Children can experiment with coding through engaging and hands-on stories and activities. It explains many early math and literacy concepts while also encouraging teamwork and participation.

What Exactly is Coding?

Coding is the process of writing step-by-step instructions that a computer can understand and use to run its programs. It makes gaming systems, smart devices, cars, and even washing machines work effectively.

Early coding (also known as precoding) provides children with opportunities to practice communication, thinking, and problem-solving skills. These 21st-century skills will help kids succeed in today’s digital environment.

There are numerous coding-related learning activities that children already participate in. During a treasure hunt, when they build and use maps to discover a treasure, they learn about creating commands or employing directed language. 

Children are drawn to activities that allow them to experiment with movement, direction, and location. Many of the concepts addressed in these activities, such as spatial thinking and number sense, are essential elements of coding that children can practice without using a computer.

The earlier children learn the fundamentals of coding, the easier it will be for them to learn, comprehend, and apply it later in life.

What Information do Children Require?

Children should be introduced to directional vocabulary such as up and down, backward and forward, left and right, in order to participate successfully in precoding activities. They must learn to count with ordinals (first, second, and third) and comprehend the concept of a one-to-one relationship.

Location and movement-based activities, such as playing board games and giving directions to peers in pretend play, provide some basic knowledge and serve as entry points for children into coding activities.

Code Stories and Games Use Math

Coding necessitates spatial reasoning as well as logic. Children’s math skills are augmented by actively encouraging them in direction, position, and movement. As they relate things and locations to one another, children must count the spaces they must cross and indicate the direction they are traveling. Coding combines a variety of math skills into a single, engaging experience.

Code Stories and Games Encourage Problem Solving 

Children can explore multiple possibilities for a solution and pick the most efficient one when coding presents a challenge to the user or when there are multiple solutions to the same problem. The way to succeed in these activities is to plan.

Code Stories and Games Improve Communication.

When a kid codes, they must provide another person with instructions. Their communications must be concise and not lengthy. When two children play coding games together, the child who receives the instructions must be a good listener in order to move the coding pieces correctly. Coding requires clear communication and taking turns.

Code Stories and Games Promote Literacy

Coding games frequently tell a story—the programmer follows a path to move an object through various obstacles and situations, eventually arriving at the goal. Coding games might be based on children’s imaginary stories. This aids in the development of children’s vocabulary and comprehension of texts. They can even modify the outcome of a favorite narrative by experimenting with multiple endings in the coding activity.

Getting Started

  • Use masking tape to make grid squares on the floor or tabletop.
  • Select your story and gather the necessary props. For example, if it’s Red Riding Hood, you’ll need a version of the book.
  • Ascertain the storyline and the path they are coding.

Determine the character’s start and endpoints and the path they follow. The character in Red Riding Hood begins at a cottage and travels into the woods, where she encounters a wolf. Ensure the story is retold in the correct order and makes sense. If children are creating their own stories, they can arrange different locations or obstacles around the grid for a character to get through.

The Gameplay

Start with the character at the top of the grid and then add the surroundings or obstacles in the order they appear. Next, set up the commands. Use visual symbols such as arrows for directives. Choose a gamer and a coder. The programmer gives the coding directives. The gamer is the one who moves the character on the grid by following the coder’s commands.

The programmer gives commands to the gamer, such as “Go up 1,” “Go forward 2,” and likewise, who moves the character around the grid accordingly. The coder symbol cards in each square as it moves to represent the direction of the motion on the grid. All of the moves must be coded until the finish point is achieved.

Encourage children to complete the entire course, giving and following accurate directions without skipping grid squares. Make sure the directional arrows remain in place throughout the game to depict the character’s journey. The path is complete when the player arrives at the ultimate destination! 

Other children can participate in the story and modify it.

Another Game Option

Children who have mastered early coding can use it independently in a variety of ways after they have gained confidence in it. Create scavenger hunts by hiding treasures in squares of the grid; children can then use a coded message to send one another to a specific tile and collect the reward.

Hopscotch Re-imagined

This game requires chalk and a blank slate to draw your artwork! The objective is for everyone to complete the “Hopscotch Maze” by following a set of instructions. If someone makes a mistake, they must restart and debug their algorithm!

Begin by tracing a basic hopscotch board on the ground. Boxes 1 through 10 are numbered. Next, draw a huge box where the programmer can write instructions. Decide who will be the “programmer” and “computer.”

To begin with, have the programmer draw an arrow in the direction that their “computer friend” should jump. The “computer” must stay on the hopscotch board at all times. The coder can either instruct the computer to go from 1 to 10 or create its own unique path.

The buddy jumps in the direction of the arrow drawn by the coder. To begin with, have the coder deliver instructions one by one. Once that’s done, have the programmer start sequencing numerous paths at once to create an algorithm.

Do you wish to teach coding to your children? Problem-solving, reasoning, and critical thinking seem to be skills that coding develops for children. Many of the abilities learnt in coding may be applied to other fields. Let us know your feedback on this BYJU’S FutureSchool blog.


About the Author

More than just Coding and Math! Our proprietary, activity-based curriculum with live, real-time instruction facilitates: Problem Solving. Creative Thinking. Grit. Confidence. Communication