Friday, August 9, 2019

4 Kits to create your own DIY Summer STEM + Robotics Camp

Love the idea of sending kids to summer STEM and Robotics camps... but not the prices? I get you! We love doing easy science and STEM activities at home. This past summer, we considered sending my eldest to some robotics camps, but then realized that they just weren't in our budget. So, instead, we set up our own STEM and Robotics camps... at home by purchasing a couple of STEM/ Robotics kits and building them together. Here's a quick review of the 4 kits that we tried out!

A Review of 4 STEM and Robotics Kits 


How to create your own Summer STEM and Robotics Camp at home- here's a review of 4 kits

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Ok. Full admission time-

I studied Engineering in college... but I'm honestly horrible at putting things together. (You know those people who have head knowledge and do great on test, but then no practical sense/skills? That's me. Fixing and building things isn't my specialty.) Why am I telling you this? Well, if you're not super tech-savvy or incline, not super tech-inclined, you're not alone and don't worry! I include a note about "buildability" in my review too!


A photo of all the robot/ STEM kits that we build this summer:

How to create your own Summer STEM and Robotics Camp at home- here's a review of 4 kits

1.  Basic Fun Build-A-Bot Puppy (< $20*)

*Please note that these numbers reflected the prices at the time this post was published!

How to create your own Summer STEM and Robotics Camp at home- here's a review of 4 kitsfd

We got this one at Ross and it was a steal! It was also one of our favorites. Basically, it includes all the parts (inner gears, legs, motors, etc) to build an adorable dog. Kids follow clear, step-by-step directions to put everything together. There were one or two tricky parts, but my 3rd grader did most of the building himself. And then my preschooler helped his big brother decorate the dog with stickers. (And, there's also a cute unicorn version that you can build. We didn't try this one, but if it's like the dog one... it's a winner!)

Price: It's less than $20.
Buildability (for a 3rd grader): Yes! A little bit of adult help is needed
Coolness factor:  Super Cool. It made us see toys in a whole new way.
Were we pleased with the product?  It exceeded our expectations!
Would we give this as a gift? Yes!
Did they kids with it after the initial build? Yes! Both boys pull out their "robot dog" and play with it.

2. 4M Tin Can Robot (< $15)

How to create your own Summer STEM and Robotics Camp at home- here's a review of 4 kits
If you're like me, then you've seen this kit everywhere. It feels like everyone and their mother has made one, so we had to try it out too! My husband and my son built this one together. There were directions, but they weren't super clear. My 3rd grader needed help screwing things together and understanding the schematic.

Price: It's less than $15. (And Amazon currently has it for less than $10.)
Buildability (for a 3rd grader):  Sort of- An adult partner is definitely needed
Coolness factor:  So so. It's cool to see things recycled.
Were we pleased with the product? Mostly yes. It was good to try out this granddaddy of STEM kits.
Would we give this as a gift? Yes.
Did the kids play with it after the initial build? No. Once they built it, they kind of forgot about it. So this is definitely a once a done thing.

3. 6 Set STEM Kit (< $25)

How to create your own Summer STEM and Robotics Camp at home- here's a review of 4 kits

Surprisingly, this kit exceeded our expectations to become the summer fave! This super fun kit comes with the materials and directions to make 6 different electronic projects. Everything project comes in its own package, so you can easily build different projects on different days. My son loved building the projects and seeing how wires and batteries connected with motors to make things move. The one downside to this kit is that the screws are pretty small, so things can get easily lost. Little siblings definitely can't help out.  p out."

Price: It's less than $25.
Buildability (for a 3rd grader):  Mostly yes, but some adult help is needed for a couple of projects.
Coolness factor:  Super cool. My son felt like a real engineer.
Were we pleased with the product? Yes!
Would we give this as a gift? Definitely yes!
Did the kids play with it after the initial build? Yes! Both boys played with the final projects and then my son took things apart to create entirely new creations.

4. Small Six Robot (< $20)


How to create your own Summer STEM and Robotics Camp at home- here's a review of 4 kits

I had such high hopes for this robot toy... and I hate to say it, but I was let down. The idea behind the toy is amazing, but I just don't think it was the best kit for my 3rd grader. There were a TON of parts to put together. I grew frustrated and my husband ended up doing most of the building while my son "assisted." (Mostly watched.)  The resulting toy was pretty neat. The robot moves independently and responds to motion and movement. The kit was definitely better suited for an older child. 

Price: It's less than $20.
Buildability (for a 3rd grader):  Not at all- Tech-savy dad did everything
Coolness factor: A little bit (It would have been cooler if my son could build it)
Were we pleased with the product? Sort of
Would we give this as a gift? Only to an older child with very good hand-eye coordiation and a very patient and tech-comfortable parent
Did the kids play with it after the initial build? Yes, a bit (But less than the dog)

And so ends our review. Hope this was a bit helpful to you and don't forget that you can always find many easy STEM activities on the blog too!

Or, check out this awesome STEAM kids book for a year's worth of fun Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math activities that you can do with the kids at home!

STEAM Kids- over 50 fantastic and fun science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics activities for kids 4-10

Happy making, friends!

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