What is B4T?

The Bots 4 Tots Mission Statement:

The goal of Bots 4 Tots is to bring robotics to the lives of curious youngsters who would not have the opportunity to learn about the craft otherwise.

Every penny that is donated to Bots 4 Tots becomes a beginner’s robotics workshop for a Chicago area child. Robot City Workshop sponsors these sessions at its Lakeview store (one block away from Sheffield and Belmont).

For every $25.00 donation, 1 child gets:

  1. A complete build-your-own-robot kit, that he or she will assemble at our workshop and take home that day.
  2. A fun and engaging environment in which to build his or her robot: the classroom located at the Robot City Workshop store.
  3. All the tools the child will need to complete the build-your-own-robot kit, courtesy of the Robot City Workshop.
  4. Helpful guidance for those often-tricky instructions: Bots 4 Tots Founders, Don and Alexis, as well as Robot City Workshop employees will be available to assist the child because we want them to succeed at their first attempt! (They’ll have their fair share of trouble-shooting down the line if they pick up the hobby!)

Please note that a donation does note ensure a workshop spot. Your donation will provide a free educational experience that will be donated without bias via online sign-ups after May 31st. Robot City Workshop has many comparable classes available if you would like to enroll your child or a child that you know!

Any Chicago area child between the ages of 10-15 is eligible to sign up online after May 31st! Subscribe to our newsletter and/or RSS feed to receive announcement of online sign-ups!

Every session will have no more than 5 children in it so that the proper attention can be given to each child. Bots 4 Tots would be an ineffective program for the most part if we just put the kits in these kids’ hands and told them to go off and figure it out. The feeling of accomplishment in completing their first project will inspire many of these children to continue learning and to consider the possibilities that they could create if they keep at it. The success is in realizing that they can do it; it’s not just adult stuff!

This is the robotics kit that will be showcased in our workshops:

OWI Roboticss Jungle Robot

OWI Robot's "Jungle Robot"

This non-solder robot requires minimal tools (just side cutters and a screwdriver) and is ideal for beginners and children ages 10 and up. It is the winner of the “Dr. Toy 100 Best Children’s Products” as well as the “Dr. Toy 10 Best High-Tech Products“.

The parts for this kit look like this:

Each session will last about 2 hours.

Sessions will be formally announced and available for kids to sign up for after May 31st. Availability will be limited to the amount of donations we receive.

Parents are welcome to chaperon and watch, and encouraged to get inspired! The kits and workshops, however, are for the kids only. There are plenty of take-home projects for sale at Robot City Workshop, and we highly suggest that parents purchase one- not only to provide that next step in robotics exploration for your child at home, but also to give thanks to Robot City Workshop, which has made Bots 4 Tots possible!

Robotics kits are fun for the whole family! Get a more challenging one to do together after the Bots 4 Tots workshop! Sign up for a soldering class together, and really dive into the world of hobby electronics and robotics!


Bots 4 Tots is:

Don Thacker, Founder

Don grew up taking apart everything that he could get his hands on. His favorite toy was a robot, and everything computerized or electronic was a source of fascination to him. He continues to enjoy hobby electronics and robotics to this day, and works professionally as a programmer for an internet marketing company. He founds Bots 4 Tots with the hope that he can pass on his love of electronics to as many kids as possible, and inspire some of them to pursue the hobby beyond our workshops, possibly into a future career.

Alexis Nordling, Founder

Alexis grew up watching her Mom take apart everything she could get her hands on, but she had seen sparks fly too many times to think that she would be anything but unsuccessful (and electrocuted to boot) if she tried. However, Don coerced her into assembling and soldering her first circuit in 2007, and the only thing she could think was how much she had missed out on. Very early on in life, and also thanks to her Mom, she gained an awareness of the importance of community service. Alexis finds working with children especially rewarding, and knows that Bots 4 Tots will be fun for all kids involved, but may forever enhance the lives of some.

Greg Gilla, Owner of Robot City Workshop

Greg started Chicago’s Robot City Workshop in order to make robotics more accessible to the members of his community, from the basic beginner to the serious hobby roboticist. Part of his goal in opening the Robot City Workshop is to educate the public, to inspire that spark of robot-induced joy in the eyes of kids and adults alike through the workshops and kits that the store offers. Greg has charitably offered his resources toward the fruition of Bots 4 Tots’s goal, as our missions fit hand in robotic claw.

Aaron Bowden, New Media Graphic Designer

Aaron’s work speaks for itself; he whipped up the B4T logo that you see featured on our website, as well as the overall design theme. He made our design presence unique and impressive out of sheer love for both bots and tots, and we think he is the bomb!

Questions or Comments? Want to get involved?

Contact us at [email protected] or visit the Robot City Workshop to pick up a pamphlet and see the location.