The standard assumption is that in order to learn to code you need a computer. To some degree this is true, but not in all cases. In this article, we’ll present ideas and options for teaching coding concepts to kids without the use of a computer. We call this “Offline Coding”. What better time to learn to code while being offline than during the summer. It’s always good to be balanced so even if you’re 100 percent into coding, theCoderSchool always recommends to not forget to participate in physical activities as well. The summer is a perfect time to try out offline coding. Go outdoors as well if you can and get some sunshine with vitamin D.
Offline coding is not only just something worthwhile because it can give your eyes a break combined with some physical exercise, but it can also be a nice and needed change of pace. Learning to code is not easy and grinding away on the computer for hours requires lots of breaks and at times a change of pace can really make a difference.
If all this sounds like it makes sense to you, and you’re interested in offline coding, here’s a few ideas for you.
Activities & Games
Teach kids about binary numbers which are the basis of all coding languages through a fun physical activity. Great for groups of 3-5 so if you have more, simply break them into a few different groups and perhaps make it a competition. The goal of the game is to line the kids up and have each of them represent one binary number, a zero or a one. But they have to be lined up and each becomes a one by raising their hand or remains a zero by keeping their hands down. There place is what’s key. So if you have 3 kids, the one on the far right can be a 1 or 0 with 1 or 0 being the value. The second one can be a 1 or 0, but their value is either a 2 or 0. The 3rd one can have a value of 4 or 0. You call out a number and they have to represent it as a team. It builds team and collaboration skills. You have to understand how binary works to run this activity, but it can be lots of fun.
Another fun activity is to have one kid be the sprite and the other kids have to take turns giving them specific instructions like turn 90 degrees and go 3 steps. You can build a coordinate playing field using cones for them to use. Be creative with this one as well and do all kinds of variations like having one kid be a sprite that has to get across the playing field as the other kids are trying to capture them. But each kid can only either turn of go 1-2 steps.
Teach the kids about sorting efficiency by having them all stand in a line and try to make the least amount of comparisons in order to get themselves in line sorted by height. You can also do this with bottles of water if that’s easier.
Play Techionary – This is essentially Pictionary but you only select technology items to draw. This can get the kids really in a frenzy of competitive fun!
Play Coding Simon Says – Kids have to do what Simon says, but mostly movements based on the x/y coordinate system. Simon says if you’re wearing a green shirt to move along the X axis 2 spaces.
If free form activities and games aren’t your thing, you can always go with something more structured and known such as a purchased board game. There’s quite a few out there, but here’s a few of our favorites.
1. Code Master – This is a great board game which is fun for beginners up to advanced as well. It’s amazing how they’ve put these coding challenges into a fun board game. You have to try it to believe it.
2. Rush Hour – I’m sure you may have already seen this one as it’s quite popular. You’re forced to use your logic skills to get a car out of a a traffic jam.
3. Chocolate Fix – This one is similar to Rush Hour in that it’s super engaging and just about as popular. This tends to be a great one for the kids as its primary pieces are all cupcakes.
Other resources for Ideas
The field of teaching kids to code is growing quite fast and so are the resources. Here’s just a couple of the resources available that you can browse to get tons more great offline coding ideas.
In order to learn to code, you will always need a computer in the end. We just want everyone to know that along your journey of learning to think like a coder, you can employ quite a few things that don’t require a computer to make it more fun, dynamic, and keep things interesting. Balance is the key. It’s not just with with diet, but pretty much everything is better and healthier in moderation. A Code Coach® from a Coder School can work with you to help maintain your healthy coder balance.