Buying Guide for Toy Robots

Toy robots have come a long way since the days of tin robots with rotating arms. Today many can walk, talk and interact with their owner, remembering lessons that they’ve been taught or in some cases even work out how to play games with them. However, in a market full of toy robots – particularly at Christmas time – and some very demanding recipients, you might feel somewhat daunted about dipping your toes into such a complicated area.

Buying Guide for Toy Robots

Never fear though, for this guide will inform you about the kinds of products out there on the market, what they do and who they might appeal to at Christmas, birthdays and beyond.

Stocking fillers

HexBug’s range of small or ‘nano’ robots might just be the thing you need if shopping on a budget, or if you’re not sure whether toy robots will have much lasting appeal for your youngster.

The smallest robots Hexbug produces have 12 legs and somewhat resemble a walking hairbrush! The motors inside the bugs’ legs are ideal for smooth surfaces, so they’ll vibrate happily along wooden/vinyl flooring or on table tops.

Crab, scarab beetle, larvae and ant versions, also by HexBug, offer a little bit of variation upon the small bug robotics theme, but don’t really do much other than move around. These will be great for someone working at their desk, or for a child who can play with them alongside a friend.

Electronic pets

For those special people in your life who actually might like to form an emotional connection to their toy robot, there are electronic pets. Furby , the runaway hit toy of the 1990s, is making a return in 2012 and largely offers the same kind of interactive features as it did over a decade ago.

These volleyball-sized critters can talk to one another and develop language skills as your recipient plays with them, making them an ideal present for either solo or group play. The addition of smartphone interactivity brings a 21st century twist on the old toy.

Dinosaurs, dogs and aliens are also ready to become best buddies or pets for whoever will home them. Most of these have touch sensitive capabilities, able to react to touch or sound, while some take their instructions and perform exclusively via remote control.

Building your own robot toy

Some of the most rewarding toy robots to gift are those which require some input from the intended recipient themselves, as opposed to just unboxing a robot and putting the batteries in.

Meccano is one classic toy manufacturer that builds on this concept, bringing its unique brand of creativity and pairing it with modern electronics. While these robots aren’t quite as versatile as say, something built using Lego bricks, they’re designed to work just as well as toys already built off-the-shelf and might provide their user with a greater sense of achievement for this very reason.

USB toys

For the office worker (or time-waster!) there might be no better present than a little USB-powered robot that helps take their mind of their job for a few minutes.

Normally these robots are more akin to the small bugs that have already been discussed. They’re fun, small, limited-in-scope, but can be recharged and played with whenever the mood arises.

If you are looking for some ideas for toy robots, check out

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