Best smart toys for kids: Top connected toys for kids to learn from and play with

Playtime is an essential part of the child growth and development. Play helps children to use creativity to develop their imagination and dexterity, and it also contributes to the physical, cognitive, and emotional well-being of children.

Kids will naturally be spending a good portion of their time playing. There’s no running away from it. Since forever, toys have been the best choice of gaming for the kids. Now toys compete against video games for the love of children, and both of them contribute to development in children and education. When playing with toys, the children tend to be more physically active and getting smart gadgets for the younger ones will improve them mentally and physically.

Is not that difficult to answer the question of “what are the best toys for kids?” Obviously, robotic toys. The younger ones love to play with nothing as much as they want robotics and some of those robots for kids will find their place on this listing. Noticeably, only those that entertain and help children to learn and guide them to understand what they’re passionate about.

From app-controlled lego kits to Star Wars-inspired Sphero bots, circuit maze smart boards, a cardboard that lets the kids’ mix music, drones, kids activity trackers and other wearable techs for kids, these are the best toys any child can have.

Sphero R2 D2

Sphero R2 D2 droid

Previously known as Orbotix, Sphero is a well-known designer and manufacturer of connected toys, amongst them, the spherical Star Wars-inspired being the most popular toys. The Sphero R2-D2 is a small Astromech droid in the Rebel Alliance known for his loyalty and starship mechanic skills.

The trusty Artoo has functional front and rear LED lights and features authentic moves of the star wars character that include bipod and tripod stances and waddles. The robot connects to mobile phones via the Sphero Star Wars app, and it interacts with other app-connected Sphero robots. The integrated speaker on the RC robot will make noises as kids play with it.

Something sensational this toy robot can do for the kids is its feature to allow exploration of the Star Wars galaxy via the holographic stimulator. It enables the children to zoom in and out through the locations found in the Star Wars, and the toy will follow your phone movement. Kids can draw lines on the map and Artoo will move around imitating those very same commands.

Children can learn how to code by installing the Sphero Edu app on their kid’s smartphone to create personalized commands and drive routes for their Sphero toys.

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LittleBits Star Wars droid inventor kit

LittleBits Star Wars droid inventor kit

Star Wars droid inventor kit by LittleBits allows the younger ones to create their favorite Star Wars droid characters by sticking together over than thirty different electronic droid blocks. They can combine these droid parts to rebuild a droid from the Star Wars or build personal robots that look like no other. They can play with colors and shapes as much as they want. All the robots kids create will be turned into thoroughly functional connected toys.

This set of droid creation kits is superb for teaching to kids how to code while they play. The children can enter their personal droid coding commands. By default, the toy can spin its head at 360-degree like in the movies.  It comes pre-configured it for self-navigation, the device is smart enough to avoid crashing into obstacles and can be trained to avoid them even better. It can be made to follow drawn routes, and can also recognize hand waves and be commanded by a moving hand just like a Jedi controls the droids via the Force in the movies.

The LittleBits package comes with 22 different missions for the children to code. At the end of every playtime, the kids will be happy and will have learned new coding skills. How the robot will look like and what will it be capable of doing is always up to the imagination of a child.

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Merge Cube

Merge Cube holographic toy

Merge Cube is the world’s first holographic toy you can hold in the palm of your hand. It is designed and produced by Merge, a company that’s entirely invested in AR and VR technologies. The affordable Merge Holo Cube features unusual patterns on its outside design and has a soft spongy feeling when held. However, it unleashes the world of virtual reality once the device is viewed via a smartphone or via the company’s virtual reality goggles.

Juniors will assuredly love starring at this weird cube that instantly takes the shape of a human skull. It can also take forms of planets such as Earth or Mars and has embedded video games that can be played by rotating the cube with the hand. There even is an interstellar game where kiddies can shoot at other spaceships while exploring a different planet

What is the most bewildering thing about this award-winning AR toy for kids is that it costs less than $10. It is ridiculously inexpensive and remarkably fun to play with.

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Cozmo the Robot

Cozmo robot

Everybody loves Wall-E, the last robot left on Earth to deal with the toxic waste that thrives in the now-abandoned planet. The closest robot to match Wall-E in personality and intelligence your money can buy is beyond question Cozmo the Robot. Cozmo, a robot designed by Anki, one of the most innovative companies to deal with artificial intelligence and robotics.

Cosmo the Robot is not as massive as Wall-E, but it certainly is as intelligent as the character from the sci-fi film. Many characteristics make these two robots, the first being non-existent and the second a physical product you can buy, resemble one another. Cozmo is designed to understand the behavior patterns of its owner and partner in play, is capable of making decisions by analyzing the terrain where he’s at and has a mood of his own. Cozmo also loves animals and has two shining blue eyes on its cute face that display his mood. Cozmo is actually much prettier than Wall-E but as robust and hard-to-break as it.

Cozmo loves to play and explore. He likes flat indoor surfaces the most, and a table will do just great. Nothing to worry about having him falling off a table and breaking, Cozmo will not fall. Cozmo loves to have his cubes around the most, he likes to play and move them around and can find them on his own. He gets even charged by them, just shake one of the cubes that are telling the blue color and place it where Cozmo can see it, he’ll instantly drive himself toward it and start powering himself up.

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Circuit Maze board game

Circuit Maze Board Game for kids

The Circuit Maze board game for kids by Think Fun is excellent for the children that have an interest on how electronics work. This toy is pretty simple in design and feels like playing with Legos. The board includes a two-part power source, and cables that connect to the blocks and the goal is to arrange those blocks in a way that the three LED beacons will light up.

There are 60 different circuit-building challenges for the juveniles to arrange, ranging from beginner to expert. While moving from one challenge to another and getting a real understanding of what functions as an electric conductor and what not, the kids will be capable of building circuit blocks of their own that go beyond challenges they see on those competition cards. This logic board game also makes a great playtime alternative for the children that spend most of their time watching the screens.

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Aura Drone with glove controller

Aura Drone with Glove Controller

Drones are flying higher than ever before. Made by KD Interactive, the company behind the Kurio line of smartwatches for kids and other kid-friendly wearable devices, Aura unquestionably is a dream-drone of every teenager. What makes it so special and unique? You don’t need a remote joystick controller to pilot Aura Drone. As it can be piloted around with Aura’s unique glove controller. That’s right! With the glove controller on your hand and plainly waving your hand, you’ll fly this mini-drone all around the place.

The KD Interactive Aura Drone with glove controller support reads hand patterns and will go forward when you show to it the back of your hand, move backward when your hand raises and lean right and left when your hand moves to the respective sides. Safety features include automatic takeoff, hover, and landing, making it a suitable drone for kids. Piloting it feels natural and with some practice any child can make it flip, and do other tricks.

Drones range is limited to only twenty feet and it has sensors that forbid it to go further. The drone is designed to fly indoors and has limits on the height it can fly. With one hour of charging time, the children can play for up to seven minutes and experience mind-controlled flight just like in the movies.

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Kano Computer Kit


Kano Computer Kit Do-It-Yourself computer kit for kids

Kano Computer Kit is a do-it-yourself computer bundle for kids that will teach them how a computer is made and how to create applications and games of their own by simply following illustrated guides. The standard bundle includes a Rasberry Pi3 credit-card sized computer that plugs to a computer monitor with one gig of RAM that runs on Kano OS Lovelace 3.0, a mouse, a wireless keyboard, and HDMI cables. With the Kano Computer Kit Complete, you also get a 10.1-inch HD screen for your child to build a laptop of their own.

The do-it-yourself design and over than 150 hours of coding tutorials provided by Kano OS make this Rasberry Pi3-based kids computer one of the best educational toys for toddlers. The tutorials begin with basic JavaScript lines for basic website, game, and art creation and then proceed with Python codes for the younger ones to enter the world of web development.

The Kano kids computer bundle is great for children who have a passion for electronics and computers. It teaches them how physical components work in a computer device and the complicated software that makes them run. Kids can share their creations with the large Kano community and learn more tricks by interacting with other children that have the same passion as them.

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Sphero R2-Q5

Sphero R2-Q5 app-controlled droid robot

Star Wars Sphero droids are quite a few in numbers, the line of hero characters from the films now has a villain coming from a galaxy far, far away… The Astromech R2-Q5 is an imperial spy and mechanic, in terms of specs and features it has everything you can find on the R2-D2 droid.

The Sphero R2-Q5 toy robot interacts with other droids made by Sphero, has the same holographic simulation feature found on the D2 that allows exploration of the Star Wars galaxy when connected to a mobile phone, interacts when he sees you around, and also has an embedded speaker for more realistic playtime.

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SAM Labs Science Museum Inventor Kit

SAM Labs Science Museum Inventor Kit

The SAM labs intuitive introductory kit is appealing to the children because it teaches them coding and at the same time allows their physical kits involving Bluetooth-connected SAM blocks, motors, buzzers, light and tilt sensors to connect and interact with one another in the same way they appear interacting on the screen.

Each of the SAM blocks is an input and output wireless device that can be recharged. By making adjustments on the code via a tablet computer or a PC, kids can make robotic toys of their own and pre-load them with driving commands and routes. With the SAM kit kids can turn their old toys into mobile-controlled toys, a smart racing track, and make a morse code machine of their own. As the blocks interact with your computer, you can make it play music, make photos, and even tweet for you.

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Wonder Workshop Dash Robot Wonder Pack

Wonder Workshop Dash Robot

Dash is a compact robot for toddlers that can be customized and personalized with Lego blocks and can be remotely controlled via a smartphone. The Wonder Pack by Wonder Workshop, a firm that specializes in developing clever robotic toys, includes the Dash & Dot robots, four building brick connectors, a tow hook, a bulldozer bar, a launcher with three balls, and other fun gadgets such as ears, tail and other stuff that will make the children love playing with it.

Kids can play with Dash and Dot robots by turning them into a projectile fire machine that shoots accurately. They can throw a ball on a glass standing a couple of feet far from the robot by aiming at it via the mobile app and surprise everyone around.

Dash will also teach your toddler how to code and make it dance, turn it into a pet, make it follow routes and much more. With some accessories, Dash the robot can even become a musician and play any song your child might want to hear.

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Xiaomi Mi Robot Builder


Xiaomi MITU Mi Robot Builder

The Chinese phone maker Xiaomi is known for its series of high-end Mi phones that pack a punch for a budget. However, the company is not limited only to high-quality phones that sell cheap. It has designed and developed one of the best STEM robotic toys, the DIY MITU Mi robot builder. The MITU Mi robot can be created in different models and shapes due to its 978 self-balancing parts. The high-speed brushless motors with rotating speed up to 170rpm give it power and when in standing mode can carry a weight of up to three kilograms.

Kids can experiment with the robotic pieces and create droids that look exactly how they want them to look. Due to its mechanics that are based on self-balancing, the toy robot will always be functional. Besides being a do-it-yourself robot kit, the MITU Mi is also a code-it-yourself robot. There are two ways for the children to create custom commands and automation for the robot, the first way is the easiest and it involves dragging pre-written controls for the toy from the Mi Robot Builder app via a smartphone device and the second is to write the scrips from scratch by following a series of how-to coding tutorials.

This STEM robot is excellent for the children that get bored fast of their toys. Because, when they become bored with the Xiaomi robot, they can disassemble and recreate a new robot with its pieces.

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Sphero Mini

Sphero Mini tiny robot

Sphero Mini is one of the cutest tiny robots you could stumble upon. It isn’t a film’s character like other Star Wars-based Sphero robots that are now popular but certainly is the smartest ball-shaped toy robot you can find. The minuscule Sphero Mini has its entire tech hidden behind a simple ball-like design and it ships with some accessory companions such as six mini bowling pins and three mini traffic cones.

Despite being shaped like a ball, the mini-robot can be remotely controlled via a mobile phone and allows the children to code custom commands and routes for it. It moves relatively fast, and kids can play bowling with it to drop the pins by aiming at them through the phone, make it drive around by rotating the phone and make it follow pre-set paths and routes. Kids will love playing with this tiny robotic toy, and they can play for up to an hour with it with one single charge.

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VTech Kidizoom DX2

VTech Kidzoom DX2 Smartwatch for kids

The Vtech Kidizoom DX2 thrives as a top-choice smart watch for kids. This wearable tech for kids features a dual camera setup for the children to have their own gallery of photos and videos and has a gaming environment of its own.

Regarding playtime, the watch makes use of the camera to create a virtual reality area surrounding it for the kids to catch monsters that appear to be real. There are a bunch of other strategy and logic games for the children to challenge themselves and friends. The Kidizoom DX even has a game that will reward the kids when they make ridiculous face postures. This is a kid’s toy that won’t make your child become bored of it.

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Primo Cubetto Playset Coding Toy

Primo Cubetto Playset Coding Toy for kids

The Primo Cubetto is a robots playset that teaches kids how to build a robot of their own and how to make it follow commands without the need for a smartphone or a tablet for kids. The lack of a compulsory connection to a phone makes this a suitable toy for boys and girls as young as age three. Any child can easily understand how the Cubetto robot works and will be capable of make it follow the routes your child wants throughout different maps.

The robotic setup with the Primo smart toy setup is straightforward. The kids are given the Cubetto toy robot, which is a cubic-shaped robot with wheels and woody material, sixteen wireless coding blocks that point directions, and a cardboard with a series of directions. The way it works is plain sailing. Kids can place their Cubetto toy on the map and proceed to places the blocks on top of the signs on the control board that show a direction. When the start blue button is pressed, the robot will follow the same route indicated by the board controller.

Maps are full of different challenges that require tricky direction commands from the board controller to be completed. Kids will love playing a toy that shows them the fun world of robotics without having to look at the screens. It is the best smart toy for kids whose parents don’t like them playing around with phones.

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Star Wars Sphero BB-8 with Force Band

Star Wars Sphero BB-8 with Force Band

Sphero Star Wars saga of app-controlled droids continues. This time, the films-inspired designer of electronics for kids, Sphero, has returned attention to the staggering-cute Sphero BB-8 droid. This tiny enchanting movie robot for kids upgrades its control features and now supports hand control when connected to a Sphero Force Band. The Force will be with the kids because their robot toy will loyally follow commands with a move of their wrist.

Commands can be adjusted and created by connecting the Star Wars Sphero Force Band for BB-8 to a mobile phone via the Force Band app and train with it to master Jedi Knight force abilities. With a wave of their hand kids that love the Star Wars universe will be capable of making their BB-8 droid to move forward, backward and discover digital Holocrons around their place when connected to a phone. There are games and adventures for you to undertake once the holy trinity of a Sphero BB-8, the Star Wars Force Band and a mobile phone is completed.

The Force Band will be lasting for up to an hour with a single charge, and its Bluetooth connectivity to the Star Wars toy robot will be resisting distances of up to a hundred feet.

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Meccano Meccanoid G15 KS Personal Robot

Meccano Meccanoid G15 KS Personal Robot for kids

The 2016 award-winning Innovative Toy of the Year, the Meccano Meccanoid G15KS is a DIY personal robot for kids that stands as tall as them. At around four-feet-tall, it comes in a set of 1,100 separated robot kit pieces for the children to match those pieces together and build a friend with their own hands. This programmable robot for kids knows over than a thousand phrases, and it can tell jokes and play. Authentic human-like movements of this toy are made possible due to eight servomotors that power its limbs, body, and head.

The Meccano robot features Learned Intelligent Movement technology that enables it to learn by observing and recording human behavior. If you move your arms, the Meccano G15 KS will do the same. You can make the toy mirror everything you do by activating the Motion Capture feature or program new phrases and moves by connecting it to a phone.

What makes this robot special is that it is large enough to become a playtime companion for the kids and its ability to interact with the children, do what they do, and make them laugh by telling jokes.

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Ultimate Lightning McQueen by Sphero

Ultimate Lightning McQueen by Sphero

Ultimate Lightning McQueen is another favorite Disney character turned into a connected toy by Sphero. The anthropomorphic racing car Lightnight McQueen in the animated Pixar’s Car film required a close cooperation between Pixar and Sphero staff to be turned into a techy connected toy.

The toy robot model of McQueen looks identical to the star of Pixar’s franchise. It even sports an LCD display on the windshield that has animated eyes, allowing the Lightning McQueen robot car to be entirely expressive. This car racing toy car is also responsive to human touching, tapping on the hood, top, trunk, or the sides will make it move and bounce around while the eyes will follow hand patterns.

The seven-time Piston Cup Champion, Lightning McQueen is a born racing car that loves to win. Its toy is as much competitive and furious as the film’s character. Grasping forty minutes of gameplay and a top speed of 6Mph the toy can be controlled via a phone for free driving or to enter into race competitions and train as you play. It can drift and do donuts with ease. The toy Lightning McQueen can also appear in front of the camera after every race, and you can watch him speak whatever you made him say.

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DropMix Music Gaming System

Harmonix, the guys behind Rock Band video game series, have developed a fantastic music gaming system called DropMix. The music game set consists of a Bluetooth-connected board with five color-coded spaces for you to place NFC-enabled cards that will play music. The DropMix board game is excellent for teenagers that are passionate about music.

The mixing and music are controlled via a mobile phone, and you can keep the music pumping in three major play styles, freestyle, clash, and party. With the freestyle mode, you get to create and mix songs from top artists including Bruno Mars, Childish Gambino, Disturbed, Ed Sheeran, and more. While in the Clash mode you and your friends can challenge each other into music creation competitions. There are over than sixty different music-playing cards for the DropMix Music Gaming System for you to create musical mashups.

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Star Wars Propel Battle Drones

Propel Star Wars T-65 X-wing starfighter drone

The Propel line of Star Wars toy collection includes some of most techies and versatile drones that are appealing to the children and adults alike. The Propel drone line features the 74-Z Speeder Bike, TIE Advanced X1, and the T-65 X-Wing Starfighter that you see on the embedded picture above. Keep in mind that these Propel robots are not like any kind of quadcopter drone that has only its outer appearance similar to a film’s character and that’s all it stands for. This setup of drone troupe blends together virtual reality games with the emotions of flying a remote-controlled drone.

For better maneuverability, the Propel drones feature reverse propulsion technology, and it makes them fly exactly like they’re supposed to. These toy drones also feature Light Fidelity (LiFi), a similar technology to WiFi that allows the drones to interact and transmit data at a hundred times faster than the WiFi speed. Topping their feature supports with the Intelligent Awareness Technology that functions as a bridge between virtual games and the real world.

These drones are commanded by a remote controller, but they also pair to Android and iOS phones via Bluetooth. When paired with a smartphone, the players can train with them and participate in different missions and challenges to master flight control. Yet, the most exceptional thing these quadcopters can do is their support for multiplayer battles.

All of the drones equip light transmitting sensors that record gameplay action. Multiplayer dogfight drone competitions include drone racing and battling modes. The action in the Star Wars reality appears on your phone’s display while the physical drones fly in the playground. The light sensors on each drone gather action data and transmit that information to your phone. Up to twelve competitors can race and participate in a Star Wars drone battle competition at the same time.

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Ubtech Jimu Robot TankBot Kit

Ubtech Jimu Robot TankBot Kit

Ubtech’s Jimu Robot TankBot kit is another do-it-yourself STEM robotics kit for the younger generation to learn coding and how robots work. The set includes 190 parts that look like Lego bricks, an infrared sensor, six robotic servomotors, a power adapter and a how-to guide.

When assembling the parts together, your progress will be visualized through a 3D model in the accompanying app. Allowing you to see what you’re making up. Coding, commands, and functions can also be custom-added via the app.

The Jimu robots line of DIY robot toys kits includes the BuilderBots, AstroBot, BuzzBot and MuttBot, MeeBot, and the Jimu Robot Explorer kit. Get them all here.

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