Introduces important coding skills
Easy to use
Appropriate for young kids
Could be too difficult for young kids
We purchased the Learning Resources Botley the Coding Robot Activity Set so our writer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.
There are many awesome toys on the market that help teach kids to code, but most of them involve more screen time, which I’ve been trying to limit with my 8-year-old daughter. Still, I want her to learn as much about STEM concepts as possible, so I was excited when I heard that Botley the Coding Robot is a robot that kids can program with a simple remote—no tablet or phone screen required. We spent some time with Botley to see if it could keep her attention and understand the basics of coding. Read on to see if it worked.
Design: Simple but durable
Botley’s outer shell is more basic than some of the other coding robots on the market, but that’s not necessarily a negative. It looks like a rectangle robot made of hard plastic, but Botley's pretty cute with large eyes and removable arms. The robot has lights on the top of its body that help indicate when it understands a code and two wheels almost as tall as Botley.
The robot comes with a ton of accessories—77 pieces, to be exact. There were plastic cones, hard plastic cubes, and flags in the box, among many other things. It comes with several cardboard puzzle pieces that have thick black lines on one side and colorful computer chip designs on the other.
I liked that Botley doesn't have delicate parts, and it didn’t bother me that this robot looks less sophisticated than the competition. Kids are hard on toys—mine included—but Botley is durable, and it would be hard to break it during normal play. Botley ran into walls, chairs, and coffee tables without a single scuff.
Learning: Works like a charm
Botley is a clever way for kids to learn the basics of coding, and it worked like a charm on my youngest daughter. The robot is designed to be programmed through the remote, with large buttons with arrows and other symbols that are easy to identify. My daughter has a limited amount of experience with this type of toy, but she could still figure out the buttons without my help.
She was also able to code Botley on her own. The booklet contains instructions on how to complete basic codes, and they were simple enough for my daughter to follow. The first couple of codes are just a series of forward, right, and left. Once she had those down, she made the robot turn, spin, and roll without the cheat sheet. At one point she made it dance.
Botley can do more than respond to codes. It has two modes: line and code. When the bot is in "line" mode, it follows the thick black lines on the puzzle pieces. We switched on "line" mode, placed it on top of the black line, and then pressed the button on the robot's head. Botley followed the line without help. We spent a lot of time rearranging the pieces into new tracks that Botley could follow.
Entertainment Value: Hours of fun
Botley is surprisingly entertaining. The robot doesn’t talk or interact, but once, when it rolled under the couch right after it was turned on, my daughter couldn’t stop laughing about it. We had a hard time getting the robot from underneath the couch, but my daughter figured out how to do it after flipping through the instruction booklet.
That wasn’t the only time Botley made her laugh. She got really good at making the robot spin in circles—if you code it right, it can spin up to 80 times in a row. After a few spins, she would dissolve into giggles.
This little robot has been pretty entertaining for me, too. It was cute to hear my daughter attempting to coax Botley or redirect it with her voice instead of the coding remote. I liked knowing that she was playing with a toy that is teaching her a skill.
Age Range: All ages
Botley is recommended for children ages 5 to 8, but I'd bet this robot would probably be entertaining for kids a little older than that.
I liked knowing that she was playing with a toy that is teaching her a skill.
Price: A little pricey for a toy
Botley sells for about $50. That price point can be a bit expensive for a toy, but it's less expensive for a coding robot than some of the other ones on the market. Plus, it’s just as good as the competition.
Competition: Several coding robots on the market
Anki Cozmo Robot: This is another robot that teaches children the basics of coding through play. Cozmo looks a little more sophisticated, and he can do quite a bit more, but he’s also nearly four times more expensive at nearly $200. It would also be pretty difficult to use for kids in Botley’s age range.
Wonder Workshop Dash Coding Robot: Another alternative to Botley, this toy retails for about $150. It is geared more toward children ages 8 and up. It is pretty cool, responds to voice commands, and can do a ton of things that Botley can’t. Still, for kids younger than 8, Botley would be more appropriate.
A great choice for young tech junkies.
Botley the Coding Robot is a great tool to teach young kids the basics of coding. This toy is a little pricey for a toy, but to give kids an early introduction to STEM concepts, Botley makes it possible to do that.
- Product Name Botley the Coding Robot Activity Set
- Product Brand Learning Resources
- MPN LER2935
- Price $79.99
- Weight 1.2 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 9 x 9 x 6.2 in.
- Recommended Age Range 5 to 8
- What's Included Botley includes a 77-piece activity set, which includes coding cards, detachable arms, interactive obstacles, and code games