In a previous post, I shared a printable Pirate Coding Game I created, that was inspired by the Board Game Robot Turtles. As we were getting started with coding, I found that lots of the online apps used this concept of directional arrows to tell the character how many spaces and in which direction to move, step by step to solve the maze.
It seems really simple, but slowing down and spelling out every single direction and step was sometimes a challenge for me! That’s when it became clear it was an important skill for them to learn too.
As you continue to play the online versions, more advanced concepts are introduced. But everyone has to start somewhere, and getting a character through a maze by giving him directions, is a great way for preschoolers to start getting familiar with the concepts they’ll need for coding success in the future.
Other Ways to Play With Code OFFLINE
Although there are a few easy apps for beginners, for preschoolers and kindergarteners, getting started with code really should happen offline.
Here’s another game that’s similar to printable Pirate Coding Game from my friend Sarah at Little Bins for Little Hands. In her SUPERHERO CODING GAME FOR KIDS, use basic programming ideas to help Batman avoid the bad guys and get the jewels! You have to get him to move on the right path around the obstacles using basic programming commands.
IF/THEN Backyard Coding Game For Kids
This game is such a genius way to get kids to think like a coder, I’m sort of jealous I didn’t come up with it first. My friend Anne, over at Left Brain Craft Brain, has this amazing post about an If/Then Backyard Coding Game for kids.
I use If/Then Logic ALL THE TIME in my work as a digital marketer. But I never really stopped to think about how kids could learn and practice this concept in an active and engaging way, without screens. Good thing Anne did it for me.
According to Anne, “If Then is what’s called a conditional statement in programming. The program queries if one condition exists, then it commands it to do something. It can be as basic as a True or False question and answer or it can prompt an action.”
The game is a twist on the old school backyard game, Simon Says and will work for all ages. She even designed 4 different difficulty levels for it, depending on the age of your kids. It will get them using coding vocabulary and understanding the logic. Plus, they’ll be having so much fun they won’t even know they are learning!
This game from Teach Your Kids Code is SUPER FUN!!
What kid wouldn’t love bossy “Mommy Robot” around and then squirting her with a water shooter??
It works just like many of the other screen-free games I’ve shared, to get kids familiar with giving directions.
Learning Resources Let’s Go Code! Activity Set
Learning Resources, one of my all-time favorite companies for educational toys and games, has this Let’s Go Code! Activity Set available on their website and Amazon. It comes with a full-color guide that has sample mazes you can set up with the foam mats and an overview of coding.
This game is a great way for kids to learn Critical thinking, Sequential thought, Problem solving, Gross motor skills, Directional sense, and Following directions.
Learning resources also makes the Code & Go Mouse Robot Activity Set.
My kids had a blast learning to program the robot mouse to follow directions and find it’s way through the maze they set up for it.
Even More Screen-Free Coding Fun
Brown Bear Brown Bear Coding Game for Preschoolers from Preschool Steam
Algorithm Coding Game from Little Bins for Little Hands
Coding for Kids from Science Sparks
DIY Computer Coding Camp from iGame Mom
Unplugged Coding Bundle from Rosie’s Superstars on Teachers Pay Teachers