In today’s installment of Toy Insider and Family Circle magazine’s “25 Days of Toys,” Toy Insider Senior Editor Ali Mierzejewski and Family Circle Social Media Editor Sugey Palomares share robot-based STEM toys that are as educational as they are fun! For more on the items featured in this segment, check out the product notes below, and for the complete rundown of the best toys of the holiday season, be sure to check our complete Toy Insider Holiday Gift Guide.


  • Meet Sammy. This cute little peanut butter and jelly sandwich is actually a robot that teaches coding principles and skills to children in kindergarten through second grade.
  • You don’t need a tablet, smartphone, or computer to program this robot; programs are created by simply laying down a sequence of physical code cards.
  • As the robot drives over the code cards, an OID optical scanner on the bottom of the robot reads the code cards one by one and loads the program.
  • Next, place the robot on a grid made of map cards, and the robot runs the program.
  • This robot kit also teaches physical engineering and problem solving skills through a series of building and coding lessons.
  • A full-color illustrated manual guides users through the coding lessons and the assembly of different models.
  • Ages: 4+
  • MSRP: $129.95
  • Available: Amazon


  • Botley the Coding Robot gives children as young as five early exposure to coding and helps them gain confidence in STEM through fun, imaginative play.
  • Botley is 100-percent screen free and does not require the use of a smartphone or tablet. Ready to use right out of the box, a simple remote control allows children to code up to 120 programmable steps.
  • And, a 77-piece activity set gives children the tools to create challenges and activities like obstacle courses and mazes.
  • Botley grows with children and has many features to discover including looping, black line following, and smart logic to detect objects – and avoid them! There are also secret hidden features for children to discover.
  • Age: 5-9
  • MSRP: $79.99
  • Available: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kohl’s, Walmart,


  • These battling robots combine the gameplay of Rock em Sock em Robots with the balancing action of a Segway!
  • With this fun, motorized building set, kids can build up their own robots that include a “smart-tech” self-stabilizing feature.
  • Kids can drive and control it with the VEX Pilot mobile app, which enables updates to push automatically to the robot from your phone, ensuring you always have the most up to date robot.
  • Compatible with the VEX IQ platform used by more than 1 million students in classrooms and global competitions.
  • Ages: 8+
  • MSRP: $89.99 (single robot); $149.99 (two-pack)
  • Available: Target, Amazon, Hobby Lobby, Michaels,