Brewster

To choose which beginner robotics kits to test, we scoured websites like Amazon for reviews and considered existing guides from publications such as Tom’s Guide and Make. We also consulted three experts on the most important functions to look for in an introductory robotics kit. We eventually settled on seven kits to test, based on these criteria:

  • Encourages both building and programming the robot
  • Includes everything you need in the box
  • Thorough, easy-to-follow instructions
  • Open-ended design, and easily expandable with optional kits
  • Intuitive graphical programming software (not text-based)
  • Priced between $85 and $300

For each kit, we began by following the included instructions to build one of the suggested models. We timed the process, noting any difficulties we encountered and how much fun we had. Then, we downloaded the required app or desktop software, and went through the steps to build a basic program. We considered the difficulty level…

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