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Robotics for Kids – Complete Guide for Parents [2023 update]

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robotics for kids

Robotics for Kids involves understanding the components of a robot, the functioning of a robot, and the building and programming of a robot.

It is a fun and innovative way to teach children the fundamentals of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) concepts. It offers kids practical insight into programming and building robots. This helps in fostering important skills such as creativity and logical thinking. Robotics for Kids can be an entertaining addition to any child’s educational journey!

In this post, we will cover:

  • What is robotics?
  • Difference between a robot and robotics
  • What is robotics for kids?
  • The benefits of robotics for kids
  • What is the right age for kids to learn robotics?
  • Key education platforms for robotics
  • Online robotics classes for kids

What is robotics?   

Robotics is defined as the study that deals with the design, construction, operation, and application of robots.

Robotics is an interdisciplinary branch of computer science and engineering. Designing tools that can aid and support humans is the goal of robotics. The field of robotics combines concepts from Science, Engineering, and Technology.

The terms Robot and Robotics may sound very similar, however, there is some difference. Let us see what is a robot and difference between a Robot and Robotics.

What is a robot, and how is it different from robotics?

A robot is a type of automated machine that is capable of carrying out a number of sophisticated activities when instructed to do so or when programmed to do so.

It is a type of machine, a programmable one that is designed to perform specific tasks. Although some robots are built to resemble humans, most robots are task-performing machines that place more focus on functionality than on expressive aesthetics.

Robots can either be human-controlled, take up commands, or can be fully autonomous and perform tasks without any influence from external factors. 

Whereas,
Robotics combines science, engineering, and technology to create machines known as robots.

These robots can perform tasks that assist humans. Robotics is the branch of study that deals with the design, construction, operation, and application of Robots. Robotics is applied to create intelligent machines that can sense their environment, process it, and make a decision without manual intervention.

Applications of robotics

According to experts, automation has created a lot of demand for robotics in recent years. Robotics is an important field to serve industries and sectors to boost efficiency and productivity. The application of robotics can help industries and sectors increase the speed of their manufacturing process and do tasks with precision.

Here are 5 important industries that use robotics:

Health Care Sector: To perform complicated operations, psychological tests like lie detectors, etc. robotics is an important field to be used in the healthcare sector.

Automobile Industries and Manufacturing Sectors: To do repetitive and bulk production Automobile and Manufacturing Sectors use Robotics to increase productivity and precision.

Space Science and Technology Sector: Space Science and Tech use robotics in various applications. From industrial robots to sending robotic humans to space, space robots, navigators, etc. the industry uses robotics.

Defense Sector: To achieve high-quality military equipment, advanced weapons, or information-gathering devices robotics is used in the Military. A few examples are Drones, cameras, sensors, GPS, and many more.

Agriculture Sector: To modernize the agriculture sector robotics is highly used in devices such as drones to spray insecticides and pesticides, survey drones, GPS, and many more.

What is the future of robotics?

Recent reports forecast the robotic sector to Cross USD 214.68 billion by 2030. According to the reports, the availability of cost-effective and energy-efficient robots will boost the robotics market growth. A large contribution to this growth will come from the professional services robots used to perform tasks such as cleaning, delivering, and even transporting. 

Now, let’s understand what robotics is for kids and how kids can start learning robotics.

What is robotics for kids?

Robotics for kids refers to any kind of activity that helps kids to understand Robots. Activities can include robot-building kits and games that get their little hands moving on something fun to more in-depth courses where they can go deeper into understanding the construction and application of robots.

Not only does robotics help them understand S-Science, T-Technology, E-Engineering, and M–Mathematics better, but it also hones problem-solving capabilities while instilling creativity!

Robotics for children is a fascinating, educational way for kids to learn STEM concepts and develop essential skills. Robotics allows kids to learn coding concepts as well. Kids learn coding as a tool to provide instructions to the robots.

Relation between coding and robotics for kids

Coding is like providing a brain to the robot. A robot can be programmed through coding. Hence, we can say that robotics and coding go hand in hand. Programming a robot requires coding skills to make the robot functional in its environment. Coding will instruct robots what to do and how to do a task. By taking up robotics classes and practicing programming, kids will learn to instruct robots.

Thus, we can say that if Robotics is a field of study, Coding is the skill required for robotics.

What are the benefits of robotics for kids?

Robotics is an exciting, interdisciplinary field that draws on science, engineering, and technology to teach children essential problem-solving skills. With robotics instruction, kids can develop critical thinking abilities while staying actively engaged in interesting projects and activities.

Here are some of the benefits of learning robotics for kids:

Fosters STEM learning

Learning robotics can help kids to understand deeper STEM concepts. Educational programs around the world are now focused on developing courses for students in the interdisciplinary subjects of STEM. This is so students can enter the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. A good Robotics for Kids program can make learning fun and interactive, helping students apply scientific theories to real-world experiences.

Robotics classes introduce kids to the world of circuits, wiring, coding, software, and so much more. Therefore constructing a robot enables understanding of STEM across many disciplines.

It helps develop motor skills

Motor skills are the ability to perform specific movements of the body’s muscles to do a certain task. The goal of motor skills is to reduce the energy consumption required for performance. The growth of the skills helps children increase their cognitive development. This provides independence in learning and exploring. Robotics for kids will help them develop their motor skills through various activities like coding, design, mechanical assembly, and computer simulation.

The involvement of children in activities that require learning and hands-on experience in building things(like their very own robots) will help to develop motor skills.

Builds computational skills

Computational skills are defined as the ability to calculate basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems quickly and accurately.

Robotics is an interdisciplinary field involving mathematics, science, and engineering concepts.

To give instructions to robots, kids will learn to give commands through coding, which requires a basic understanding of mathematics.

Robotics for kids will help kids learn how robots move in a given environment.

The degree of movement of robots in the surroundings requires computation.

Improves coding skills

Robotics is the study of robots. To make robots function robots need to have instructions like what to do and how to do it. Instruction is given to robots through coding. Coding is nothing but a set of instructions. Learning robotics for kids will make kids learn coding concepts as well. The ability to code will give kids a new perspective on problem-solving. With the help of coding, kids are bound to learn the different ways in which they can program a robot and can give commands of their choice. Learning robotics for kids will make kids code to overcome challenges with alternative solutions, as they will sometimes be involved in a trial-and-error method to write the correct code.

What is the right age for kids to learn robotics?

Robotics is now available for all ages, with various platforms to provide students with opportunities to develop and explore their knowledge in this exciting field.

The research paper “Teaching robotics at the primary school: an innovative approach”, published by David Scaradozzia, Laura Sorbia, Anna Pedalea, Mariantonietta Valzanoc, Cinzia Verginec suggests primary school as the ideal time for kids to get introduced to robotics. The paper was published in the platform ScienceDirect, in 2014, by the dept. of Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences.

In our experience, kids can start their robotics learning as early as 6 years of age or in Grade 1. Introducing robotics to young children is an excellent way for them to gain technical knowledge and skills. With the ever-increasing use of technology today, kids are able to thrive in learning environments from a younger age. This can be accomplished through age-appropriate kits/toys, classes, or even robotics platforms such as Wiingy, micro:bit, and Arduino Nano – giving your child the right nudge.

Introduce them early through Robotics games and kits designed specifically for children. For more advanced learners, educational robotics can help young minds explore the world around them and experience futuristic tech firsthand.

  • Robotics games and kits: Kids can start at 6 years of age or in Grade 1. Entry-level robotics involves toys and kits. Introduce young learners to the exciting world of robotics with age-appropriate kits and toys.
  • Educational Robotics – Educational Robotics for kids starts with computer simulation. It is best suited for middle school onwards or students in grades 4 and above. Kids can learn robotics through simulation software such as Tinkercad. Gradually after practicing the codes and programming robots kids can move toward the mechanical assembly of robots.

What are the most popular Educational robotics platforms for beginners?

The value of Educational Robotics for kids is recognized by educators as it involves all areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, And Math (STEM).

The Top 3 educational robotics platforms for kids are:

  • Arduino Nano
  • BBC micro:bit
  • Raspberry pi

A brief description of each of these platforms is as below:

Arduino Nano

Arduino Nano
Arduino Nano

Arduino is an open-source platform used for electronic prototyping. It enables users to produce interactive electronic objects. It can be described as easy-to-use hardware and software. 

The Arduino boards are competent to read information inputs, for example, a light sensor, a finger on a button, or a Twitter message – and then proceed to turn that input into an output – starting a motor, turning on an LED, or even publishing something online. One can choose from a plethora of options when it comes to Arduino boards, but the most recommended for DIY electronic projects would be the Nano, as it is versatile. DIY Hardware development has become more accessible to people due to these tiny microcontrollers.

The Arduino Nano is a highly recommended platform for beginners. It’s important to note that the size of the board makes it excellent for compact electronic projects but functionally it is the same as its larger counterparts.  Moreover, prototyping is easier as it fits onto a breadboard. 

BBC micro:bit

BBC micro:bit
BBC micro:bit

A great way to familiarize kids with how software and hardware work together is by using the BBC micro:bit which is a pocket-sized computer. The device has an LED light display, buttons, sensors, and many input/output features. These features help you input information and receive outputs when programmed. Kids can program their own board with the required instructions sent to the microcontroller on the board. 

The BBC micro:bit and the resources provided on their website are specifically designed for beginners, especially for those who are aged between 8-14 and the instructors who teach them. The BBC micro:bit has interesting functions like Bluetooth, accelerometer, compass, LEDs, buttons, and more integrated into one pocket-sized device. This means that no extensions are needed to build interesting projects.  

With enough curiosity and experimentation, kids can program the device to do various things like a digital watch, an interesting fitness tracker, or even a gaming console.

Raspberry pi

Raspberry pi
Raspberry pi

A small computer board intended for school students to learn more about computer science. Because of its simplicity in usage, the device is excellent for any individual who shows interest in gaining more knowledge about technology. The main intention of the device is to learn to program and encourage computer skills.

Raspberry Pi is affordable, small, and easy to use and can be connected to a computer to use along with a keyboard and mouse. The low-power-consuming device is extremely efficient and excellent for those who are interested in learning more about computers and programming. 

The devices are multifunctional. The Raspberry Pi is equipped with memory, processor, USB ports, Ethernet port, etc. Students can even install programs and files and learn more about coding. The device even let users design and create their own video games, click pictures, and capture videos.

Should robotics classes be included in school?

“Robotics as a curricula subject can bring the possibility of transmission to children the basics of technology and to give them other kinds of human and organizational values. Studies have shown that robotics for kids can help school students develop problem-solving abilities and learn computer programming, mathematics, and science. Schools that have enabled students to learn robotics within their curriculum help establish a well-rounded approach to educational technology and learning. This further helps produce skilled students in various disciplines.”

Research paper “Teaching robotics at the primary school: an innovative approach” by researchers David Scaradozzi, Laura Sorbi, Anna Pedale, Mariantonietta Valzano, and CinziaVergine

Recent reports show that students who understand robotics are well-placed to succeed in some of the highest-paying, most advanced job sectors such as computer science, aerospace engineering, and hardware design.

Where can my child learn robotics if it’s not included in school?

Early learners of robotics have an advantage over other students. Being a multi-disciplinary field, robotics prepares kids and teens for successful career paths. If robotics is not included in the school curriculum, then here are a few ways to introduce your kids to robotics:

  • Free tutorials
  • DIY robotics kits for kids
  • Educational robotics clubs
  • Online robotics classes for kids

Free robotics tutorials for kids and teens

Introduce your kid to the exciting world of robotics with free tutorials before committing to a more costly program. You can find free tutorials on YouTube and from robotics platform makers such as Arduino and micro:bit.

We have curated the top 3 free robotics tutorials for kids and teens to get you started:

Arduino projects & robotics tutorials by RootSaid

Course Type: Free
For Age: 10+
Level of Course: Beginners to Advanced
Course Link: Click here to visit the RootSaid Youtube tutorial.

Arduino Projects & Robotics Tutorials is a youtube video tutorial course by RootSaid. The tutorial is freely available on youtube and can be used by a wide variety of users. The kid’s version of the tutorial contains simple and basic concepts like an introduction to robotics for kids, coding, microcontrollers, and what is Audrino. The tutorial also consists of various DIY Audrino projects for kids. Arduino Projects & Robotics Tutorials is an easy way for kids and beginners to start the robotics journey.

Begin robotics tutorials by Future Learn

Course Type: Free
For Age: 6+
Level of Course: Beginners
Course Link: You can click here to check out the course
It is a UK-based online learning platform in collaboration with The University of Reading, a UK-based university focusing on teaching, research, and enterprise. The course is designed to teach robotics to kids through the basics of robotics at an early age. This four-week course begins with an introduction to robotics and a discussion of robot anatomy to make kids and beginners understand robot behavior.

Micro:bit tutorials by BBC micro.bit.org

Course Type: Free
For Age: 6+
Level of Course: Beginner to Advanced
BBC Micro:bit is an educational platform specially designed for kids of age 8-14 as well as the instructors who teach micro:bit. Micro:bit is a user-friendly platform with a user’s guide to introducing kids and beginners with easy step-by-step installation. In the ‘Projects’ section of the micro:bit window there are many free tutorials for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level micro:bit. Kids will learn through basic activities like coding a heart, a beating heart, an animated animal, and many more. Click here to start the tutorials.

DIY robotics kits for kids and teens

Robotics kits are a fantastic way to introduce kids to the wonderful world of STEM. Not only do they learn robotics basics such as building, programming, and experiencing cause-and-effect through their own creations, but these robotic toys also make learning fun!

Here are the best robotics kits/toys for kids:

Lego Boost Creative Toolbox (Age: 7+):
Lego Boost helps kids understand the basics of coding, robotics, and engineering. It is an easy-to-use kit.

Kids First Coding & Robotics (Age: 3+):
This cute little peanut butter and jelly sandwich is actually a robot that teaches coding principles and skills to children in grades K-2. This robot kit also teaches physical engineering and problem-solving skills through building and coding lessons.

Halocode (Age: 8+):
Designed for programming education, paired with block-based programming software mBlock, Halocode offers many opportunities to experience AI & IoT applications.

Recommended: Read our Top 8 Robotics kits for kids to pick the right kit for your child

Educational robotics clubs

Robotics clubs and schools are the perfect way for kids to learn about robotics in a practical environment guided by experts. Kids can start from the beginner’s level and work up as they gain knowledge, all while developing important skills like collaboration through group activities. With a little search, you can find robotics clubs near your area or find one associated with a school near you.

Online robotics classes for kids

A great way to introduce children to Robotics is by enrolling them in robotics classes. Robotics classes for kids offer an unparalleled opportunity to teach the next generation science, math, and engineering skills. These courses prepare students with a modern skill set in machine learning, artificial intelligence, data science design, and more.

Here are some of the best paid online robotics classes for beginners

Wiingy

Wiingy is an educational platform to teach kids robotics, coding, game development, app development, and design. Wiingy provides instructor-led online live sessions in small groups and 1:1 private format to kids.

Features of Wiingy Robotics classes for kids:

  • Tailored robotics classes for Grade 1 to Grade 8 kids.
  • Offers Arduino classes for kids as well as micro:bit classes for kids
  • 1:1 private sessions to give personalized attention.
  • World-class instructors, rated 4.8/5 by Google and 4.6/5 by Trustpilot.
  • STEM.org certified
  • Certificate issued post-completion of the course.
  • Affordable courses starting at $20 per class

Wiingy provides classes of robotics for kids studying in grades 1 to 8. Wiingy also provides free demo sessions to its new users before making users enroll for the paid sessions. Instructors of Wiingy classes are Rated 4.8/5. Wiingy provides 1:1 private tutors to kids from grade 1 to grade 8. Kids will be given the certification of completion of the course.

Course Price: Starts from $20 per class.

Arduino Education

Arduino Education is an educational platform to make kids learn STEM concepts. Arduino Education is to empower students on their learning journey through middle school, high school, and university and make them future-ready. Arduino Education middle school program is built for kids of age 11-14 years of age. “Education Starter kits” of middle school programs are best suitable for kids to get started with the basics of electronics, robotics, and coding. The kit will guide kids through 11 exciting lessons. Education Starter Kit is a BETT* Awards 2022 finalist in the ‘Hardware – AV – VR/AR – Robotics or Digital Device’ category.
*BETT (British Educational Training and Technology Show) is the global community for education technology.

Arduino Education Starter Kits start at around $300

ID Tech

ID Tech is an educational platform that provides classes and programs in robotics engineering, virtual robotics, visual programming & more. Courses available are online as well as on-campus. Different programs are also run by ID Tech.

The programs run by ID Tech include:

  • Online Teen Academies
  • Online Private Lessons
  • On-Campus Summer Programs

ID Tech classes cost around $60 per class

Popular robotics competitions for kids

Robotics competitions are organized in different groups on the basis of age or skills and categories to make kids participate. Robotics competitions are a way to make the learning process goal-oriented, practical implementation of robotics for kids, and boost confidence. Moreover, competitions will bring together a large number of kids with the same interests. Here are the top 3 robotics competitions for kids.

Wonder Workshop Robotics Competition
It is a wonderful platform for kids to enter a competitive learning platform. It conducts various robotics and coding competitions based on their ages.
Click here to register.

VEX IQ Challenge
VEX IQ Challenge is conducted yearly. It is played on a 6’ x 8’ rectangular field. Two robots compete in the field to test robotic skills and score as many points as possible to win the challenge.

Virtual Robot Challenge by National Geographic
Eligibility: Grades 3-10. Kids from around the world can participate in this virtual robotic competition. This challenge aims to spark kids’ interest in different fields of STEM particularly engineering and robotics.

Future demand for robotics jobs 

In the 2022 Trends from Robots.Jobs report Ann P. Walsh CEO & co-founder of Robotics.Jobs mentions that “Robotics, IoT and AI careers are in high demand across almost all industries, including industrial, healthcare, biotech, logistics, consumer and more”. In the USA, Boston, Massachusetts, maintains its stronghold on the largest volume of robotics and AI job searches, with 25 percent of open positions posted on the ‘Robots.Jobs’ job board. This growth is in part due to the number of biotech companies actively using robotics and artificial intelligence technologies within their organizations.

With increased mechanization and automation, industries are applying robots in their daily workings. This means a rise in demand for skilled professionals who have the ability not just to design but also build and operate robots. Experts believe that the hike in demand for engineers familiar with robots is to increase by 10% in the coming decade alone. This means that currently, there is a shortage of human resources. Further Machine Learning (ML) and Associated Technologies have created a rising demand for engineers skilled in robotics. The growing industry does not show signs of slowing down anytime soon.

FAQs on robotics for kids

What does robotics teach kids?
Robotics for kids makes them aware of STEM concepts i.e., S-Science, T-Technology, E-Engineering, and M-Mathematics. Robotics for kids helps in developing their critical thinking and problem-solving skills, enhances creativity, and makes them familiar with concepts of coding and mechanics.

At what age can kids start robotics?
Different children have different understanding levels. But scientifically, according to the research paper published in the platform ScienceDirect, in 2014, by the dept. of Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, kids can start their robotics learning as early as 6 years of age or in Grade 1.

What degree is best for robotics?
Here are some college majors that are ideal for a path into Robotics Engineering.
Electrical/Electronic Engineering
Mathematics
Mechanical Engineering.
Computer Science
Design and Technology

Is robotics a good career choice?
In the 2022 Trends from Robots.Jobs report Ann P. Walsh CEO & co-founder of Robotics. Jobs mentions that “Robotics, IoT and AI careers are in high demand across almost all industries, including industrial, healthcare, biotech, logistics, consumer and more”. Robotics is considered to be a top-notch professional career. Students who are learning Robotics and have professional skills have a higher probability of getting high-paying job opportunities.

Does robotics require Math?
Robotics is a multi-disciplinary field and knowledge of math is always advantageous. Concepts like Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Calculus, Statistics, and Probability are used to help design and build robots.

What are the best robotics toys/kits for kids?
Robotics kits are great for introducing kids to robotics. Kids will learn to implement their learning by building their own robots, programming robots, and experiencing the effects of their learning. The best robotics kits/toys are the ones that are easy to learn, easy to understand and provide fun activities for kids. The article on “the effectiveness of using LEGO robotics kits as cognitive and social rehabilitative” states that players increase their cognitive and social skills in a playful game environment.

Here are the few best robotics kits/toys for kids available in the market as of 2022:

  • Lego Boost Creative Toolbox (Age: 7+)
  • mBot Mega (Age: 4+)
  • Embedded Learner Uno Kit – Version 2 (Age: 8+)
  • UBTECH JIMU Robot Astrobot Series
  • Wonder Workshop’s Dash Coding Robot (Age: 5+)
  • Kids First Coding & Robotics (Age: 3+)
  • Halocode (Age: 8+)
  • Code-A-Pillar (Age: 3+)

What do you expect to learn in robotics?
One can learn to build their very own robots, master the skill of coding, and strengthen the understanding of science and math better. Learning robotics also inculcates soft skills like leadership collaboration, and teamwork.

How do I start my child in robotics?
Kids can be introduced to robotics through:
1. Free tutorials:
2. DIY robotics kits/toys for kids:
3. Make kids join Educational robotics platforms like clubs, schools, or any organization
4. Enroll kids in a robotics class

What are the benefits of robots?
Robots can deliver work with precision and consistency. Robots can work in any environment, adding to their flexibility. Robots can eliminate dangerous jobs for humans because they are capable of working in hazardous environments.

Who is called the father of robotics?
Ismail Al-Jazari is known as the “father of robotics”. Ismail Al-Jazari was a polymath: a scholar, inventor, mechanical engineer, artisan, artist, and mathematician from the Artuqid Dynasty of Jazira in Mesopotamia. He has also documented 50 mechanical inventions (along with construction drawings) and is considered to be the “father of modern-day engineering” as well. He is best known for writing the Book “Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices”. (Source: Wikipedia)

Are robots good for children?
Children learn problem-solving and engineering skills through kid-friendly robotics. Working through various problems in robotics lessons teaches kids how to solve problems. They also learn the fundamentals of engineering, which is designing and constructing a solution to a problem.

What do kids learn in a robotics class?
Robotics classes are a platform to bring together kids of the same interests and make the learning process fun and interesting. Robotics classes cater to students wishing to learn robotics and help students grasp knowledge regarding science, math, engineering, technology, machine learning, artificial intelligence, data science, design, and engineering for the future.

Is robotics the same as coding?
A robot can read and follow coding, which is a set of instructions. Robotics is the practice of programming robots to do specific tasks using a combination of electronics, mechanics, and computer software.

How do I teach my 5-year-old code?
Best Tips to Teach Your 5-Year-Old How to Code:
1. Free tutorials:
2. DIY robotics kits/toys for kids:
3. Make kids join Educational robotics platforms like clubs, schools, or any organization
4. Enroll kids in a robotics class

Do robots need coding?
Robots do really require code. A robot can read and carry out coding, which is a fundamental set of instructions. Robotics is the study of programming machines to do specific tasks by combining the use of electronics, mechanics, and computer code.

What is robotics for kids?
Robotics for kids refers to making kids understand what is a robot, how robots function, and how to build one in a simpler way. Robotics for kids is the study of robots specially designed for kids to make them understand the basic concepts of robotics.

Can I study robotics online?
Yes, you can opt to learn robotics online. There are many free and premium options out there to help you gain skills in robotics programming, mechatronics, and controls. Enroll with Wiingy robotics to give your kid 1:1 private assistance.

What is STEM robotics?
STEM Robotics involves engineering, and computer science incorporated with design, construction, operation, application, and computer systems to produce robots. In an interdisciplinary and applied approach, STEM includes four specific disciplines—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

How do robotics help in education?
Through play, educational robotics help children develop one of the basic cognitive skills of mathematical thinking at an early age: computational thinking. It combines science, engineering, and technology to create machines better known as robots.

What are some of the leading universities to offer robotics programs?
Some of the leading universities to offer robotics programs:
1. Carnegie Mellon University; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Cambridge, Massachusetts
3. University of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
4. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; Ann Arbor, Michigan
5. Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus; Atlanta, Georgia

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