Robotics is a key part of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) learning. The best thing about robotics is that it doesn’t feel like work. By incorporating hands-on experiences, robotics lessons allow children the freedom to create while learning. Fourth grade is the perfect time to introduce robotics. As children progress through the grade levels, they may begin to feel pressure as workloads increase and more is expected of them. But the fun approach to robotics learning gives students a creative release while allowing them to develop deeper technological understanding. The following robotics kits are well-suited for 9-year-olds and can help build skills that children will use throughout their lives.
Children learn better when they are allowed to explore creatively and challenge themselves. This Tinkering Labs kit gives them the tools to really open their minds to independent thinking. It comes with 10 cards that challenge children to create different types of robots, though kids can use the provided supplies to build and rebuild anything they can dream up. They will develop problem-solving skills as they try out different builds to see what works and what doesn’t. As they navigate each challenge, like building a drawing robot or an egg scrambler, they’ll learn to find solutions alone or as part of a team.
At the heart of every computer lies hundreds of tiny circuits all working together towards a common goal. The Smart Circuits kit gives children an inside look at how electrical currents function and play off of each other. They can then use the knowledge they learn to design games and gadgets on their own. The kit includes a microprocessor for more advanced builds such as light shows, motion sensors and doorbells. Children will gain confidence and critical-thinking skills while exploring how circuits help make our lives easier.
If you have a budding engineer in the family, Snap Circuits Jr. has the perfect starter kit. Children can feel accomplished and gain self-confidence as they complete projects with volume adjusters, sensors and flashing lights. Recommended for children ages 8 and up, this kit is designed to build a firm understanding of how everyday electronics function. In addition to hands-on experience dealing with circuits, it also teaches perseverance and attention to detail as even the smallest mismatched current could prevent the desired results. The Snap kit also does wonders for critical thinking as kids will start to apply the same thinking methods to help solve other complex problems they may be dealing with. The fun doesn’t stop with the Jr. kit. There are many upgraded options to choose from as their skills and understanding grow.
Curious minds will be in heaven with the Snap Circuits Snaptricity Electronics Exploration Kit. Kids will not only learn about how electricity works, but will learn how magnets work, too. Using STEM basics, children will explore how to power common household items such as fans, lamps and light switches. The kit lays the perfect foundation for beginning engineers or for any child interested in how things work. By learning how electricity helps things work around the home, children start to develop a more complex understanding of the world they live in. This developing understanding also brings them one step closer to thinking about how to conserve and produce electricity in the future. This kit is ideal for children ages 8 and over.
In the amazing world of STEM, cars can climb. Children will enhance fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination while working to build a four-wheel-drive electric vehicle. Recommended for children ages 8 years old and up, this kit can help build strong social skills as children work together to build this obstacle jumping ride, or improve patience as children work on the project alone and master problems along the way. Logic and critical thinking skills will also be enhanced during the construction of the project. After building the vehicle itself, children will enjoy hours of entertainment. As it walks up the stairs and over other items, it will spark their imagination and redefine how they think about the engineering of cars.
“These imaginative toys are bound to pay dividends in the future and make strides in your child’s problem solving skills. I think it’s important for all kids to have as much exposure to STEM toys such as these, early and often.”
Our Expert Consultant
Emily Lehman is a licensed teacher, nonprofit youth coordinator and mother of two young girls. Emily understands how to make learning fun and is a pro at engaging children in the classroom. She also learns constantly in her own experience raising children. When she isn’t teaching or raising her daughters, she is taking care of her horses and family farm.