Botley the Coding Robot

Image by Botley

Teach kids basic coding skills by letting them program Botley to zoom around the room, draw shapes, and even avoid obstacles!

The Learning Resources company won its first ever Innovative Toy of the Year TOTY Award for Botley the Coding Robot. Botley, the second member of Learning Resources’ screen-free coding robot family, is for children ages 5-8. Learning Resources also created Code & Go Robot Mouse featuring Colby the Mouse.

Like his rodent cousin Colby, Botley teaches children the basics of sequencing and spatial concepts. However, he goes a step further by using loops and conditionals.

Botley is programmed using a Remote Programmer (a remote control) to code his movements. The Remote Programmer has 4 directional command buttons. Forward and Reverse move Botley one step – each step equals about 8 inches. The Turn Left and Turn Right buttons rotate Botley 90 degrees. On top of the remote is a Transmit button that sends a program to Botley. There is a Clear button that deletes all previously programmed steps. The 2 advanced buttons include Object Detection (for If/Then) and Loop which allows Botley to repeat a sequence.


Children can learn basic sequencing by programming Botley to travel to a specific point. Notice the cards which describe the code to be entered. In the following example, Botley is programmed to catch up to his friend Colby the Mouse. To accomplish this, a child could enter the following sequence:

Forward, Forward, Forward, Left, Forward –> Transmit

Programming Botley to catch up to his rodent friend, Colby the Mouse


Botley can be programmed to move in the pattern of a shape using just 3 buttons. Every time the loop button is pressed, Botley will repeat that sequence.

First, press Clear to delete the previous program. Next enter the following sequence:

Loop, Forward, Right, Loop, Loop, Loop –> Transmit

Can you guess what shape will be created?

Botley will get a little loopy from this program!


Kids can use Botley’s object detection sensor to “see” objects in his path using If/Then.
First, press Clear to delete the previous program. Next, place an obstacle directly in front of Botley. Enter the following sequence:

Forward, Forward, Forward –> Transmit

Notice what happens (clue – there will be a crash!). To avoid this, take advantage of If/Then statements!

Move Botley back to his starting position. Again, place the obstacle directly in Botley’s path.
This time, do not press Clear to delete the previous program. We will add the following code to enable object detection. Now Botley will know what to do when he “sees” an object in his path:

Object Detection Button, Right, Forward, Left –> Transmit

Botley will execute the sequence. Now when Botley “sees” the obstacle, he will go around it and continue his path to complete the original program.

Botley using If/Then to avoid the pesky blocks and reach his target

Hidden Features

Botley has some secret features that can be discovered by trying out different programs! The company has only shared a few of the secret code. Here is one to try:

Right, Right, Right, Right, Left, Left, Left, Left –> Transmit

Cuteness alert – Botley will get very dizzy! Can you discover any others?

Learn More


Botley Coding Robot Review

Botley video

Party with Botley in the classroom

Botley Printables

Botley teaches coding

Coding robots

Botley Coding Fun

Colby Robot Mouse Tutorial

Robot mouse coding activities

Colby the Amazing Mouse

Robot Mouse games

Activity set

Robot mouse coding for kids

Best robot coding toys for kids



  • Bianca Rivera

    Bianca is a school librarian at East Islip School District where she leads a Technology Club for grades 3-5 students.

Also In The October 2019 Issue

Bring out your virtual carving knives — it’s time to give your digital pumpkins some spooky faces!

30+ ideas for STEAM-theme gifts for kids of all ages!

Teach kids basic coding skills by letting them program Botley to zoom around the room, draw shapes, and even avoid obstacles!

How 3D printing could help us get to Mars, and create new tools, homes, spacecrafts — even organs!

No discussion of design is complete without the history of lorem ipsum. It's more than placeholder text you stuff into a visual design.

"Hello World!" is one of the first programs you learn how to code. Here's the phrase in 4 languages with links to 100 more examples.

Learn the delicious-sounding secrets that websites use to keep your passwords safe from hackers.

A simple, quirky theorem with big applications, from picking socks to counting hairs.

Are you ready to create your virtual own solar system? With a little Python code and a little math, the sky’s the limit!

Learn some of the tricks game developers use to simulate an extra dimension.

How scammers can trick you into downloading malware onto your own computer.

There are pros and cons to networking all the “smart” devices in your home. What surprises does the future hold?

Sometimes, even the most dynamic languages need to classify and check data. Now, you can add your own types to any language!

Is it possible to steal software? And how do we know who owns code?

Check out this nifty feature that helps programs distinguish between variables with different scopes.

Create a simple electronic game with CircuitPython and Adafruit, and test your reflexes against friends and family!

Links from the bottom of all the October 2019 articles, collected in one place for you to print, share, or bookmark.

Interested but not ready to subscribe? Sign-up for our free monthly email newsletter with curated site content and a new issue email announcement that we send every two months.

No, thanks!