The adorable, little android introduces kids ages 5 and up to STEM lessons and basic coding fundamentals without the use of a screen. The 77-piece kit lets kids create obstacles and tasks for Botley to complete, such as moving colorful blocks and beating obstacle courses. The wide-eyed bot rolls across the floor or the included puzzle tiles, following your remote transmitted commands and directions when you choose the “coding” setting.
While in this mode, kids can learn If/Then programming and behavior used daily, especially when Object Detection is turned on. Botley can “see” objects using a sensor between his eyes and stops before knocking into them.
Kids can also equip Botley with robot arms and program him to carry objects like the cubes, cones, and balls also included in the kit.
For even more fun, Botley can roll around on “line” mode, following the curvy lines on the back of the tiles using the sensor beneath him or tracing lines you’ve drawn with black marker on paper.
The activity guide also lists Easter egg sequences and Botley’s webpage to program him to perform secret tricks and to display hidden features. This allows the robot to grow with your kid as his or her coding skills expand.
Botley also helps kids develop large and small motor skills, including hand-eye coordination, balance, dexterity, physical awareness, and prepares them for school subjects, including math, logic, language, and science. While the guide’s coding challenges were great for getting accustomed to the robot, it is just as much fun for kids to develop their own codes and obstacles. The included coding cards came in handy to help them remember those codes as they go along.
Although Botley comes with one remote control, I recommend programming him with a friend to boost the challenge. A friend building the obstacles while kids develop a code to avoid them, pushes them to get even more creative with codes.
Botley’s ability to teach kids necessary skills for the modern age while remaining easy, fun, and up-to-date makes the $79.99 price tag well worth it.
After a few years with Botley, parents could be raising the future Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg in their households.