Top Affordable and Reliable Robotics Kits for Kids 
You are probably realising how important technology skills are these days (computational thinking, programming, robotics, engineering etc.) and would like your child to get a head start at a young age.
However, you start looking for popular robotic sets and your jaw drops. The prices can be mind-boggling and frustrating.
While there are cheap kits out there, they may not always last long, be extremely buggy, resulting in ineffective learning and ultimately, money wasted.
To help you out, we have prepared a list of reliable yet affordable alternatives for parents and educators like yourself.
Specialises in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Projects
Price Range: SGD$60 - SGD$190
Quarky is the latest kid on the block. However, new does not mean untested! The kits are produced by STEMpedia.com, which has been around for some time with a good range of STEM-related educational kits under their belt.
Quarky robotics sets were created to allow students to get hands-on experience with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities while keeping the sets accessible and affordable for the masses. Together with the PictoBlox (also by STEMpedia) programming platform, students can program extremely smart robots through the drag-and-drop coding blocks. On top of the usually programming blocks, PictoBlox also allows students to use AI and ML-based functions powered by the likes of Google and TensorFlow with Quarky.
Each set caters to dozens of basic projects and even more open-ended projects.
Suitable for ages 7 and up.
Sets are available for preorder via our webstore in late March 2022 for now.
2. MATRIX Robotics
Specialises in Robotics and Programming
Price Range: Below SGD$200
MATRIX Robotics has a starter set that is not too expensive even though it is not on the bargain end of the spectrum - the MATRIX Micro Starter Robot Kit.
For what you get in the set, we would certainly categorise the set as value for money. Compared to other starter sets by different brands, their starter kit contains durable aluminum building parts together with connector parts (screws, nuts etc.) that are typically used in real-life industrial engineering projects.
Plus, the kit uses a micro:bit microcontroller, which is known for its versatility and affordability as well.
Suitable for ages 10 and above, the kit can be further expanded with add-ons to last a student till their pre-tertiary years.
Here is an example of a simple yet realistic design of a ferris wheel mechanism.
Specialises in Building and Simple Programming
Price Range: SGD$80 - SGD$175
The Strawbees programming-centric sets are very popular among schools as they are not intimidating (just colourful tubes and connects) and provides a great platform for absolute coding beginners (uses very simple robotic hubs).
Focused more on building mechanisms, students can build, reiterate and improve their models all in one class. The easy-to-learn building mechanisms help build confidence and resilience in students while they learn the basics of coding with Strawbees CODE, their free coding platform.
For the price to pay and the literal unlimited projects students can do with the tubes and connectors, the Strawbees coding and robotics-centric sets are definitely a bargain!
Suitable for ages 6 to 14 years old
Works with micro:bit, SAM Labs and Quirkbot
You can checkout Strawbees products on our Webstore here.
4. Alternative: Rental Sets from STEAM Learning @ Home
LEGO Education SPIKE Prime and LEGO Education WeDo 2.0 specialises in Robotics, Building and Programming
Price Range : Below $70 for 1 month rental + online course
Here's another option you can consider. Rather than purchasing a set, you can rent a set from us when your child enrolls in our online course.
You can gauge whether your child will be using the set often enough to purchase one for home.
Having an online course that will teach your child step-by-step on how to use the set will also ensure the set gets used to the fullest!
Checkout our STEAM Learning @ Home (SLAH) courses here.
We hope that this list will help you on your search for a robotic set that fits your budget.
Yes, it is still more expensive than dolls and trucks but the value that these STEAM educational toys provide years down the road will have you regret not spending the money early on.