With the advancements in technology that are happening constantly in our modern society, learning how to use different kinds of tech is an essential skill for everyone.
For the younger generation, learning how to create this technology is a skill that is sure to get them far in their adult lives, especially if you have kids who have an interest in computing, robotics, or just general technology.
Coding is part of the STEM learning framework- which stands for science, technology, engineering, and math- which focuses on educating kids in these particular subjects.
These subjects are the foundations of some of the fundamentals of life as we know it, so the importance of learning them cannot be understated.
Building on these STEM skills is not only educational, but they also make for excellent life lessons in general!
Coding is just one of the skills that come under the STEM framework, and it is a great place for kids to start when it comes to developing their STEM knowledge.
There are so many ways for kids to learn how to code, but one of the most engaging methods is the use of robots.
Robots are quite possibly one of the coolest things on the planet- to both kids and adults- so what better way to try and teach children a useful skill than by letting them code their very own bot buddy?
Coding robots integrate the basics of STEM principles in different ways.
Some have a do-it-yourself building kit that revolves around creating the robot yourself and then operating it via a code.
There are also ready-to-go robot kits that don’t need to be built but still need to be operated and interacted with through code.
Coding robots will function through the use of remote controls or via an app with specific software that allows the robot to be controlled by linking it up with its own server.
This link is the essential element of a coding robot, as without this strong communication link between the robot and the server- whether it is via remote programming or apps and software- it cannot be operated or used, making the coding elements of the toy become obsolete.
Now that you know a little more about how coding robots work, let’s take a look at eight specific examples of great coding robots that are sure to educate and entertain children of all ages!
OUR TOP PICK
Teach Tech offers a range of robotic kits that teach three particular STEM educational principles: mechanical robot engineering, the importance of green energy, and coding.
The Mech 5 robot is their educational coding bot, and it offers tons of fun on top of educational STEM-focused learning.
The Mech 5 is a bot that integrates entry-level STEM coding-which is accessible for kids with a recommended age of ten and up-via a system of missions and tasks.
These missions give kids a goal to work towards with regard to coding the robot appropriately so that it will perform the right tasks accordingly.
The Mech 5 first needs to be built, which adds another layer of education and entertainment.
The building process is sure to encourage learning how to follow clear and concise instructions- thanks to the make it yourself kit guide-, and aid with manual dexterity, hand-eye coordination, problem-solving, and fine motor skills.
When the Mech 5 has been assembled, it can then be coded via a coding wheel that allows you to change the robot’s movements at will by switching the various coding snap buttons.
The buttons all have different movements for the Mech 5 to perform, such as simple movements like moving backwards, forwards, and rotating 360 degrees but also more taxing motions such as kicking, throwing, lifting, and even drawing!
This also aids with creativity and individual thinking, as children can then decide on what their robot can do by switching out the coding buttons and creating their own sequences for their bot to follow.
The Teach Tech Mech 5 is a coding robot that offers a challenge whilst not being too hard for kids to get the hang of.
The DIY nature of the robot combined with the coding wheel- with interchangeable coding buttons- makes for a coding toy that is informative whilst never losing the fun factor.
The next coding robot comes in the form of a cute green car with a friendly smile and headlight eyes by the name of Q-Scout.
Q-Scout utilizes the basics of several coding programs to create a versatile robot that is not only fun to play with for kids (with a recommended age of eight and up), but also highly educational when it comes to coding and STEM learning in general.
This is another robot that needs to be assembled but again, it is easily able to be tackled by younger children and has plenty of educational benefits and entertainment value.
Although the main design of the kit is the green car, the robot can be turned into a wide variety of structures with the use of Robobloq expansion packages, which offer more opportunities for kids to build more complex robots.
Q-Scout is a robot that can easily be used by experienced programmers, newcomers, and kids with a keen interest in technology.
It uses three coding programs specifically to get its numerous features to work.
These programs are Scratch- a coding program frequently used by children to learn the basics of coding with the use of a drag and drop interface-; Arduino- a somewhat more abstract branch of the C++ programming language-, and the basics of one of the most well-known coding and programming languages, Python.
These languages are integrated into the robot in two different ways.
The simple Scratch coding program is utilized via the Robobloq App (which is accessible via Android and iOS), whilst the more complicated Python and Arduino can be accessed through the PC via the MyQode software (compatible with macOS, Windows, and Chrome OS).
This allows for different levels of learning with different programming languages across various software programs, letting kids work at their own pace and advance to the next level languages- that being Python and Arduino- at their own pace once they feel they have mastered the Scratch coding.
The Scratch coding program- which is, more specifically, the Scratch Jr program designed with young beginners in mind- can be used anytime and anywhere as it can connect to Q-Scout with a Bluetooth connection.
The MyQode software- which can be used for Python and Arduino but also Scratch as well, all of which the user can easily switch between- offers a wider variety of coding activities such as animation, painting characters, different kinds of coding-related games, and more.
There is something for everyone when it comes to learning to code in a fun way thanks to the Robobloq app and the MyQode software.
The Q-Scout robot has a wealth of features that are available via coding thanks to the numerous sensors and electronic modules that it has.
It can be remotely controlled with the Robobloq app, but there are other ways to get Q-Scout to move.
The bot features line tracking technology, which lets the user build and customize their own path for the Q-Scout to follow.
Simply draw out a path with black lines or create one with black tape and the bot will follow them!
This is an element that incites creativity as well as logical skills, as kids can be encouraged to let their imagination dictate the path that they want to create for Q-Scout.
The robot also has light effects that be coded with regard to the user’s desires.
Choose from red or blue lights as well as short-term or long-term lighting through coding and the Q-Scout will act accordingly with regard to your programming.
You can also use the bot to play music, either selecting from a song in Q-Scout’s music library or even learning some basic musical notes yourself within the Robobloq app and getting the robot to play them.
There is tons of fun to be had with Q-Scout that not only educates on the various elements of STEM-based learning but is also an entertaining and creative outlet for children of all ages.
This little robot may not seem as visually interesting as some of the other robots on this list- due to the fact that it is a ball rather than what you might imagine when someone says the word robot- but this doesn’t make it any less impressive or any less fun or educational as a STEM toy that teaches kids to code.
The Sphero Mini is around the same size as a ping pong ball and so, unsurprisingly, the suggested age range is ages eight and up as it could end up as a choking hazard for little ones.
Don’t underestimate the Sphero Mini as, despite this small stature, it is an incredibly powerful robotic ball that features LED lights (which can glow in a wide array of colors), an accelerometer, and a gyroscope to allow the user to control the ball as well as play games with it via the coding system on the free Sphero EDU app.
The app has a block-based coding drag and drop coding method- similar to the Scratch and Scratch Jr coding program we discussed earlier- that lets kids move blocks around with the app to control and drive the ball accordingly.
The Sphero Mini comes with six mini bowling pins and three mini traffic cones, which you can then use with the driving function of the Mini to create your own games that can be played via another app that Sphero offers: the Sphero Play app.
Try to steer the ball around the cones or get a strike with the pins!
The Sphero Play app also offers various other arcade-style mini-games that kids can play by using the Mini s a controller, such as smashing brick polygons or flying through space.
The Sphero has a downloadable learning guide so that teaches everything that you need to know that can be read at your own pace, as well as a plastic shell that can open up to find the charging port. With something for every kind of learner, the Sphero Mini is a tool that is sure to bring fun and new skills to kids (and adults too!).
This next coding robot is designed for slightly younger kids- between the ages of six and eleven- and its design reflects this nature.
The bot- whose name is Dash- has a cute look thanks to the bright blue and orange color palette and its rounded look.
Dash can help younger children learn how to code in a simple and understandable way, making this bot a great stepping stone for kids who show an interest in STEM-based learning.
Dash can be utilized in a wide variety of ways. It can understand and acknowledge voice commands, but it also responds to the five free apps that come with it.
These apps are as follows: Wonder, Go, Blockly, Path, and Class Connect. Let’s go through each of these apps to see how they can change the experience of using this particular coding robot.
The Wonder app focuses on learning picture-based coding so that kids can create their own, detailed behaviors for Dash.
This is a great way to inspire creativity through the use of coding. The Go app is more focused on the movement of Dash as well as the sound and light elements.
Go is going to be the first app that you will want to get hands-on with, as it lets the user get to know everything about what Dash is able to do.
Blockly is a little more advanced with the coding concepts that it introduces, but it displays them in an accessible format for kids, such as via puzzles and fun projects.
Blockly is not just an app for this particular coding robot. Instead, it is a library for building block programming apps, which are a fantastic way for kids to begin their first steps into the world of coding thanks to its simplicity and relative ease.
The Path app is another that would be a good starting point for coding beginners, as it teaches kids the basic fundamentals of both robotics and coding in a way that even toddlers who cannot yet read would be able to understand.
The final app- Class Connect- differs from the others in that it offers various features for parents, students, and teachers rather than just focusing on the robot itself.
Class Connect offers three features in particular: a 3-D world that lets kids control Dash virtually- aptly named Dash’s Neighborhood; student profile management (these profiles can be created in the Blockly App) within a classroom environment and activities that can be assigned and tracked by teachers via progress dashboards.
To access all the features, you’ll need to subscribe to the app as Class Connect is a subscription service, but there is so much variety to be had in terms of education (both at home and at school) as well as entertainment value.
Class Connect is constantly adding new material too, making Dash a coding robot that has tons of fresh, innovative content available when it comes to fun, STEM-based learning.
Artie 3000 is a coding robot that not only implements the STEM learning processes, but also the STEAM processes (which is the same as STEM but the A stands for art, therefore including artistic learning within this framework as well).
This is because of his amazing ability to draw! Artie will draw based on the code that is designed for him, which is sure to keep kids of all ages entertained for hours on end.
Artie comes with various pre-programmed designs so that even if you have no prior coding experience, you can jump right in and get started.
These designs include shapes and games that can be mixed, matched, and experimented with, and they are all pre-coded for maximum ease and efficiency so that you can start using Artie immediately.
You design with a computer or tablet, and Artie draws! It is as simple as that.
There are tons more designs via different codes on offers on the website for Artie, so make sure to go online and find them if you want some different options.
He also has a quick and easy setup process thanks to his QuickStart guide, which features frequently asked questions and step-by-instruction cards.
In terms of coding, the Artie 3000 allows you to get a taste of programming and coding on a basic level, but there is the opportunity to go more in-depth with the subject if you so choose.
Artie 3000 also comes equipped with a built-in Wi-Fi server, which ensures a one-to-one secure connection that won’t hold onto your personal information or data.
Artie may seem like a completely modern bot, but he is also a simple toy at heart, needing four AA batteries to run (which are not included).
All you will need to get Artie to start drawing is a tablet, phone, or computer, making Artie super simple and efficient!
Artie is a great example of infusing creativity and art into the standard STEM learning frame and would be a brilliant option for kids who love drawing, art, and creative endeavors to get some working knowledge of coding.
We’ve mentioned a lot of coding robots that are great for children of around eight years old and older but this time, we have got a robot kit that is aimed at kids starting from four.
The Thames & Kosmos Kids First Coding & Robotics kit is an excellent way to introduce little ones to the fundamentals of coding and robotics whilst being suitable and fun for the younger age group.
Thanks to the inclusion of a sixty-four-page, step-by-step, fully colored, story book-styled manual that comes with this kit, kids will be able to build various models and robots, including Sammy the adorable bread-shaped mini robot!
As well as Sammy, kids will also be able to make a mouse, a fire truck, a factory robot, a penguin, and a soccer player, all of which use the same base for the robotic unit within the small models.
The manual itself features six different storylines that each of the models can become a part of, each with its own coding lessons and building exercises.
The model includes “Foodville”- a food-based model (as the name suggests) where Sammy the bread bot resides, a soccer field, a fire rescue situation, a factory, and more.
One of the unique features of this particular coding robot/ coding robotics kit is that it does not require any electronics.
No apps, no software, no smartphones, tablets, or computers! Instead, the coding is done via “code cards.” These cards represent a piece of code or certain functions that coding can perform.
These will tell the robot models what to do and where to go, with the actions that the robot models can perform ranging from moving in a certain direction or playing a specific sound.
The coding program is created by placing a series of these cards in a certain order and making the robot model move over them.
Each robot has a small, OID sensor on the bottom of the base and this sensor will scan the cards and recognize the small, almost invisible pattern of dots that are printed onto the code cards.
The robot models will then record the sequences that they learn via the dotted patterns.
As well as the coding cards, the robots can also pick up on the details of the map cards that come with the kit via an optical scanner.
This allows the bot to understand and know its surroundings and orient itself accordingly.
It also allows it to interact with the machines and creations that can be built, as well as interact with other objects in general too.
There are thirty-eight map cards that can be changed around to create programs that get more complex as you learn!
Once you have got the hang of the coding cards and the map cards, all you need to do to complete the set is put the map cards together with the code cards (they should all fit together similarly to that of a jigsaw) and your robot will perform your program!
As well as this code and map card combination, there is also a bonus math mode to aid little ones with developing their STEM skills.
This mode provides simple math lessons that relate to coding, such as algorithms and variables, to name a few.
To activate the math mode, all you need to do is switch the robotic base of the chosen robot model and use the math mode base.
You can code it in the same way- via the map and code cards- but this time, the goal will be to solve certain mathematical problems.
The Kids First Coding and Robotics set is a unique take on the standard coding robot formula that not only allows younger children to learn the basics of coding in an accessible way, but also teaches some robotic fundamentals too.
It is also a highly accessible kit in general and is sure to entertain and educate children of any and all ages.
Botley the Robot is another screen-free coding robot that gives kids the opportunity to learn fundamental coding skills without the need for apps or software.
Botley has a simple yet adorable design that is sure to appeal to kids thanks to its two wheels, attachable arms/claws, and rounded eyes.
He is a coding robot that can also be used for younger kids, with a recommended age of around five to eight years old.
Botley has a remote programmer that allows him to be completely screen-free, so there is no need to download any apps, use any computers, phones, or tablets to use it.
It also means that Botley is ready to go straight out of the box, which is great for kids that might be a little impatient when it comes to new toys!
As long as you have five AAA batteries and a Phillips screwdriver nearby, you will be able to jump straight in with Botley and start coding immediately.
This quick and easy process is an excellent feature that makes sure kids stay interested and engaged.
This particular coding bot has seventy-seven pieces included, which include the aforementioned remote programmer, twenty-seven pieces to build obstacles, forty coding cards, six double-sided tiles, and an informative starter guide that includes some coding challenges that both kids and adults can take part in.
With the remote programmer, you can get Botley to perform several commands, such as following lines by switching to the black-line follow mode and utilizing the corresponding black line tiles.
You can even draw the black lines yourself and watch him follow!
Botley can also detect objects using smart logic, moving around them if they are in the way. He can also follow programmed looping commands.
Botley is a fantastic coding robot to get younger kids into coding, but he also is sure to inspire creativity with the way in which kids can customize his behavior via his remote programming.
The Code & Go Mouse Robot is another coding bot that is aimed at younger ages, with kids as young as four recommended.
The adorable mouse-like robot is sure to attract tons of attention from kids due to its inherent cuteness, but it is also another wonderful option when it comes to getting little ones interested in STEM activities and start building those all-important skills from a young age.
Some of the skills that can be built with the Code & Go Robot Mouse include problem-solving, critical thinking, and- of course- coding.
The cute mouse- who goes by the name Colby- is another robot who doesn’t need any kind of software to function, so there are no apps and no screens to complicate the fun.
Much like the coding kit we mentioned before, Colby uses a series of coding cards that can be organized and placed according to the user’s chosen movement for the mouse.
Just order the cards into your programmable sequence and watch Colby perform it! This set also includes a buildable maze that you can guide Colby through via the code cards.
There are twenty-two maze walls, three tunnels, and sixteen maze grids included, as well as thirty double-sided coding cards, ten double-sided activity cards, and an activity guide to steer kids through the process in an understandable and accessible way.
Colby also comes with a cheese wedge so that you can reward him for his efforts!
Colby is sure to be an eye-catching toy for kids thanks to his bright lights and interesting sounds. He also has two speeds that can be adjusted accordingly.
Colby and the Code & Go Activity Set are a great way to get younger kids interested in coding and STEM-related activities whilst having fun at the same time.