1. An Educational Insights "Design & Drill" robot take-apart toy to teach kids all about the "nuts and bolts" of using a screwdriver and building a bot. Just watch those fine motor skills start to grow!
For ages 3+
Promising review: "Very active, almost 4-year-old grandson loves this robot. No buttons, no sound, no lights, no bells or whistles. Just a fun, 'use your imagination' toy. Chunky plastic screwdriver, perfect for small hands, and lots of colored 'screws' to change face, arms, and legs of the robot. Stickers may need to be applied by adult for younger children. Great value and very sturdy." —BJ
Get it from Amazon for $12.59+ (available in two colors)
2. A super durable, easy-to-use set of 26 alphabet robots toys that, you guessed it, change from individual letters into colorful little bots, which in turn can combine into three bigger robots!
For ages 3+
I give this set of alphabet robots (alphabots?) one of my highest recommendations! A+! At a little over a buck a bot, they're kind of a steal! Whoever thought of turning letters into little robots is a genius but what's even more impressive is that the little bots can then combine into three different bigger robots! I introduced these to my 3-year-old son by playing a game where I ask: "Can you tell me three things that start with the letter A?" So every couple of days we'll play this word game and I'll hide one of the alphabots next to something that starts with its particular letter. It's been a hit and he loves lining up his letters on his windowsill before he goes to sleep every night!
Promising review: "Our boys first encountered these alphabet Transformers at their cousins' house and they loved them. We gifted them for Christmas and our boys loved them again. It's super-clever how each letter transforms in its own way. These are an awesome gift for preschoolers, and adults will likely find themselves fidgeting with them as well. (I can't keep my hands off them.)" —Dangerouso
Get it from Amazon for $35.97
3. A Transformers Optimus Prime converting remote control vehicle with lights, sounds, and the iconic voice of the Autobot leader itself. Drive the big rig like any RC toy and move the big bot in 360-degrees so you can actually "Transform and roll out!"
For ages 3+
I couldn't be more excited about giving this to my 3-year-old son for the holidays this year. I've seen it in action and it is awesome! It even makes the transformation noise (so you don't have to!). Hoping this will be a gateway (or maybe a space bridge) into the world of Transformers and a whole lot of fun.
Promising review: "I wish I had this back in 1984! Very good quality. Kids are enjoying it. Multiple sounds and RC function is outstanding. Highly recommended. As with all RC toys we buy, I got the 2-year protection plan. I also bought an extra one as collectors item!" —Boeing787x
Get it from Target for $68.99
4. A Transformers "Smash Changer" Optimus Prime, which converts from truck to robot with a push of a button and two "smashing" movements. Changes back to a truck in 11 steps. Definitely "more than meets the eye" here.
For ages 6+
Parents, these are not the Transformers toys of your youth. They don't quite present the same puzzle-solving challenge but they are just as fun. And quite honestly, their pose-ability and playability is far Superion, um, sorry superior. Great intro for kids to the toy line and characters and can taking a bit of a beating (or, more acurately, a smashing).
Promising review: "Easy to play with and loved making the different things with no messy blocks everywhere." —Roseann
Get it from Amazon for $22.99
5. A 35-piece magnetic robot blocks set for building five little planet-named bots or an even bigger super bot all the while helping kids to build their storytelling, design, and motor skills. Plus that magnetic snapping sound is oh-so-satisfying!
For ages 3+
Promising review: "I bought these for my little grandson and he carries them everywhere he goes. He loves them and plays with them constantly. He is very active and I bought these to help his very busy mother to keep him occupied so she can finish her work and have a moments peace. They work. He definitely has a huge imagination but it needs to be stimulated almost constantly and this product is wonderful. I wish they would make a rocket ship set! I highly recommend this toy to anyone with an aged 3 to 6 year old. They are larger than you think, and unless they lose them, indestructible." —Jason
Get it from Amazon for $24.99
6. A Learning Resources Botley The Coding Robot 2.0 activity set because it's never too early to get the kids into coding. Botley can be programmed to follow a sequence of up to 150 steps including following plotted courses and avoiding obstacles. The best part, it's all screen-free!
For ages 5+
Promising review: "I purchased this toy for my daughter who just turned 5. She absolutely loves playing with Botley and the coding is very straightforward and easy for her to understand. She loves that she is able to program different codes to turn Botley into a frog, train, ghost, and more. I love that she is able to learn how to program things in a sequence and use if/then logic when playing. This is a great toy for children who love to learn about technology, and I love that it's a screen-free activity that encourages children to use their thinking cap and imagination during playtime!" —Southern Made Simple
Get it from Amazon for $53.18.
7. A super colorful (and original) Educational Insights Robot Face Race matching game requiring players to scan the board for the robot head with the correct colored face, nose, eyes, and mouth. Teaches visual discernment, which is an important "key pre-reading skill."
For ages 4+
Promising review: "Oh the fun we have had playing this game. Plenty of combination faces to keep this game fresh every time. The key to the game is to beat your opponent by finding the robot face that matches the combination generated by the dice insides shaker. Each shake provides a different combo. I bought this for my 8-year-old, who is autistic, and it can get a little challenging to find the right robot face, but it's a good type and the right mix to encourage him to keep going, and not give up. I love playing it (49), my older son (11) loves playing it. It does make for a fast paced, laugh out loud, fun family game night. If you're on the fence, just buy it! Fast set up, super easy to learn, shake the face generator, and you're off to the robot face race!" —Tamara Dyan
Get it from Amazon for $15.50
8. A 12-in-1 solar robot toy kit for the kids to learn a little bit about renewable energy while building constructing bots that move on land (buggy, turtle, zombie!) and water (rower or surfer). The best part? No batteries necessary. Thanks, sun!
For ages 8+
Promising review: "I had to work on this together with my son because some steps are difficult for a kid. But the instructions in the manual are nice and clear, which makes the task easier. We have together joined the pieces and made it into the Wall-E type character so far, and my son has a blast with it. He's already inquisitive about what other things he can make out of this. This is my son's first solar powered toy, so seeing him understand the concepts of solar energy transform into kinetic, robotics, assembling things together is rewarding." —David Boido
Get it from Amazon for $19.98
9. A The OffBits "StationBit" set with over 200 real metal nuts, bolts, springs, connectors (as well as stickers) that emphasizes "the art of spare parts" when it comes to building new and unique little robot buddies.
For ages 8+
So I didn't get to test this out with my kids (still too young, too many little parts) but I sure had a good time building these light blue colored bots myself. There's just something about scrappy (scrap part) robots that make it more fun, and, well less robotic by injecting a little more personality. The box also turns into a "play area" for more imaginary missions and then converts back for storage (always a bonus). And, best of all, you can combine different OffBits kits to make bigger and better creations!
Shipping info: All orders processed within 1-2 business days. Delivery time within the U.S. is 3-7 business days for Standard shipping.
Get it from OffBits for $59.95.
10. A Learning Resources "1-2-3 Build It!" robot factory so toddlers can start on those early STEM skills, especially getting those chubby mitts to develop some fine motor skills while building their first robotic creations.
For ages 2+
Note: From now until Dec. 14, 2022 for every Learning Resources toy that is purchased from Amazon, Target, or Walmart, in stores and online, the company will donate an educational toy or resource to families that need a helping hand this holiday season.
Promising review: "My 2-year-old nephew loved this gift. The pieces are large but fit securely together. And once together it can take a bit of abuse. He was rolling it all over the floor and into things. And the rearrangement ability of the pieces makes it a new robot when you change them around. Great learning toy and so much better for them than looking at a screen." —BB-O-Matic
Get it from Amazon for $20.99
11. An Educational Insights Artie 3000 coding and drawing robot that teaches future computer engineers to write their own code (after practicing with pre-programmed designs) while getting this little bot to draw works of art on paper. Ohhhh, so that's why it's called Artie!
For ages 7+
Promising review: "From first opening the box, this is a great experience! Artie is super cute, and the packaging and support materials are high quality and good looking. The Quick Start guide is handy, and the numbered lessons are guiding us to what we can do and how to make the magic happen. It really does seem magical to be using this drag and drop code, and then watching our little robot follow our instructions to draw on paper right in front of our eyes. It’s like the code comes to life! The lessons are set up from easy to more advanced, so even if you don’t know how to code, it’s a great way to learn. It was really easy to follow the directions, and the pre-set projects were really cool too! Those don’t even take any coding – they’re just selected from a pull-down menu, press go and watch Artie draw. These inspired us to try even more advanced moves. I highly recommend the Artie 3000 for curious kids who want some real fun, real world experience with coding." —Koo
Get it from Amazon for $48.99.
12. A set of three fidget spinner robot toys because whether those hands are idle or busy, big or small, these stackable bots with movable joints will keep them calm, occupied, and entertained.
For ages 3+
Promising review: "My 6-year-old son has ADHD so anything I can put in his hands to keep them busy and productive versus destructive is good in my book and these totally do that! He can play with them individually or all three at once and has been pretty darn creative. He loves them and when he's happy I'm happy! They've survived falls out our truck and off the kitchen table with no issues." —jules g
Get it from Amazon for $7.99
13. A voice and remote controlled robot dog, which might just be the answer to constant questioning barrage of "Can we have a puppy?" No training necessary, this robo-pup follows commands, dances, sings, and even imitates other animals.
For ages 3+
Promising review: "The body movements, the acrobatics and the lively sounds fascinate my 8-year-old grandson who got this for his birthday. He and his siblings just love it and keep fighting for the remote! I am specially glad that it is so sturdy that it seems unbreakable. The joy this toy gives the kids is worth much more than the price!" —Syed
Get it from Amazon for $54.99