Gears + Motors

I get asked frequently: how do I help my kid do more with LEGO gears and motors? 

I love making LEGO move, especially when it creates some fun effects. I teach LEGO classes on movement and am always looking for resources for parents.


LEGO gearing can sometimes feel like a foreign language. I offer classes that walk you through elements of gearing. But there are lots of other great resources to get you started! In my mind these resources need to include TWO components: the parts AND the instructions/explanations. Here are some options to help meet your family's needs:

For adult builders, check out my movement resources.


There are a few different approaches to using LEGO motors, which is using an electrical means to move LEGO instead of just a hand crank. I will list them in order of least to most expensive:

Level 1: Circuit Cubes, third party (ie not LEGO brand) motors created by a LEGO fan. While I haven't personally used Circuit Cubes yet, a LEGO teacher I know uses them and loves them. They are small, compact, affordable, and made by a small company. They have some that require an app to use and some that do not - you just turn on and power. You can find the kits on Amazon and sometimes even at Sam's Club/Walmart.

Circuit Cubes

Level 2: MouldKing motors, which are from a third party (ie not LEGO) company from China. They are carbon copies of previous LEGO model designs. They use a battery pack and a motor. You need both components for them to work. These motors are what I use in my builds that I display at shows. This does NOT require an app to use. 

MouldKing Battery Box

MouldKing Motor 

Level 3: When LEGO retired the motors that I talked about above, they released a new one. It's called the Power Up Line. It requires the use of an app on a phone/tablet/laptop. You need the battery box and motors and a phone/tablet app to use

LEGO Powered Up Battery Hub

LEGO Powered Up Motor

LEVEL 4: LEGO Spike is LEGO's most advanced and most expensive robotics system. This kit comes with the parts to make things move, whereas previous levels will require you to use parts from your own collection. However, the kit is also very expensive. The app doesn’t teach you HOW to use technic parts or HOW to build or HOW to make things work. Instead, the emphasis is on the power of coding. You can use word blocks or picture blocks with it. But if your kiddo is not interested in coding, my guess is they will find this more frustrating than not. This requires an app used only on a tablet or computer.

LEGO Spike Prime