The 11 Best Robot Toys of 2022

Novie is adorably small but mighty—and our top pick

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Best Robot Toys

The Spruce / Chloe Jeong

Robot toys are nothing short of cool. They make kids at any age feel like they’ve stepped into the future while reaping the many benefits robot toys bring, like fine-motor and problem-solving skills. Additionally, robot toys instill a love of STEM, or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, which can turn into a career later in life.

Reviewed & Approved

The Novie Interactive Smart Robot puts kids in control with  hand-tracking technology, performing more than 75 different actions. For a buildable robot toy, we recommend the LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox.

Steve Coxon, PhD, professor of education and executive director at the Center for Access and Achievement at Maryville University, tells Verywell Family that there are many benefits of children and teens using robot toys. “In our research, we have found increases in spatial ability and creativity along with increases in coding skills and self-efficacy (belief in their ability to solve STEM challenges),” Coxon explains. “Importantly, children also learn to overcome failure through iterating improvements to their robot design and code to meet challenges set forth by their teachers or families. Learning to overcome failure is vital for anything students choose to do in life and something they rarely get the opportunity for in school.”

Toy robots encourage children to unleash their imagination, but there are a few details you’ll want to think about before buying one. Keep your child’s age in mind to ensure they play safely at their skill level and consider the educational value of a robot toy. We carefully examined age recommendations, toy safety, design, material, ease of use, charge, and value when reviewing products.

Here are the best robot toys to challenge your child’s imagination.

Best Overall

Novie Interactive Smart Robot

Novie, Interactive Smart Robot

Amazon

Pros
  • Small footprint

  • Hand gesture control

  • Available in several colors

Cons
  • Requires four batteries

Say hello to Novie: This adorable interactive robot earns our top spot because of its special hand-tracking technology. Kids can wave their hands in a variety of gestures to control Novie with ease while it performs more than 75 actions, like an effortlessly cool 360-degree spin. Novie even learns up to 12 awesome tricks and celebrates by making silly noises, including a farting sound kids are sure to get a kick out of.

There are three stages of play with Novie—beginner, intermediate, and advanced—all of which light up Novie’s eyes to differentiate the stages without any confusion. The robot is available in several color options, like purple, blue, and green, and requires four button batteries that are included, so kids can play with it directly out of the box. Plus, Novie’s small footprint allows children to carry it around without taking up too much space in a bag. 

Price at time of publication: $29

Dimensions: 3.88 x 3.68 x 4.81 inches | Charge: 4 button batteries | Recommended age: 4 years and up

Best for Beginners

ZOOB BuilderZ ZOOB Bot Moving Building Modeling System

ZOOB BuilderZ ZOOB Bot Moving Building Modeling System

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Versatile pieces

  • High replay value

  • Pairs with other ZOOB kits

Cons
  • Younger kids may need help assembling

This kit offers a beginning course in robotics as it contains everything kids need to build their own cool bot. It comes with 49 pieces, two wheels, a pull-back two-wheel motor, four tires, and cool, light-up eyes. Instructions to build four ZOOB-Bots are included, as is the required battery. Kids can go by the book or come up with creations of their own, as their imagination is the best guide. The pieces simply snap together and work with other ZOOB kits for expanded building.

At an affordable price, this kit is a great way to get kids interested in robotics and start building those STEM skills.

Price at time of publication: $19

Dimensions: 14 x 2.75 x 11 inches | Charge: Product specific battery | Recommended age: 6 years and up

Best Multifunctional

Wonder Workshop Dash

4.9
Wonder Workshop Dash

Amazon

Pros
  • 12-month subscription to Class Connect

  • Rechargeable battery

  • Teaches coding at an age-appropriate level

Cons
  • Not compatible with all Android devices

  • Pricey

Dash and Dot are a robot duo that even adults will love, thanks to their endless options for play. Simply download the Wonder app to an Apple, Android, or Kindle Fire-compatible smart device and watch them come to life. The toys teach coding to kids by allowing them to program Dash’s every move while operating lights, sounds, and more. Plus, Dash is operable without trusty sidekick Dot, who is also fully programmable to be a light sword, magic eight ball, and whatever else your child wants to see come to fruition. 

With each purchase of Dash and Dot, you also get a 12-month subscription to Class Connect—a one-stop shop for kids to learn about coding and play challenges with their new robot friends. Dash and Dot are also rechargeable and come with the proper charging cable, so you don’t have to search for a cord at home.

Price at time of publication: $280 (Wonder Pack)

Dimensions: 7.17 x 6.69 x 6.34 inches | Charge: Rechargeable | Recommended age: 5 years and up

Best With Remote Control

Think Gizmos RoboShooter Remote Control Robot

4.7
Think Gizmos RoboShooter Remote Control Robot

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Interactive sounds

  • Disks are safe and gentle

  • High quality

Cons
  • Disks can get stuck

This remote-control robot does everything from talking to shooting disks and busting a move. Load it up with the brightly colored disks—there are 12 included—use the remote to get it into position, and it's ready, aim, fire. (Parents, take cover!) It can even be programmed ahead of time to move and fire on its own for a surprise attack.

The robot can also walk forward and backward and greets you when you turn it on, signaling that the fun is about to begin. A touch of the "dance" button, and it'll show you its moves. Our tester noted that the design of this robot is not the most sophisticated, so it's more suitable for younger kids as an introduction to robotic toys. 

The multiple functions kept our tester's son entertained for hours, earning it high scores for entertainment value. As with other toys that come with accessories, the discs are easily misplaced, and the noises it makes could prove annoying for parents. The exterior is easy to wipe down if the robot gets dirty. You will need to supply AA batteries for this toy. 

Price at time of publication: $40

Dimensions: 13.62 x 8.58 x 5.43 inches | Charge: AA Batteries | Recommended age: 5 years and up

What Testers Say

"For whatever reason, kids—including ours—love throwing and shooting things at their parents, friends, siblings, and anyone else around. If your child is in this phase, you will probably appreciate the RoboShooter, as it’s a gentler alternative to, say, Nerf guns."—Kaity Velez, Product Tester

Best Coding

Learning Resources Botley the Coding Robot Activity Set

4
Learning Resources Botley the Coding Robot Activity Set

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • No additional electronic devices required

  • 77 pieces included

  • Remote control

Cons
  • Two Botleys cannot play side-by-side (must be 10 to 15 feet apart)

  • Younger children may need adult help

If you want to introduce your child to coding, look no further than Botley, a coding robot that helps promote problem-solving skills and critical thinking. Botley doesn’t require a smart device or app and comes with a remote control kids can use to program its every move. Plus, children will love unlocking Botley's hidden features as they navigate it around the room.

In addition to a robot and its remote control, this set includes more than 70 pieces, such as traffic cones and building pieces children can use to create an interactive path for their new robot friend. Botley is recommended for children ages 5 and up, so kiddos can get a headstart on learning about coding. There is a downside to Botley: It requires five AAA batteries total (not included) to start.

Price at time of publication: $80

Dimensions: 9 x 9 x 6.2 inches | Charge: 5 AAA batteries (not included) | Recommended age: 5 years and up

Best With App

SmartGurlz Coding Robot for Girls, Jen on Robotic Scooter

SmartGurlz Coding Robot for Girls, Jen on Robotic Scooter

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Teaches STEM skills and coding

  • Pairs with app

  • Stylish design

Cons
  • Battery not included

The award-winning line of SmartGurlz dolls each has a robotic “Siggy” scooter that can be programmed by little coders. They use the SugarCoded app on a smartphone or tablet to send her on missions and other adventures, including dances, obstacle courses, fashion shows, and more. The app also lets them solve missions, win points, and see how their friends are doing as well. Girl power, indeed.

This stylish toy is a great way to introduce STEM and coding skills in a fun and engaging way. It runs on one nine-volt battery (not included), but you can also purchase a rechargeable battery (sold separately).

Price at time of publication: $52

Dimensions: 6.5 x 10 x 13 inches | Charge: 9V Battery | Recommended age: 5 years and up

Best Ball

Sphero BOLT App-Enabled Robot

Sphero BOLT App-Enabled Robot

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Waterproof and scratch proof

  • Bluetooth compatible

  • Infrared communication

Cons
  • App required

  • Difficult to use on carpet

Between the LED display and infrared detection, the Sphero Bolt looks and acts like something out of the future. The robot ball’s LED matrix display is programmable to a variety of icons of your kiddo’s choice, such as a heart or lightning bolt, and is packed with customizable sensors, like infrared detectors, that tell the robot when something is nearby. The Sphero Bolt’s outer shell is waterproof and scratch-proof, so it’s durable enough to withstand any bumps along the way.

The Sphero Edu app is required for the baseball-sized robot to work, but the Bolt is compatible with Android, Apple, and Kindle devices via Bluetooth Smart, allowing children to see their coding commands happen in real-time. 

Price at time of publication: $195

Dimensions: 2.87 × 2.87 × 2.87 inches | Charge: Charging base with USB cable (rechargeable) | Recommended age: 8 years and up

Best Build-Your-Own

LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox

Boost Creative Toolbox

Amazon

Pros
  • 5-in-1 multifunctional models

  • Detailed building instructions

  • Required app is free

Cons
  • App required

  • Compatible with select devices

This LEGO robot kit is sure to wow everyone in the family with its many different multifunctional builds. The LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox includes 847 pieces to make Vernie the Robot, Frankie the Cat, Auto Builder, Guitar 4000, and M.T.R. 4—all of which are programmable on the free LEGO Boost app (compatible with select Apple, Android, and Kindle devices). Program Vernie the Robot to dance and play a game or go exploring with the multi-tooled rover 4 (M.T.R. 4), which also includes several attachments, like a spring-loaded shooter. 

Price at time of publication: $160

Dimensions: Varies by model | Charge: Batteries (not included) | Recommended age: 7 years and up

Best for Preschoolers

Educational Insights Design and Drill Robot

Educational Insights Design and Drill Robot

Amazon

Pros
  • Kid-sized screwdriver

  • Swivel head, arms, and upper body

  • No annoying sounds or lights

Cons
  • No storage for bolts

  • Some stickers don’t align

Introduce STEM subjects at a young age with a take-apart robot toy made for littles ages 3 and up. Kiddos will love snapping in the multicolored pieces, screwing in bolts using a screwdriver that’s sized to fit their hands, and adding decorative stickers for a final touch. With 23 pieces included, kids will have a blast for hours watching their robot friend transform before their eyes. Plus, the robot’s head, arms, and upper body swivel for additional play beyond construction. Bonus for adults: There are no sounds and lights with this robot toy. 

Price at time of publication: $15

Dimensions:10 x 6.3 x 3.8 inches | Charge: None | Recommended age: 5 years and up

Best Pet

Top Race Remote Control Robot Dog

Top Race Remote Control Robot Dog

Amazon

Pros
  • Voice- and remote-controlled

  • Robot dog is rechargeable

Cons
  • Remote control requires 2 AA batteries

With a robot dog, kiddos can adopt a family pet without the required 24/7 care and added expenses of food, toys, and more. This robot dog toy mimics the voice and movement of several animals (including a dog), responds to voice-controlled commands, and is controllable via remote control. While the remote control requires two AA batteries to operate, the robot pet includes a rechargeable battery for longer-lasting play.

Price at time of publication: $63

Dimensions: Not listed | Charge: Rechargeable (dog), 2 AA batteries (remote control) | Recommended age: 3 years and up

Best Educational

KinderLab Robotics KIBO 10 Home Edition

KinderLab Robotics KIBO 10 Home Edition

Amazon

Pros
  • Screen-free

  • Build-your-own

  • Codable

Cons
  • Pricey

Recommended for children ages 4 to 7, kids will enjoy the multiple play possibilities with Kibo—a coding robot you build and decorate yourself. The screen-free robot was designed by early education researchers at Tufts University and allows kids to change its actions with a sequence of coding cards. Kibo also encourages creativity, as kids can attach paper designs to its top and change them whenever they like. Or, draw directly onto Kibo’s whiteboard top with the included marker.

Price at time of publication: $200

Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.26 x 1.65 inches | Charge: 4 batteries | Recommended age: 4 to 7 years

What to Look for in a Robot Toy

Recommended Age

Robot toys don’t need to be complicated to be fun. Younger robot enthusiasts can benefit from a simpler, introductory robot kit that introduces them to coding and design, such as Learning Resources’ Botley the Coding Robot. Older children can likely handle a more complex activity that includes electrical components and intricate pieces and construction, like the LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox. 

“Parents and caregivers should match the robot to the child’s developmental level,” Coxon suggests. “For example, KIBO is excellent for kids ages 4 to 7, Dash and Dot work well for ages 6 to 10, and LEGO Spike and Sphero scale up from around age 7 and up through at least middle school. Of course, these can vary depending on the developmental readiness of the individual child.”

Safety

Safety is of the utmost importance when it comes to children's toys. Many robot toys and kits include complex construction, which can pose a safety hazard for younger users. Hooking up electrical components and mechanical parts is best done with adult supervision and oversight. Always follow the recommended instructions with your toy to keep everyone safe as well.

Educational Value

Robots are a great way to incorporate educational STEM principles into play. Many require imagination during the design and construction phase. Coding and mechanical design are two skills that bots are particularly good at encouraging. Certain robots come ready to wow kids out of the box, while in the cases of other models, putting them together is part of the fun. 

According to Chuck English, Virginia STEM Coordinator at the Science Museum of Virginia, coding is a popular activity for children of all ages. “Coding is a much broader term than what I grew up with. It’s not just learning certain languages. Kids can now develop simple apps and programs where they can see the outcome of it.”

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What kinds of toy robots are available?

    The most basic type of robot is operated by remote control. It's a great choice for smaller kids who want to get their first robot. It will perform all the basic functions you'd expect and sometimes puts on a bit of a show through lights and sounds. Some other robots need to be built before they can be operated. They're made out of building blocks or other types of pieces that can be put together to build the robot.

    There are also robots that are controlled with coding, which Coxon recommends. Kids will learn the coding language required and then code their robot to perform certain actions. “There are a lot of robots on the market now, and choosing the right fit can be a challenge. One of the key things I look for is whether the robot can just be coded, such as KIBO and Sphero, or is engineered and coded like a LEGO robot. LEGO is also extremely open-ended and scales up to more advanced levels. Which one you choose for your child is based on your goals for their learning.”

    Additionally, check out robot toys that are rechargeable and fit within your budget. “We have found the Sphero Mini to be one of the best values. We use this extensively in teacher trainings for teaching coding because it’s affordable for schools,” says Coxon.

  • What ages are toy robots appropriate for?

    Children as young as the age of 3 might enjoy a basic remote control robot. As children get into elementary school, a robot that involves coding or one that has to be built are great choices. Tweens and teens can also enjoy some of the robots that are specially made for older kids. These challenge kids to use their problem-solving skills to operate their own robots.

  • Are all toy robots educational?

    In short, no, not all robot toys are educational. “Some are simply remote-controlled toys that look like robots. These can be fun, but the learning potential is very limited. Notably, Sphero and Dash and Dot can also be used in this manner, but families should help their children move into the coding aspects.” The more basic toy robots for the younger kids can encourage fine motor control and hand/eye coordination. All toy robots encourage a love of science and may just inspire kids to think of a career in engineering.

    Additionally, robot toys should be challenging, and it’s great when children can work on them together. “All of the robotics platforms I’ve mentioned have extensive resources full of ideas for engaging your child with their robots,” says Coxon. “Invite a friend or sibling to join in, and give your child a goal to accomplish through coding their robot.”

  • What can I expect to pay for a robot toy?

    How much you spend on a robot toy will depend on many factors, such as your child’s age, developmental level, and additional features. Expect to pay anywhere between $50 for the smaller robots and over $100 for the robot toys with apps and additional features.

Why Trust Verywell Family

This article was written and researched by Julie Evans, a writer and editor whose work covers topics including health and wellness, parenting, and technology. Her writing has appeared on USA Today, Realtor.com, Brit + Co, and CafeMom, among others. She has nearly 20 years of experience.

Katrina Cossey is a commerce writer for Verywell Family with nearly eight years of writing, editing, and researching under her belt. Katrina’s background in journalism led to her commerce writing role, which allows her to research and recommend the best products for families, pregnant people, and kids of all ages.

More Toys for Kids

When it comes to toys for kids, our team has you covered. The Verywell Family team of editors (who are parents or have nieces and nephews of their own) have tested, gifted, and personally recommend every item we feature. Find more of our top toy picks for every developmental stage and personality phase here:

Updated by
Julia Fields
Julia Fields The Spruce

Julia is the Assistant Commerce Editor at The Spruce, covering all things toys, gifts, and holiday. She studied English and minored in Journalism and Gender and Sexuality Studies at New York University. 

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Stacy Fisher
Stacy Fisher, Writer

Stacy is an expert writer for The Spruce covering home DIY projects and crafts. She has over 18 years of journalistic experience, appearing as a DIY expert on the Dr. Oz Show and several radio shows. She has published hundreds of articles and co-authored a book.

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