While imagination doesn’t run on batteries, it doesn’t follow at all that a toy that runs on batteries can’t stimulate creativity. Take, for instance, the basic Hexbug Nano V2 Robot: in many ways, this little guy functions like a very small and simple family pet (minus the need to feed it or clean up after it). The cleverly designed motor inside this slightly-refined Brushbot creates natural-looking motion, causing the Nano to appear to roam, explore, and interact socially with other Nanos. It can also flip itself upright if it gets knocked over, which gives the little fella the appearance of wishing impatiently to get on with its day – Nano has places to go and people to see!
If you take a Nano and hand it to a curious kid, there are countless ways she might play with it: you can set the Nano loose in the living room, watch how it handles tile versus carpet, and see how long it takes it to find its way under and out from under the sofa. You can build a Hexbug Habitat like the Hexbug Nano V2 Sky Max Set and watch your Nano explore, and maybe add a few pals to see how they get along. You can invent personalities for them and stories about their adventures, as this slightly cheeky video suggests. Or, if you’re like me, you can bring out your Nano to amuse the family cat (the cat will love it, the Nano won’t mind, and their rubbery bodies are quite sturdy).
The Nano is only the most basic offering from Hexbug – there are Hexbug robots and kits for a huge age range, and everyone in the family will want to get in on the fun. Shelli from Magic Beans Wellesley picked these guys as one of her top gift recommendations, because “My brother and I had so many of these when we were younger, I thought they were the coolest toy you could have. Awesome for all ages; even my grandpa loves them!”
So if you’re looking for a birthday gift (or, later on this year, a holiday gift), you really can’t lose with these robotic friends. Here are a few more of our Hexbug faves!
MORE FUN WITH HEXBUG NANO
Hexbug Nano V2 Neon Launchpad, ages 3 and up
Nanos go airborne! This clever set challenges kids to launch their scuttling buddies towards high-flying targets, so the Nano can scurry down the tube and back to the launcher for another ride. Rotate to switch targets, try different challenges, and show off to your friends!
Ravensburger Bugs in the Kitchen Game, ages 6 and up
Nanos encourage creativity for toy inventors just as much as kids: this game puts the bug-bots to good use, dodging forks and knives as players try to corner and trap them. Kids will love the ever so slightly gross scenario (bugs and food, ew!), and it’s a fun and fast-paced strategy challenge.
Hexbug Aquabot 2.0 With Fishbowl, ages 3 and up
Like the Nano, the Aquabot is made to explore its environment, and makes a great substitute for a real fish (no need to clean the water!). The “smart fish” technology built into its translucent body makes your little fishy swim up and dive down, and nose around realistically; it also has an inner glow, because everything that glows in the dark is cool. Don’t worry about the batteries running out right away, either – if nobody is interacting with the Aquabot, it will go to “sleep” after five minutes. Also, unlike a real fish, it’s happy to join your child in the bathtub!
Hexbug Aquabot 2.0 Harbour Playset, ages 3 and up
Or how about adding some adventure to the mix? This exciting playset adds a crane, launcher, pretend coral, and two pugnacious hammerhead sharks into the mix. Are they friends or foes? What is their fishy mission? It’s all up to your kid to decide!
Hexbug Aquabot Jellyfish, ages 3 and up
Like a real jellyfish, the Hexbug Jellyfish rises up through the water, gently spins, and does its own enchanting watery dance. It looks incredibly cool in a real fishtank! And you can even adjust its buoyancy to make it move differently, encouraging kids to experiment.
Hexbug Aquabot 3.0 Remote Control Angelfish, ages 3 and up
Or, for an entirely different kind of adventure: kids can actually control this robo-fish! Just use the teeny included remote to waggle its tail and make the Angelfish dive up, swim down, swim faster, or swim slower. Set it loose in a bowl of water or bring it into the bath, where it can disappear under the suds, leaving only a colorful glow on the surface.
Hexbug Warriors Battle Arena, ages 5 and up
Hexbug Warriors Transformers Robot Battle Stadium, ages 6 and up
You don’t ACTUALLY want your robotic pals to duke it out for real, since once one of them is broken, the fun is over. Instead, in these battle sets, kids outfit their battle buddies with custom weapons and armor, and then they jab and jostle each other while a shock sensor registers “damage.” May the best bot win!
Hexbug Battle Spiders – Dual Pack, ages 8 and up
These fightin’ spidies are almost as fun to watch in action as they are to play with:
Every detail makes them irresistible, from the battle-“faded” details to the alien stalking motion when they walk. They make the perfect “pew pew” noise when you fire their lasers, and when a robot spider gets hit, it recoils and shudders. Ten hits and the battle is over, and then it’s time to start over again, because of course you’re never going to settle for just one game!
FOR BIG KIDS
Hexbug Vex Robotics Construction Set – Spider Robot, ages 8 and up
Ok, so you’ve watched Nanos run around, taken a swim with the Aquabots, and battled with the Spiders: what next? Now it’s time to get into the nuts and bolts of Hexbugs by learning how they work, and building your own! Little builders will explore how the spider-motion is generated as they snap together the 350 pieces, and then it’s time to experiment with their jumbo-sized robot spider by TINKERING WITH ITS ROBOT BRAIN.
(Sorry about the caps, I just got a little excited there.)
With 64 programming variations to choose from, operated by switches on the “brain,” plus lights, sounds, and changing colors, there’s enormous play value tucked into this funky bug. And there’s hardly a better demonstration that science can be really, really fun.
Hexbug Vex Robotics Crossbow Kit, teen and up
Finally: what could be cooler than building and firing your own mini crossbow? Inspired by the ancient Greek/Roman ballista, and composed from over 150 snap-together pieces, it fires Nerf-style darts, and can be customized to a few different forms for extended play value. Time to build some targets!
These are just a few of our Hexbug sets, and only a small fraction of our STEM and robotics selection – if robo-bugs don’t appeal, there are tons of other options for imaginative tech playtime here at Magic Beans! If you’re not sure which Hexbug or other toy will make the perfect gift, just ask us: if there’s anything we love, it’s talking about our favorite toys and making sure they wind up in the hands of the right kids.