You don’t need a computer to learn how to code! Unplugged coding activities and printables to teach children about computer science – without a computer.
Screen Free, Unplugged Coding Activities for Children
Coding is a popular educational topic these days, and with good reason. Computers are everywhere!
But did you know that your child doesn’t need to spend time in front of a screen to learn the basics of coding? There are plenty of hands on ways to learn how computers work without ever looking at a screen.
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Beginner Coding Activities for Kids
Learning to code is like learning a new language. Coding your name in jewelry is a really fun first introduction to binary for kids who are just starting to discover how computers work. You can code your name, the name of the school, or your lucky number in binary.
Once kids are ready to move onto commands, Research Parent has a fantastic free LEGO coding maze printable.
While they do require batteries, there are more and more screen free coding toys for kids. We like Cubetto.
Turing Tumble is a fun unplugged game that teaches kids about logic, and important skill for programming computers.
Unplugged Programming Algorithms
Computers use programming algorithms to complete all sorts of tasks. Programming algorithms convert the input from typing on your computer keyboard into the font you see on your screen. More complex algorithms are used to run self driving cars.
Check out algorithms at work in this demo of a Waymo self driving car:
The video also addresses some of the things we still need to figure out before everyone will switch over to self driving cars.
JDaniel4’s Mom has the best unplugged algorithm coding worksheets! Here are a few of my favorites to start you off:
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar Algorithm Activity
- Cup Stacking Algorithms
- Drawing Forest Animals with Algorithms
Ready for Screens? More Computer Coding Ideas for Kids
Of course, at some point you do need to move to a computer screen. But I hope you realize now that that’s not where you need to start!
Here are some more fun programming and computer science resources for kids:
- Fun Ways Kids Can Learn to Code. This post focuses on introductory programming activities for all ages. Did you know that pretend play can help children learn how to code?
- Learn about the programming language my kids are learning first, as the children of a professional computer scientist.
- Read our review of Sphero, one of the popular robots for you children learning to code.
- Dash and Dot is another popular robot (well technically two robots) that kids can code. We don’t own one, but I know my kids enjoy playing with them at a friend’s house.
Find More Unplugged Learning Ideas
Today’s post is Day 6 in a 10 day series featuring hands on learning activities for kids. Click on the image below to find the entire series!
What are your favorite hands on, unplugged coding activities for kids?
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MaryAnne lives is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.
1 thought on “Unplugged Coding Activities for Kids”
Thanks Maryanne for sharing. It s best to introduce coding the next generation really early in school because most of the future jobs will be artificial intelligence dependent.As a web designer in Kenya, we are far behind in technology, but thanks to blogs like yours, we learn through you. Thank You.
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