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Activities to teach your kids coding without a computer

teach coding without computers

Coding is essentially the language that computers use. While teaching a kid coding, the first thing that comes to mind is a computer. However, there are many ways to learn computer coding without a computer, as many thinking and coding aspects can be learned through different off-screen activities.

Coding has been made fun through the use of graphics, various websites, and now even toys. With kids learning to program at the primary level of education, toys with coding capabilities are ruling the toy world. Almost every new product on the market promises to teach children to be the best in programming while having fun at the same time.

The Morning Routine Practice

One key coding skills is to break big tasks into smaller achievable steps. This is known as decomposing, which is a lifetime skill that can be applied to any task in life. Thus, the ‘morning routine’ practice is designed to prepare kids for coding. While helping kids understand the process of the morning routine and also recalling the sequence of steps which is important to improve overall functioning, this process also helps the child tackle other situations and problems in a similar way. It essentially teaches the child to decompose a task, break it into steps, and execute one step after another till the end result is achieved. The more the kids practice, the better they will get at the task. This can be followed with any routine, even a bedtime one or ‘getting ready for school’ routine among other daily activities.

Makey Makey – The Invention Kit

Another offline activity Makey Makey: an invention kit for everyone, is a simple circuit board that lets children reprogram the world by building a connection everyday objects to a computer. It is an electronic invention that uses a circuit board, alligator clips, and a USB cable and closed loop electrical signals that are received by a computer. This function allows the Makey Makey to work with any computer program or webpage that accepts keyboard or mouse click inputs.

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The Hot Dog Robot Chef

Yet another game is one that includes teaching a robot how to make hot dogs. A basic summary of the game is that it a Hot dog restaurant. The owner has recruited a new helper who is a robot. The child is required to train the robot to make hot dogs. Since robot is not human, he is not familiar with what a hot dog is and thus does not know how to make one. The child will then have to create detailed instructions, which the robot will understand and execute.

Before beginning the game, ask the child to describe how they would make a hot dog and make a list to draw out the process. When kids finish describing the hot dog making process, teachers can talk with them about the materials needed and the action sequence.  The child is also taught that there are certain elements that not everyone would want on their hot dog, thus introducing them to the concept of the ‘if statement’ in coding.

Designing the instructions is essentially like the coding process. Once that is done, the child can run a trial with a human to see if the instructions or codes are understandable, thus educating them about the test and debug stage, of checking their codes and debugging it if there are any discrepancies. Once that is done, the child can proceed to use the ‘codes’ for the robot in the game.

Thus, the game introduces them to the various concepts in coding which are essential to the process.

Robot Turtles

Playing any game is an easy and effective way of combine fun and learning offline. Robot Turtles is a board game that teaches coding basics to kids. First, the board has to be set up with the turtle tile in a corner and the jewel tiles in the center. The, the child has to use the code cards to move the turtle tile left, right, up or bug. Once it reaches a jewel, the player is the winner. The game encourages the development and refinement of planning and sequential reasoning skills. While playing, the kids will also learn about coding and functions as well as develop planning and sequential reasoning skills. Skilled coders should be able to anticipate all probable situations and to incorporate the best solutions, not only into coding, nut also as a life skill.

Code-a-Pillar: A learning guide

The Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar uses completely different segments of its body to demonstrate coding basics, like sequencing and programming, to kids. Each piece is color-coded and marked with a distinct symbol. Grouping the parts in various sequences will cause the toy to manoeuvre in several ways, or perhaps move toward a particular marker. Instead of learning online or through a screen, the Code-a-Pillar offers kids a unique and active way to acquaint themselves with these ideas while having fun at the same time. The toy additionally pairs with a free companion app for iOS or android.

Parents looking at maximum utilisation of the toy might purchase three different growth packs, each of which will allow the caterpillar to perform extra actions, like turning 180 degrees or making completely different sounds and light patterns. 

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It is never too early to learn coding, apparently. This smiley electronic caterpillar that is made for children above the age of three, breaks into nine different segments that can be organized in numerous sequences to make the insect move left, right or wiggle. Once they get comfortable with the toy, the users can place targets around the area and programme a pattern for the toy to perform, so that the toy will reach it. The toy has additional lights and sounds that help attract the attention of the user, who in this case might be a preschool toddler. 

Hello Ruby – The Learning Book

‘Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding’ is a book that aims to introduce programming concepts to young students. It teaches kids to how break big problems into small problems, look for patterns, create detailed plans, and think outside the box. These basic concepts can be reinforced through fun activities that encourage creativity in the child. The main aim of this book is to introduce children to basic coding concepts, not to teach them the language.

The main character of the book is Ruby, who is a very imaginative and determined girl. She is ready to solve any problem that comes her way. As she makes new friends, like the Snow Leopard among others, kids will also be introduced to the fundamentals of computational thinking in each chapter. The book includes exercises that incorporate play and creativity, with pictures and activities. It introduces children to coding without using a computer.

Lego Maze

Another game that helps children understand coding without a computer is Lego Maze. With four levels of difficulty, the game introduces kids to different coding concepts, like loops and conditional statements. Depending on the level, children can create a set of commands, to guide the character through the maze as efficiently as possible.

These LEGO mazes, which can be solved using code on paper rather than a computer, consists of four levels of difficulty. At the end of the four levels, most kids will realize that it is easier for the LEGO figure to understand his ways rather than wandering around aimlessly. This could ignite a discussion of more advanced programming concepts such as memory and stored variables.

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Binary bracelets

Binary bracelets are also useful in teaching kids about coding. They are the simplest forms of computer code. The system uses numbers 0 and 1 to represent letters, digits and other such characters. As the primary computer language, it is the main way that most devices send, receive and store information. Children can practice using binary codes by making binary bracelets using alphabets converted into binaries. This technique can be used with names, places or any such category. It is a great way to introduce coding to children.

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