The RoboMaster S1 should be on every Christmas list this holiday season. It’s educational, innovative, and fun. Even better, it’s smart, fosters creativity in people of all ages, and teaches valuable life lessons all at once.

The RoboMaster S1 was inspired by the international robotics competition DJI RoboMaster. Since being founded in 2015, over 20,000 students from more than 400 schools have participated in this thrilling event that tests wit, engineering, and problem-solving skills. The S1’s creators wanted to embody the spirit of the contest in a single robot, and the result is both part toy and part STEM classroom.

The educational robot arrives in pieces on purpose, immediately giving the student a lesson in both assembly and design. Following directions and online videos as needed, you can put the RoboMaster S1 together in a relatively short amount of time, even attaching some additional accessories if you like.

With the bot assembled, you’ll want to fire up the accompanying RoboMaster S1 app (available for iOS, Android, and Windows). This is the mechanism through which you’ll actually control it. Oh, and while it is technically a robot because it is robotic, it looks and acts a bit more like an RC car, with mecanum wheels that move in all directions for both side-to-side and front-to-back mobility options. Combined with its chassis and front axle suspension, this allows for virtually unlimited movement capabilities — in stark contrast to old-school remote-controlled cars that basically only moved from front to back or in circles.

The technology behind the S1 is advanced and impressive, supporting both Scratch and Python programming languages. This allows the student to learn coding on an easy-to-use interactive interface. Once in the app, simply drag and drop blocks to program the chassis, gimbal, and blaster and then test them out to see the effects of your inputted data.

You didn’t misread it when we said “blaster,” either. Even more than its RC car base or robot-looking upper, the most fun aspect of the RoboMaster S1 is undoubtedly its blaster, which shoots red infrared light or actual non-toxic gel bead “ammo” as the robot races across the floor. This makes it the perfect tool for races or battles with friends. You can even throw in some bonus abilities like electromagnetic interference or dizziness to throw opposing bots off their game. Pressure sensors on each Robomaster react to different “hits,” but you can always code a custom move to outpace the competition with an unexpected figure eight or full stop. To top it all off, you can film all the action with a touch of a button and share it with the world.

Intended to help young people practice coding, the RobosMaster’s easy-to-use programming software allows you to train your robot to identify people and objects or move along a specific path. The S1 also boasts six programmable artificial intelligence modules that allow you to work some hands-on AI coding into your education, too.

It’s a lot of software, engineering, and technology to take in at once, but the company website is loaded with tons of support material to back you up as you learn. This includes video courses and tutorials with detailed instructions, downloadable documents, a FAQ section, and even a comprehensive programming guide.