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How to Make DIY Robots with Kids?

Posted on August 28, 2020 by Anna

While human-like robots are not on our radars just yet, modern technology has reached the stage where making robots at home is quite feasible. While your home-made robot will not be the most highly technical design in comparison to the current market, building simple robots for kids with your kids is a fun experience and will create great designs and memories. How do you go about it? Let’s discuss!

What Do You Need to Make a Robot?

This is completely dependent on the project you have in mind. For example, if you are researching how to make a robotic hand for kids, you will need various electronics and a robotic actuator to provide the motion. Other robot projects for kids can be less technical and goofier, where you will require googly eyes, cardboard, colored electrical tape, several pairs of toy wheels or a dozen buttons! Mindful of the environment? An eco-friendly approach to making simple robots can involve raiding your trash and reusing some of the household junk instead of buying new materials and supplies. Once you have identified the type of robotic project you are undertaking, accumulating your list of supplies will follow.

A little girl to making a DIY robot

Easy Robotics: Keep it Simple and Fun

  1. Select a manageable project where your kids can do most of the work themselves. Take into account the child’s age and experience (robots for preschoolers would be vastly different to robots for teenagers) as well as their abilities and interests.
  2. Have a step-by-step procedure laid out clearly. Failing to plan is planning to fail, as they say. To make your project as seamless (and fun) as possible, make sure you have each step listed and understood before starting.
  3. Identify what materials to build a robot you will require. Once you have your tools and materials list, having them all assembled on your workspace and ready to go will be a nice touch.
  4. Remember the reason you started this project. Making a robot is a fun, exciting experience for kids (and many adults too!). Whether it be purely for fun or if they need help to brainstorm robot school project ideas, this whole process is a great way to tap into your kid’s creative and critical thinking side. Stay engaged with your children and focus on the learning and fun aspects of building this together.
  5. Let the kids take charge and keep patient. While you might find it easy to take over the robotics projects you are undertaking with your kids, especially if it becomes particularly tedious, resist this temptation if you can. Yes, this may prove difficult, especially if you see your kids struggling with certain aspects and it takes more than a couple of times to get it right. Keep patient, calm, and make sure you encourage them young Edison’s on their way to success! Be prepared for setbacks and going back through the steps all over again in case your DIY robots do not work at first. Let them do as much of it as they can, however many attempts it takes!
  6. Celebrate once your project is complete! Even if you created a DIY mini robot, or any other simple robots to make at home with no complicated Arduino microcontrollers or robot actuators, it is still no small feat. For a young child to create a mechanism that will move and operate on its own is impressive a should be celebrated for the massive accomplishment that it is.

Robot Ideas You Can Make at Home

Once you follow the above steps, they can be applied to any robotic project you undertake. We have listed some fun robot project ideas below to get your creative juices flowing!

The Bristlebot

You’ve googled the question “How to make robots for beginners?” and feel overwhelmed by the responses. From our research, The Bristlebot is one of the easiest and most fun beginner robots to make. Just cut off the top of your toothbrush and attach to it a small motor powered by a coin cell battery.

The Bristlebot is one of the easiest and most fun beginner robots to make

Source

First off, prepare tools:

  • scissors;
  • hedge clippers.

And gather parts:

  • one toothbrush;
  • one vibrating motor;
  • one battery;
  • some double-sided adhesive tape;
  • a pair of pipe cleaners;
  • a pair of googly eyes.

What you need to do step-by-step to create one Bristlebot is:

  1. Cut off the top of the toothbrush with shears and stick a piece of double-sided tape onto it (just along the width of the cut-off toothbrush head).
  2. Attach the motor onto the toothbrush head by sticking it onto the tape closer to the cut-off edge and see that the motor’s spinning part can spin freely.
  3. Stick one of the wires coming out of the motor onto the middle of the tape and place a battery on top of it (markings on the battery should face up).
  4. See whether the connection works properly by touching the battery with another wire - the motor should start spinning.
  5. Stick pipe cleaners onto the toothbrush head between the motor and the battery to give your robot a pair of feet. Fold the pipe cleaners down along the edges of the toothbrush head so that it stays well on the flat top.
  6. Add googly eyes by simply sticking them onto the sides of your robot.
  7. Lastly, all you need to do is stretch the free wire between the pipe cleaners and make it touch the battery so that it runs - then, just let it run!

As a result, you get a quick-moving Bristlebot that will scuttle around any surface and ensure plenty of laughs.

A Mini Bug Robot

This little guy works similarly to the Bristlebot, but it has six legs to roam around! You’ll need to use a vibrating motor once again, attached to even fewer other elements.

A bug robot that moves around on its wire-legs

Source

However, you will need to do some gluing. Here’s what you need to start:

Tools:

  • glue;
  • clippers;
  • a small piece of sticky tape.

Parts:

  • one clothespin;
  • one vibrating motor;
  • a pair of LED lights or small googly eyes;
  • a battery;
  • a bunch of paper clips.

Let’s get to it:

  1. Take a clothespin and put the vibrating motor between its clamping edge so as to fix the motor. Drag the wires coming out of the motor so that they reach the pin’s opposite side.
  2. Glue LEDs or googly eyes onto the pin just above the motor to give your bug robot a pair of eyes.
  3. Take 3 paper clips and, first, straighten each clip, then, twist the clips like so.
    Clothespin and clip for to making a DIY robot

    Source


  4. Clip off the excess to level the edges of the clips to achieve the form in the below image.
  5. Your bug bot’s legs are ready! Now, just glue them along the bottom side of the pin (opposite to the eyes). Clothespin and clips for making the DIY Mini Bug Robot

    Source

  6. Lastly, all you need to do is attach the motor wires to the battery with a piece of sticky tape and glue the connected battery onto the pin between its “rear” edges.

As a result, you get a fun bug robot that moves around on its wire-legs. One of the fun simple robots to create and play with. You can also build a whole army of these little rascals if you put your mind to it.

A Rolling Propeller Car Robot

Once you have mastered building simple robots such as the Bristlebot and Bug Bot, you can move on a notch higher and try a more exciting and complicated project.

DIY car robot

Source

This car robot will require more materials as well as instruments so it is an excellent chance to turn making a simple robot into kid-and-parent shared activity.

You’ll need the following tools:

  • wire cutters;
  • scissors;
  • glue (preferably, hot glue);
  • needle nose pliers;
  • wire strippers.

And these elements:

  • one food container (or simple block of foam);
  • one propeller (either order online or use the one from a toy plane);
  • two straws;
  • two skewers;
  • four bottle lids;
  • two AAA batteries and a holder for them;
  • one 1.5-3 V DC motor;
  • one popsicle stick;
  • one switch;
  • one short length of wire.

Now you can start building a boat car robot:

  1. First off, you will need to attach wheels to the container. For this, cut the straws so that they go a bit beyond the edges of the container and can carry the wheels freely.
  2. Glue the straws onto the bottom of the container.
  3. Cut the skewers, making them a bit longer than the straws and glue one wheel onto each the end of each skewer.
  4. Thread the skewers through the straws and glue other two wheels onto the free ends of the skewers.
  5. Glue the popsicle stick onto either end of the top of the container to create a flat surface for mounting the motor.
  6. Take the battery holder and attach one of its wires to the switch. Just use needle-nose pliers to wrap the wire around the contact.
  7. Attach the other wire to the motor in the same way.
  8. Now, you will need another short wire to interconnect the motor and the switch - use wire strippers to strip off the ends of the wire on both ends and connect to the motor and switch, closing the circuit
  9. Put the propeller onto the motor’s shaft.
  10. Glue your now motorized propeller, switch & battery holder on top of the container. The propeller should be placed on the rear side so that it could push your car bot.
  11. The finishing touch is adding batteries and flicking the switch - your propeller car bot should now ride with the wind!

A Drawing Robot

You can make a painter robot that will be creating real robot art for you! All you need is a couple of markers and a piece of cardboard. Similarly, to other simple DIY robot for kids’ ideas, a vibrating motor will set it in motion. The only tools you will need are glue and your hands.

A painter homemade robot

Source

Gather these parts:

  • three magic markers;
  • a thick piece of cardboard;
  • a small vibrating motor;
  • a battery;
  • a piece of sticky tape.

To create a drawing robot:

  1. Create a base - take a piece of cardboard, cut it into a triangle with smooth angles, and make holes to fit magic markers on each edge.
  2. Make also a hole nearby the center of the cardboard triangle to fit the vibrating motor.
  3. Glue the motor into the hole and glue the battery’s edge onto the cardboard near the motor.
  4. Thread magic markers (use different colors for more fun) through the cardboard holes.
  5. Take a piece of sticky tape and use it to firmly attach the motor’s wires to the battery.

Your robot will now come to life, moving wildly in colorful circles to the joy of any kid. 

A Fun Challenge for the Entire Family

If your kids (or you) are wondering how to make a cool robot from scratch, it’s something the entire family can get involved in that will prove to be a fun challenge. Starting with some easy robots to make at home, you will soon find that this hands-on project is a rewarding family-friendly activity, boosting your children’s creativity and critical thinking along the way!

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