What first attracted me to Botley is that it teaches basic coding skills without using a screen. There are lots of programming toys and apps, but most of them require a tablet, smartphone, or computer to operate. My daughter has some behavioral issues that get exacerbated by screen use so I try to keep screens to a minimum.
Botley, made by Learning Resources, is a lot of fun. As you can see by the photo, it is incredibly cute – appealing to both children and teens. This robot is recommended for ages 5 and up. While younger children can get the hang of using the remote (especially to have Botley follow a dark line or to avoid obstacles) and have a great time with the included obstacle-building pieces, they will most likely need some help for any of the actual programming tasks. My teen son had a great time with programming and trying to have Botley do different things. This is definitely a toy that appeals to a wide range of ages.
Botley includes coding cards that can be used to have a visual flowchart of the tasks you have programmed into the remote. While anyone interested in actual programming or robotics would eventually need to move on from this relatively simple robot, Botley is a great beginning educational tool.
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