Tuesday 27 November 2018

Botley The Coding Robot Activity Set Review Age 5-9 (sent by Learning Resources)

Learning Resources might not have the snappiest name in the business, but they have some of the most interesting toys. Designed, as you'd expect, to stimulate your child's brain while they play, the hardwearing and long-lasting toys and games from Learning Resources are not only used at home, they're also popular in schools and nurseries.

They've sent us the Botley The Coding Robot Activity Set to review. This is aimed at children aged 5-9. My youngest child is 8 and he's reviewed with a 9 year old friend.

Opening the box is exciting because it has a little window on the front and is full of colour. You will need 5 x AAA batteries (3 for Botley and 2 for the Remote Control) and a tiny Phillips screwdriver, otherwise it's ready to go straight out of the box. Minimal packaging, nothing to undo and a useful storage box for afterwards. Christmas morning-friendly as long as you've got those batteries.

There is loads to look at and encourage interest. Lots of "what does this do?" and it's all explained in the instruction booklet which is very thin actually. Very concise but still clear. Perfect for young children - they don't want to spend half an hour reading a manual, they want to get stuck in!

Included in this bumper 77 piece set are:

Botley The Coding Robot
Easy-to-use Remote Programmer
Detachable Robot Arms - to move obstacles and score goals etc
40 double-sided Coding Cards to keep track of and plan your code
Six double sided boards with a wiggly line to follow on one side
A sheet of stickers for customisation
A variety of accessories to create obstacles and activities for Botley: Eight sticks, 12 cubes, two cones, two flags, two balls and a goal

I think it's brilliant that there is a Remote Control and your child is not expected to have a phone or tablet to control Botley. Young children don't always have access to phones and even though this is technology-based, it's nice to be away from screens doing something different.

Botley has 3 setting - Off, Code and Line. Switch to Code and programming Botley is easy using the enclosed Remote Programmer. The commands are simple to understand and your child can use the pack of Coding Cards to either plan their commands or keep track as they program.

A complete novice can start by making their robot walk forward a step and within minutes they can make him dance, push toys and walk about wherever they fancy. They'll have expanded their STEM skills (science, technology, engineering and maths) without even breaking sweat.

Once your child is comfortable with the easy stuff then Botley has more skills. He has Object Detection to stop him bumping into obstacles and sensors to see a line on the ground so that he can follow it. Lines are supplied on the large jigsaw shaped boards, or you can make your own...

You can even make amendments to your track while it's in action. The boys had to work out exactly how thick the line needs to be...

Botley and his accessories can be used to create mazes and pathways, and you can use the objects as obstacles or score points for bumping into them. Botley doesn't stop there though, he has detachable arms which help him perform even more tasks, such as moving balls and blocks and scoring goals.

With his arms attached Botley doesn't use Object Detection, but when he does he will walk around objects instead of hitting them. There's a lot of scope here and the parts in this set can be used in a multitude of ways.

A 5 year old child can use Botley and begin to program him immediately, but I expect more from 8 and 9 year olds, so I set them a challenge to create some more interesting programs for Botley...

The Botley The Coding Robot Activity Set is a fabulous set which has loads of scope for a huge range of activities across a broad ability level. It's an ideal introduction to coding for young children and they'll learn the basics of block programming without even realising or needing a screen.

Children need to problem solve and adjust their code until it works - this is science and maths and all kinds of skills that will last a lifetime. Teach your children to programme robots and not be one...

Learning Resources have a huge range of toys and games to support children's learning and give them much more than something to fill their time in a fun way. Their products are durable and strong and designed to outlast your child's interest.

Our Botley The Coding Robot Bumper Activity Set (77 Pieces) has an rrp of £79.00, which is very fair value for the longevity, quality, technology and educational benefits. This is a beautiful set and offers challenge to keep children interested. They'll want to create a bigger and better route and beat their own previous best...

We were sent Botley for review.

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