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Cracking the Code to Develop a Robot Suitable for the Youngest Audience

Michael Blaustein, Learning Resources, Inc., Inventor of Botley the Coding Robot, the All-in-One Coding Activity Set for Kids as Young as Five

In our digital age, coding is key. In fact, some say that coding is the literacy of the 21st century. Until recently, building this STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skill was more common with older children. However, at Learning Resources, we believe that coding, logic and critical thinking skills are vital for even our youngest learners. Helping younger kids develop a passion for STEM helps them gain the valuable life skills and confidence needed to succeed now and in the future.

We know from our decades of experience and research that the best way to begin teaching skills to younger kids is to integrate learning with playtime. In 2016, we introduced our Code & Go Robot Mouse set, and the results were phenomenal. With our set, kids learned the basics of coding algorithmic steps, all while helping their mouse friend Colby reach his cheese at the end of a maze.

There are plenty of coding robots out there; leaders in this space such as Dash, Ozobot, and Sphero all offer products that teach kids vital coding and STEM skills in a cool, engaging manner.  However, very few products exist in this space that are both screen-free and targeted at kids as young as age five.

To solve this vital industry and societal need, we focused first on creating a robot that provided the elements of personality, storytelling and whimsy that we find crucial to capturing and holding the attention of our youngest learners. Next, we listened to parents’ concerns about limiting kids’ exposure to tablets and smartphones. The right solution needed to offer a fun, friendly, hands-on coding experience that was still screen-free.

And so, this year at CES we are proud to introduce our new best buddy, Botley the Coding Robot. He is the star of our all-in-one coding robot activity set appropriate for kids as young as age five. With the help of his screen-free, nine-button remote programmer, Botley can move left, right, forward and back, maneuver around objects with obstacle detection and if/then logic, and even follow a black line.Botley is simple to use, but with up to 120 programmable steps, he also grows with kids up to age nine and beyond as their STEM prowess progresses.

We are honored to introduce Botley at CES alongside so many forerunners in this exciting and rapidly evolving space. Come check us out in the Family & Kids Technology Marketplace in Tech West, Sands, Halls A-D, Booth #43070, and learn more at

Michael Blaustein is the Inventor of Botley the Coding Robot. He will speak on the “The Changing Business of Play and Learning” panel at the Kids@Play andFamilyTech Summit, a one-day conference that looks at the way families and kids interact with technology. Join industry experts and pioneers on Wednesday, January 10 during CES 2018 at the Venetian, Level 4, Lando 4302. See the full agenda and register here. Follow the FamilyTech Summit on Twitter and with #FamilyTech. Follow the Kids@Play Summit on Twitter and with #KidsatPlay. Join the entire CES conversation at #CES2018.