4M Smart Robot
Pros: an intro to putting together a small motor, kids enjoy it
Cons: plastic a little flimsy, kids may have trouble with small pieces like screws
My daughter expressed interest in getting a science kit that would help her learn about making robots. While in Barnes & Noble I came across the Smart Robot kit, so I had to get it for her birthday. This “fun mechanics kit” is recommended for ages 8 and up. It comes with everything except a small Philips head screwdriver and one AA battery.
The directions are adequate to follow. Not terrific, but not terrible either. Although the contents list has the motor pieces separately, they come fully assembled in the box. My husband commented on the wiring of the motor. He felt it was just a bit too delicate for a child to use without the possibility of damage. My daughter tends to skip over directions, but once we reiterated that she needed to follow them closely, she was able to follow the directions to complete the inner workings of the robot, however the tiny screws were too hard for her to manage. Together they assembled the outer part of the robot. The outer part of the robot is grey and black plastic. The outer plastic seems a bit flimsy. The ball underneath that holds the motor is a bit heavier than I had expected.
The completed robot reminds me of a domed security camera. It is only a few inches tall and about 6 inches around. It moves around the room like a Roomba. It senses objects around it and will move appropriately. The robot needs to be on a smooth surface such as a kitchen floor or wood floor. I won’t work on a rug. The box says that the robot will “speed around the house”. The term “speed” made us think that the robot will move quickly, but it moves a bit slower than expected.
My daughter is 9, and within the suggested age group but she did need some help with the small pieces. I paid around $15 at Barnes & Noble for the Smart Robot. It looks like it is even cheaper at Amazon.com For the price, I didn’t expect anything too intricate. In fact, I think it was just right for what my daughter needed. She and my husband examined the connections and the gears inside the motor and that is just what she wanted to start learning about. Now the kids are enjoying watching the robot scoot around the kitchen floor.