STEM toys are growing and growing, not like in our days, when we were young, when the only STEM toy was LEGO. In the past years many companies got serious with STEM toys, and of course they took it really far, and now you have toys that you build them and code them with smart device or a PC, with drag and drop coding, or other child friendly programming apps.
But here is the question – do all parents approve their children to use tablet/smartphone/PC when they are still young? Many toy companies encourage children to use smart technology, because, well in the future most jobs will be IT oriented and being technology literate will be essential and necessary. Is there any other way?
Let me tell you -there is, for children of course. Learning resources developed a robot, you can and must program, but screen free. And this robot’s name is Botley.
What do we know about Botley? In this post botley the coding robot, the review, I will present you everything you need to know about Botley, what is in the box, how does it work, pros and cons, how does Botley benefit children and conclusion.
What Is In The Box?
Product name: Botley the coding robot activity set
Price: 52 $
Number of pieces: 77
Customer reviews: 4.3 out of 5 ( based on 230 + reviews )
Age recommendation: 5+
The box is very beautiful, great design, and when you open it, there is the Botley waiting for you to take it out. On the box there are couples of instructions you can read immediately. What else is in the box:
- Botley the coding robot
- Botley’s detachable arms
- Remote programmer
- 40 coding cards
- 6 double-sided tiles
- 27 obstacle building pieces
How Does Botley Work
Botley work in two different modes – there is button on the bottom of Botley, a switch that goes from off to code or line. Code is for coding, and line is a feature that you need just marker and paper.
Following a Black Line
If you go for a line there is nothing easier than just drawing a black line on the paper. Botley has a sensor, that senses a black line, and program inside it tells him just to follow the line.
So you take white paper, black marker ( It has to be a thick marker, because if you draw with a thin marker there is a possibility that Botley’s sensor will not sense a thin black line) and draw a circle, waving line, just a line or anything you want to. That you choose a line on the switch, and make sure you put Botley on the line where sensor is on the bottom of it, and let him go. The fun part of following the black line is that Botley never stops.
If you draw a straight line, Botley will go/drive to the end of the line, and when the line will end, Botley will know that it is the end of the line, Botley will turn around and proceed, and it will go like this forever.
If you draw a circle, Botley will not turn around because the line doesn’t’t ends.
How To Code Botley?
The learning starts with coding a Botley. To code a botley, you need a remote programmer and to turn switch on code on the bottom of Botley.
Remote programmer is basically a substitute for a smart device. The main job of remote programmer is to type codes through control buttons and then transmit them to Botley. Everything will be explained how remote programmer works, but first you need to know what buttons are on the remote programmer and function of every button:
Forward – Botley goes forwards
Backwards – Botley goes backwards
Left – Botley turns left
Right – Botley turns right
Object detection button – Botley can sense an object
Trach/delete code – if you want to type in new codes, you need to press trash button so it deletes past codes
Repeat button – Botley repeats the last code
Sound volume – to turn sound off or lover
Transmitter button – after you type codes, you press transmitter button to transmit codes to Botley
CODING A BOTLEY
Like mentioned before a remote programmer is necessary for Botley to code it. Codes work like this – forwards, backwards, left and right are basic codes for Botley. You type in path you want Botley to go after. You type in for instance: forwards, left, right and forwards, than when you decide these are “codes” you just press transmitting button, wait couple of seconds so codes are transmitted to Botley, after transmitting is done, Botley will go after the path you typed in. It is simple as that.
If you want to type in new codes, you need to press trash/delete button so former codes are deleted and you can start typing new codes.
If you don’t press trash/delete button, and you will type in “new codes”, botley will first do the path of the codes typed before, and will continue with new codes, so basically it is an upgraded code, nothing else.
Fun part, and very education able as well ( if/cause effect ) is avoiding obstacles. Basically you do coding, and after you typed in codes, you don’t press transmitter button, but you press obstacle avoiding button, and then codes you want a Botley to do if Botley meets obstacle, before getting back on track with former codes, and then press the transmitter button.
Example: you type in forward, forward, obstacle detection button, left, forward, right, transmitter button. Wait couples of seconds, and Botley stars its path, you put an obstacle in front of him, Botley detects it, turn left, goes forward, then turns right, and goes back on its path.
There are so many ways you/child can play with avoiding obstacles.
You can code Botley with up to 80 consecutive codes or steps if you will.
Cards are illustrated with remote programmer controls ( forwards, backwards, left and right), and they can help you/child to remember what codes were typed in the sequence. Just lay them one after one like codes were typed in the remote programmer, and you always know where you are with coding.
How Does Botley Benefit Children
Problem solving – children how to analyze problems and then work to correct them.
Cognitive skills -children build skills like attention, memmory, thinking, cause and effect
Technology literacy – maybe this is not 100% accurate, but children learn basics and fundamentals about coding and how do they work
Critical thinking – children learn how to make reasoned judgment, they want to see what evidence is involved to support particular concluison
- Easy to set up.
- Adorable beeps and noises
- Remote beeps and lights up to indicate that the button was pushed (when coding), which is very helpful
- Comes with a set of cards so kids can put the “moves” in order to help with the coding
- Booklet has 10 coding activities (in increasing difficulty) to get kids started on coding
- Reasonable price
- Hard to share, not a great toy for multiple children to play at once
- Batteries are not included
- If you use a botley with detachable arms for object avoiding, there is a big chance Botley will bump into object with its arms
What more is there to say? Botley is a great product, has a great STEM value for children, it has won a TOTY – toy of the year award, so it looks promising.
Coding is so fun, and easy, and children will not get overwhelmed with coding, like with some STEM toys they do ( a lot of toys need to be programmed with particular software on a PC or tablet).
Overall Botley is a great toy to have, and I would recommend it to everyone. Start learning basics about coding and lay fundamentals of coding.
If you have any question or a comment, please write me in the comment section below, and I will be glad to reply.
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