By Smart Lab

Reviewed for Fourth Grade, 2012

ReCon Programmable Rover

Move over, R2D2, this robot is ready for action! Sporting a sleek little body and a mission book that trains kids on how to program it, it’s easy to fall in love with this well-priced toy. The rover can hold up to nine missions and the book starts out simple and gets progressively more complex, eventually weaning kids off the spoon-fed variety so they can create their own missions from scratch. The “programming” is simple—bright buttons allow the rover to go forward, backward, reverse, make noise, turn on its lights, and various other basic commands. Kids can record their own voice and send him into the living room to deliver a message to mom. He’s got lots of features for a little guy, and while the programming is limited, it’s a great way to introduce the concept to future engineers. (Smart Lab, $58.50)