Best STEM Toys ages 9+
ReCon 6.0 Programmable Rover
Young scientists and inventors will love these 2011 Golden Apple Awards winners created for older kids.
Appeals to ages 9-13
What it teaches: introduction to computer programming
Lurking inside the brains of all science-fiction-loving children, there’s an overwhelming desire for their very own robot that’ll do whatever their young masters command: Telling pesky younger siblings to stay out of their bedroom, delivering a hand-written note, and even taking out the trash.
Aside from doing chores, this mighty little toy will make a robot-obsessed child's dreams come true. Kids can program this big-as-a-breadbox robot to walk and turn, talk, and deliver small items. Big fun! One tween tester, enthralled with the toy, spent many quiet hours getting it to do his bidding. He was disappointed, though, that there weren't more fun features "like a hidden camera." As well, he bemoaned that the programming instructions weren't more detailed.
On that note, parents, consider yourself warned: Unless you have a mini in-house Bill Gates, you may be spending a lot of time figuring out how to get Rover to walk the robot walk and talk the robot talk.
Bottom line: A nice "starter" robot for science-fiction and computer-science lovin' kids.