Menu & Search

Botley the Coding Robot from Learning Resources – Review

Botley the Coding Robot from Learning Resources – Review

If you’re trying to get young kids interested in coding, Botley is a robot to have a look at. Designed by Learning Resources for children as young as 5 years old, this little guy is bright, colorful and easy to use.

Kids use a remote controller to input commands for Botley to follow. The robot then moves around accordingly. There’s no screen and he doesn’t connect to an app. Coding toys for this age group, all follow the same pattern. They teach kids about the principles of coding by learning about sequencing. What’s make Botley a little bit different is the activity set that comes along with him. Let’s review.

Pros

  • Great for younger kids to start learning about coding.
  • Well made, won’t break easily.
  • Comes with lots of accessories and you can buy more.
  • Plenty of activities to do with Botley straight from the box.
  • Easy to set up.
  • No Screens or Apps necessary.

Cons

  • You can’t use the controller to free play and move the robot unless you code it.

 

Unboxing Botley

There’s quite a bit of stuff. Botley has a huge activity pack, though you can just buy a basic set with the robot on his own. What I like about this coding robot is that he comes with accessories to help you build a playground for him straight out of the box. It means you can get stuck into the coding and worry about the arts and crafts later.

The first thing my daughter did when all the pieces were out of the box was to start making his playground. Though initially, she didn’t understand how to design it, after playing with Botley she understood he moved things around and she began putting the blocks in front of him.

There’s also an additional action challenge accessory set with dominoes, ramps and swing hammers that you can buy. But in this kit, he comes with balls, flags, stickers, coding cards and cones.

What You Get In The Box

  • 1 x Botley Robot
  • 1 x Remote
  • 1 x Detachable arms and glasses
  • 1 x Coding Cards
  • 1 x Puzzle Piece Boards
  • 1 x Accessory Pack – Sticks, cones, balls, cubes, flag, stickers.

How it Works

You use the remote to do the coding. Select your commands by pressing the buttons on the controller. For example ‘forward, forward, left’ and press the big transmit button at the top of the remote. Botley will make a noise and start to move. There is a little icon with a trash can you press to erase the codes you entered and start again. You can use the cards to plan out your coding moves and remember what your commands were. Very simple to use, though I recommend having a quick read at the instructions first.

Botley has two arm attachments, so you can put objects in front of him and he’ll move them around. Fun for trying to get a ball into a goal or just moving stuff about.

There’s a little sensor in the bottom of Botley and you can flick a switch to make him follow a line drawing. The kit comes with 6 giant jigsaw pieces that have plain black lines drawn on them. If you place Botley on the line and he starts to spin, you need to move him up a bit. If there are curves in the line he does a sort of wiggle dance around it.

Since Botley will follow any line and my daughter is going through a Unicorn phase, I printed out a large Unicorn over six A4 pages and stuck them together. Then I went over the edges with a thick black marker. Since it was all curved, he did his ‘left, right left right’ wiggle dance around most of the line. It was a fun craft activity that kept my daughter entertained.

At times I just wanted to free play with Botley and drive him around like a car. I often found myself trying to use the controller like he was a remote control car, but remembered I had to code him to move. A switch on the bottom like the others for ‘Line’ and ‘Code’ would be amazing. Learning and coding are great, but kids just want to play sometimes.

Botley is designed for kids as young as 5 years, but you have to sit with a child that young and help them. The addition of a free play controller mode, would mean a little more independent play for younger kids.
Botley Coding Robot

Overall Verdict

Definitely a thumbs up from me. Botley has survived a few bounces on the ground, so he’s a sturdy piece of kit. I love the simplicity of the robot and the accessories are a huge plus. Learning Resources have a wonderful range of educational toys for kids, worth checking out.

Related:  Dot Creativity Kit for Crafty Kids - Review