How to Build a Robot: A Go-To Guide for Children

Publish on February 1, 2024
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Benefits of building a robot

Fantastic Tips for Kids When Building a Robot

Building a robot might seem like a daunting task for children; however, creating a functioning robot is within your reach. All you need is a healthy dose of imagination, creativity, and a willingness to learn. By embracing the challenge with the right mindset, you’ll find robot-building an engaging and addictive activity you won’t want to put down.

You don’t need to be a tech genius to construct a basic robot – we’ll be your guide. So, let’s embark on this thrilling journey together and witness your robot come alive before your very eyes!

Benefits of building a robot

Building robots offers students a hands-on opportunity to dive deeper into this fascinating field. Discover the incredible benefits of robot-building for kids as they embark on this exciting journey:

Increased creative and critical thinking

Most robots are creations that are designed to solve a problem. When children are encouraged to build a robot, it can expand their creative design skills as well as their critical thinking skills. Building a robot begins by identifying and thinking about a problem. Kids are then challenged to create a concept for a machine that could solve the problem.

Increased creative and critical thinking

Lessons in coding and programming capability

Many robots require software controls, which means kids can be exposed to coding basics. Understanding computer programming and learning some of the coding languages will help bolster your child’s technology skills and appreciation.  

Understanding science and math concepts

Kids who work with robotics will be able to deepen their understanding of math and science concepts, such as motion, force, energy, algorithms, measurement, geometry, and more. Put another way, learning how to build robots can help kids take their school knowledge to the next level.

Overcoming fear and doubt

It can sometimes be scary to build something new from scratch, but kids that engage in the robot design process can overcome these fears. In particular, children who work on robot designs will beat the fear of failure and see how to build success from it. This is something that can benefit them in different areas of their lives and give them the confidence to try new things.

Strengthening teamwork skills

Building a robot is often a team activity. Robotics camps and classes at Engineering For Kids put children into groups so they can learn from each other and build on each other’s strengths. Working together can often expand a child’s creativity as they watch how peers approach challenges in the designing and building of machines.

There are many other skills that kids can gain through practical experience in robotics, including leadership and self-confidence.

Understanding science and math concepts

How to build a robot for beginners

With all that out of the way, you’re probably asking, “How do I make a robot?” The good news is that you can follow these steps to create their own robot for beginners. Keep in mind that building a robot is a learning experience, so even if it does not turn out as you’ve envisioned, you can still enjoy the experience!

Step 1. Dream up a design

Kids can start by developing an idea of what kind of robot they want to build. Robots should have a purpose, which can be as simple as picking up items and moving them around, vacuuming a floor, etc. The work the robot is built to do will impact its appearance and design. It will also be important to understand the vision for the bot before you decide on the components to use.

Step 2. Gather the parts

Once you’ve decided on a design and structure for the robot, you can gather the parts you’ll need to build it. We’ll use an example of a simple robot called a “vibrobot” – the easiest type of robot that moves based on vibration.

For the vibrobot, you’ll need:

Building robot with cups

1. 2 disposable cups (the kind you find in the office for coffee)

Building robot with forks

2. 4 plastic utensils (forks, knives, spoons)

Rubber washer

3. 1 rubber washer (you can purchase at a hardware store)

Battery Holder

4. 1 1.5V AA Battery Holder, with switch

Creating a robot with motor

5. 1 motor

6. 2 AA batteries

7. 1 Mounting tape (double-sided tape, thick)

8. Hot glue gun

9. Scissors

Step 3. Piecing it together

Robot structure with cups and forks

If you’re eager to build a fun and functional vibrating robot, follow these easy steps to get started!

1: Gather Materials

Grab two disposable cups and four utensils. Make sure the utensils’ handles are placed inside one of the cups, ensuring an equal distance between them. Next, insert the second cup to hold the utensils securely in place.

2: Attach the Motor

Peel off the protective layer from the mounting tape and carefully stick the motor on top of one cup. Ensure that the rubber washer does not touch the robot’s body to prevent any interference.

3: Prepare the Battery Holder

Take the battery holder and apply a rectangle of mounting tape on the side near the switch, making sure not to cover the switch itself.

4: Install Batteries

Insert the batteries into the holder, paying close attention to the correct polarity. Close the battery holder, remove the protective peel from the mounting tape, and securely place it inside the robot’s body. Ensure that the switch remains visible and easily accessible.

5: Connect Cables

Connect the cables from the battery holder to each pin of the motor, establishing a proper electrical connection.

6: Secure Utensils

Once you’re satisfied with the positioning of the utensils, add a small amount of hot glue to the points where the utensils come into contact with the cups. This step will firmly hold them in place.

7: Add Personal Touches

Your robot is now fully functional, but you can still enhance its appearance by adding decorations. Don’t forget to give your little robot a face to make it more adorable and engaging.

8: Enjoy Your Vibrating Robot

Turn on the robot and witness it glide effortlessly across any surface with its newly added vibrations. Have fun experimenting with your creation!

As kids get familiar with the parts needed and the process used to build a robot, encourage them to move on to more complex designs and builds. When designing a larger size robot, children can start by creating a smaller prototype that can test the design and structure of the robot. Many creators go through a re-design phase after they build a prototype.

Kids and Robotics

Building a robot can be one of the most fun and educational activities for kids to engage in, and there are so many benefits to the experience. While some kids may find that robotics activities help prepare them for the various types of careers in the industry, some may just find it a fun hobby.

Whether your child is looking to build their first robot or their 50th, Engineering For Kids robotics experiences are one of a kind. Contact us today to find a location near you

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