Resources,  STEM

Botley-The Coding Robot

Have you guys heard of Botley? If you haven’t, I am here to introduce you! Botley is a coding robot created by Learning Resources. I just love Botley so much I want to tell everyone about him!

Botley-The Coding Robot

So Botley is little mini robot that kids can program themselves! He is an introduction into coding and programming and a completely lovable toy! We lucked out and picked him up at Toys-R-Us for a huge discount because of the liquidation sale. Botley usually costs $79.99 but we paid $32 for him. I didn’t know anything about him, but as we strolled through the barren aisles of the store, I saw him and thought, with the steep discount, why not give it a try? We brought him home and unboxed him and I was immediately blown away by everything that came with him! He’s got programming cards, cones, obstacle course pieces and so much more. He can do A LOT of things and for a complete explanation of his abilities you should definitely visit www.learningresources.com. But for now, I’m just going to share a few photos and what we’ve learned so far.

We went by the book and followed the instructions in order to get acquainted with our new robot. The first thing we did was the black line test. Botley comes with a series of double-sided cards that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. One side of these cards is completely white with a solid black line that curves in different directions. Botley has a sensor on the bottom of him that can read any line between 6mm and 10mm thick (so you can even make your own cards with a unique design!) My son set up the cards and placed Botley at the start of one end of the black line and all you have to do is push the button on the top of his ‘head’ and he goes! He will follow the black line until it disappears and stop at the end of his path.

The next thing we tried was the obstacle course. You can use the rods, cubes, and flags to set up a maze or obstacle course for Botley to solve. The child gets to pick the start point and end goal and then program him to complete the course (hopefully without bumping into any of the perimeters) There are these awesome directional coding cards kids can place along the path to figure out what steps the robot needs to take to get to the finish line!

With the detachable arms accessories snapped in, you can take it a step further by having Botley roll a ball to the goal! This was a lot of fun to figure out. The children are using trial and error to solve their own course and are introduced to the if/then thought process that all programmers use when coding software. If you make a mistake, you simply clear the code, and input the new steps until you get it right!

This toy teaches kids spacial direction, sequencing, critical thinking and more! It is a wonderful STEM resource especially for young children around the age of 5. Learning Resources’ website has a lot of activities and ideas to offer that involve Botley. There are free printables including charts and games. You can even teach Botley to spell and do math and they mix in geometry by having Botley complete a course by tracking different shapes. I cannot wait to dive in more and experience everything Botley has to offer! I love that this is a resource that grows with children!

This small introduction to coding really generated a spark in my son and he asked to do more in the field. Our local library happened to be hosting a free coding for kids class a few days after we bought him so we attended that and my son got to apply his Botley skills toward coding a game on the computer. I’m thrilled that this love of tech and critical thinking is blossoming in my children and am happy to foster that interest!

Comment below if you have Botley and if you have any other ideas of how we can use him!