Best Robot Toys for Kids – 2016

Kids of all ages love robotic toys.  They are interactive and they are instructive.  And they are just plain fun.   In the 2 years this site has been active we have seen a great interest in interactive, remote control, and robotic toys.  There is no reason to believe that these toys will not continue to grow in popularity in years to come.

Here is our selection for the Best Robot Toys of 2016!

Sphero BB-8 Droid

BB-8 Droid

BB-8 Droid

We have previously highlighted the Sphero remote control ball. Now there an ultra-cool version of this toy, now with a Star Wars angle. It’s the BB-8 Remote Control Droid by Sphero. This new generation of a very popular remote-control toy is much more interactive than it was before, and that’s what makes it so great. It is a bit pricey, but if you are the kind of person that just needs to have the coolest Star Wars toys then this is for you.

bb8-sphero-2

The BB-8 Droid rolls around the floor, controlled by an app on your smart device. But beyond that this toy also recognizes and reacts to your voice, and also records holographic video for you. It has an autonomous mode in which it will explore its environment. You can even say that it has an adaptive personality – its attitudes and actions evolve as you interact with it.

Recommended - 8 and upbuy-amazon-button

Cozmo – Robot with a Personality

Cozmo Robot

Cozmo Robot

Cozmo promises to be a very hot robot toy in 2016.  It was released in October 2016, and since that time it has become a fast-seller.

Cozmo is a game-playing robot with a personality that evolves the more you play with it.  Cozmo expresses real emotions in response to your actions.  And as you continue to play you get to unlock additional games and upgrades.

To see videos and additional information about this really cool robot click through to the Cozmo Amazon page and check it out.

Recommended - 8 and upbuy-amazon-button

WowWee MiP Robot

WowWee MiP Balancing Robot

WowWee MiP Balancing Robot

The MiP Balancing Robot is a very, very cool new toy.  It has technology (called GestureSense technology) that allows any hand motion to control it. Also by using its free app you can drive it, play games & more all while MiP balances on two wheels!  The MiP robot responds to motions, be it your hand or an object.  It reacts to your actions, for example if you show it some praise, and MiP will be your new best friend, but push it down, and you’re in for an angry robot.

Recommended - 8 and upbuy-amazon-button

Bristlebots

Bristlebot

Bristlebots are small robots that are fun and easy to build.  Once built and operational they buzz along a flat surface like little mechanical bugs. Explore hands-on physics and engineer your concepts and ideas into a real robot.  Bristlebots are highly customizable – build one robot, take it apart, and build another.  Be ready for hours of fun with these little guys.

Recommended - 8 and upbuy-amazon-button

Meccanoid G15

Meccanoid G15

Meccanoid G15

The Meccano Meccanoid G15 is the 2016 Innovative Toy Of The Year.  This robot comes with over one thousand phrases and as well as voice recognition to make your personal robot more like your friend.  You get to build, program, and play with this fully-operational 2-foot tall android.  It comes with an app that runs on Android and iOS.

Recommended - 8 and upbuy-amazon-button

If you’re looking for something even bigger, and with more functions, check out the Meccano Meccanoid G15 KS – Personal Robot.   It’s more money, but it might just be worth it.

Ozobot 2.0

Ozobot 2.0

Also … Check out our write-up of the Ozobot 2.0 – the small programmable robot for kids.


 

Disclaimer: This post may contain Affiliate links. Prices may change at any time. Do your own research before purchasing.

Great Gifts for Teens and Tweens

Let’s face it – little kids are pretty easy to buy gifts for.  There is a wide range of games, toys, clothes, etc, to choose from.  You would be hard-pressed to really struggle buying a toy for a 3-year old or a 5-year old.  I think this is because they are willing to try lots of different things – even if the gift quickly ends up in the dust-heap of unplayed-with toys.

razor_scooter-2But teens and tweens – that’s a different story altogether.  Many kids of this age are into very specific things, and if they receive a gift that doesn’t fit their expectations you will know about it very quickly (unless the recipient is especially polite).

So what makes a good tween gift or teenager gift.  We’re not talking toys here – let’s not even go there.  We’re talking gifts that can be bought with little pre-knowledge of what the particular kid is interested in.  How do we do this?  We think about what most kids in the 10-15 year old range are interested, to one degree or another:  Socializing with friends, experimenting with exciting challenges, and for many kids digging deeper into math and science.

So let’s take a stab at some great gift ideas for kids in approximately the 10-15 year old range.

Social Games – For Parties or Just Hanging Out

Codename

Codename

The game Codenames is a highly rated game for ages 14 and up.  Each game is fairly short – only about 15 minutes – so it won’t drag a simple get-together into a marathon gaming night.

Codenames is a wordplay game which involves attempting to identify the codenames of up to 25 secret agents through a process of guessing and strategy.  You can play individually or in teams (for a more lively game).

amazon-shopnow


 

Carcassonne

Carcassonne

Carcassonne is a tile-laying game that will take a little more time to play than the previous one.  The players develop an area around the French city of Carcassonne and deploy their followers on the roads, in the cities, and in the fields.  The most skillful player to develop the area will become victorious.

This game is officially rated for ages 8-15 years of age, but it can be fun for the whole family young and old alike.

amazon-shopnow


Getting Adventurous

UDI 818A Quadcopter + HD Camera

UDI 818A Quadcopter + HD Camera

This version of the UDI 818A Quadcopter is pretty sweet.  First of all it is based on the very popular 818A base model that we found was very popular in 2015.  But now there are a few additions that we think make this a very attractive entry-level quadcopter.

The HD camera is the main feature.  It has a 2 mega-pixel camera which can take high-res pictures and video during flight.

The Return Home function lets you command your drone to return to you with the push of a button.  No more lost drones (well, maybe fewer lost drones).

818a_drone_hd-2

This model has 6-axis gyro stability which is great in windy conditions and also makes it easily maneuverable for stunts.  Also has 2 batteries to double flight time and a 2200 mAh power bank to let you charge on the go.

As always with drones, they are somewhat breakable and prone to being lost.  This model has fairly good blade protection so you won’t be replacing blades every time it crashes.  But be aware that your drone will only last as long as you are able to keep it one piece.  (replacement parts are available though)

amazon-shopnow


 

razor_scooter

Electric Razor Scooter

The E100 Electric Scooter from Razor is a really fun scooter to use.  Razor has been making scooters for many years and their electric scooters are very popular.  As with any scooter there is an element of risk – riding the scooter on bumpy roads or sidewalks, or riding into traffic are sure-fire ways to get yourself injured or worse.  So safety precautions must be taken when riding this scooter.

The motor is high-torque, and the battery is a long-lasting 24V unit.The scooter can reach speeds of 10 MPH.  The recharge time is about 12 hours, and the ride time is about 40 minutes of continuous use.

(Don’t forget the safety helmet and even knee and elbow pads for the younger ones)

Check out all of the feature of this highly-rated scooter on Amazon.

Getting all Science-y

First Microscope

First Microscope

Calling all future biologists!! The My First Lab Duo-Scope Microscope features three magnifications: 40x, 100x, and 400x.  The optics are real glass (not plastic), and there is a 50-piece accessory kit.  This is a real biological microscope – not just some toy.  It can be used just for fun or for running real biological experiments.

This item is rated for ages 9-18 years.

amazon-shopnow

 

Disclaimer: This post may contain Affiliate links. Prices may change at any time. Do your own research before purchasing.

Gifts for Teens: Bluetooth Speakers

JBL Splashproof Speaker

We all know that teens are not interested in Barbie dolls and Hot Wheel, but one thing that most teens have in common are their interest in music.  In this article we delve a little bit into the world of Bluetooth speakers.  Most people are familiar with Bluetooth – the short-range radio signalling protocol that allows personal devices to communication and transmit data and especially audio.

People don’t carry boomboxes that play cassette tapes or even CDs any more.  They play their music through their smart devices and audio players either from digital music files or through online services such as Pandora and Spotify.

First of all let’s be clear that this is not a hands-on review, and by no means are we researching every Bluetooth speaker on the market.  There are probably 100 or more such devices for sale, so we are limiting ourselves to the ones that have the highest user reviews on sites like Amazon.com.

So let’s first go over some of the features that you should look for in a Bluetooth speaker:

  • Sound Quality – Cheaper uits typically have worse quality, but there are exceptions
  • Loudness – If you are using the speaker outdoors you may want a louder unit.
  • Battery Life – Important for portable speakers used on the go.
  • Size and Weight – Smaller is better for carrying and portability.
  • Water resistance – Needed if you use the speakers out in the wilderness.
  • Other Features – Additional connections, sound adjustments, etc.

We’ll touch on some of these qualities as we describe the handful of speakers mentioned in this article.

In addition to features you can also take into account the brand name of the speaker.  Some name brands will grab your attention: Bose, JBL, Logitech, and Anker.  And of course Amazon Basics is another common brand found on Amazon.com.  But remember that brand names usually command higher price tags, often warranted by the product, but you can also find satisfactory products from lesser-known brands.

Finally, before we get to the good stuff, since this is an article is geared towards gifts for teenagers we are limiting our article to speakers under $100.

Now let’s get to it …

Oontz Curve – Bluetooth Speaker

Oontz Curve Speaker

Oontz Curve Speaker

The Oontz Curve Bluetooth speaker is a good basic speaker at an affordable price  It has over 2000 reviews on Amazon and they are mostly very positive, with many mentioning the good quality sound that this speaker puts out.  It can run for 5 hours on a single charge of its lithium ion battery.  This speaker is actually small enough that you can fit it in the cupholder of your car.

This model comes in may different colors and can typically found in the $20-$30 range.  We think this is a good choice for an entry-level Bluetooth speaker.

JBL Flip 3 Splashproof Bluetooth Speaker

JBL Splashproof Speaker

JBL Splashproof Speaker

The JBL Flip 3 Splashproof Bluetooth speaker is a step up from the plethora of budget and entry level models.  It sells in the $80-$100 range, although prices can vary over time.  The main feature of this unit is that it has very good water protection.  It is splash and rain proof, and you can even clean it under running water.

One thing that we like is that it can operate as a speakerphone for your smartphone.  When your phone rings while playing music you can simply press a button to receive the call through the speaker.

This JBL unit puts out some really good sound, especially the bass.  The battery is very good – providing up to 10 hours of playtime on a single charge.  The speaker comes in multiple colors.

Anker Soundcore Bluetooth Speaker

Anker Bluetooth Speaker

Anker Bluetooth Speaker

The Anker Soundcore Bluetooth Speaker is a very capable unit that delivers a very long playtime (up to 24 hours on a single charge) as well as a long Bluetooth range (66 ft).  The pricing is pretty much in between the previous two units in this article, so it will certainly not break your budget.

The size and weight make this a very portable unit, but it is designed by Anker to produce a very good quality sound including bass.

And finally, this product has an incredible 18-month warranty.  This is the icing on the cake for us – the risk/reward for the price is hard to beat.

Disclaimer: This post may contain Affiliate links. Prices may change at any time. Do your own research before purchasing.