The Best Solar Toys in 2018 for Learning about Renewable Energy

Renewable energy is the future and there is no denying it. Not only because solar is now the cheapest form of electricity production in history, but also because cutting our carbon emissions is essential for reducing the impacts of climate change.

As such, we think it is critical that the kids of today are learning about renewable energy and its importance, and there are a lot of great kits which aim to do just that! Below we have compiled what we think are some of the best solar toys for kids in 2018, as well as eco toys for learning about other forms of renewable energy like wind and hydro power.

1. OWI 14-in-one Solar Robot

This innovative kit is great for teaching kids about robotics and renewable energy

 

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  • Best for Learning: Engineering, Solar Energy.

  • Recommended Age: 10+ years.

We think one of the best ways to learn about solar energy is to see it in action, which is why we love the 14-in-one solar robot from OWI. The idea is that kids assemble snap together K’Nex type pieces into different robots. When sunlight hits the solar panels on the robots, it is then converted it into kinetic energy for movement.

This is great for learning about cause and effect, plus experimenting with the designs can help build other STEM skills like the basics of engineering. However, you should note that this is a science toy and not an RC kit, so don’t expect the robots to be whizzing around the place! Regardless, we think this is one of the best solar toys for learning about the links between solar and kinetic energy.

2. OWI Super Solar Recycler

 

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  • Best for Learning: Engineering, Solar Energy.

  • Recommended Age: 10+ years.

The Super Solar Recycler is another kit by OWI where kids have to build their own solar powered robots. However, where this kit differs from the one above is that each build features recycled materials such as plastic bottles, drinks cans or old CDs! The builds include a walking robot, bottle yacht, street roller and trike.

We think this kit is really innovative and a great way to teach kids about recycling, as well as solar energy. Plus the fact that you are using everyday items is great for inspiring creativity. It’s certainly another one of our favorite solar toys for learning about renewable energy and reusing materials!

3. K’Nex Education Renewable Energy Set

This K'nex kit is one of the best renewable energy solar toys in 2018

 

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  • Best for Learning: Engineering, Solar, Hydro & Wind Power.

  • Recommended Age: 10+ years.

The above two solar toy kits are great if you are looking for an inexpensive way to show kids about how solar works. However, if you have a bit more of a budget the next two kits offer a more complete renewable energy learning experience.

First up is the Renewable Energy Set from K’Nex, which as you would expect, features signature high quality K’Nex snap together parts. In addition, it also includes a motor, solar cell and blades for powering the wind turbine! There are ideas for 9 builds with this kit, which aim to teach kids about solar, hydro and wind power.

However, the best part is that it is compatible with all other K’Nex pieces, which means there is lots of room for open ended play. Kids can create their own designs and then try to power them with renewable energy! As such, this kit is great for building engineering skills, as well as inspiring creativity and learning about forces, leverage, simple machines and more.

And if that wasn’t enough, K’Nex also include a complete teaching guide designed to align with national standards including NSES, ITEEA, NCTM and Common Core Mathematics. So this is great for both classroom and home learning. The versatility and all round learning experience in this kit are why we think it is one of the best solar toys in 2018.

4. Horizon Renewable Energy Science Education SetThe Horizon set is a great eco toy for learning about renewable energy

 

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(Amazon.com)

  • Best for Learning: Solar, Hydro & Wind Power, Electronic Engineering Basics.

  • Recommended Age: 10+ years.

Similar to the K’Nex set above, the Renewable Energy Science Education Set from Horizon is another top solar toy designed for experimentation. However, where it differs is the design and creativity aspect as all the parts are mostly assembled. These include a miniature wind turbine kit, a solar photovoltaic panel, an electrolyzer, a PEM fuel cell, and hydrogen storage system!

Following the included assembly guide, kids can learn how to put together and configure an entire mini renewable energy system. Additionally, it also includes an experimentation manual to further complement the learning experience, so is a fantastic tool for educators. We think this is one of the best eco toys for learning about renewable energy systems, the only downside is it lacks the creative engineering aspect of the K’Nex set.