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Screen-Free Coding for

Older kids can take turns being the computer. This means they get to set up the board the way they want to and

. I love that you dont lose a turn or get penalized for making a mistake. Just like in real programming, its easy enough to delete the last command and try again until it works right.

The developers of thefree ScratchJr appput it perfectly:

We also love playing a game from Left Brain Craft Braincalled If/Then. Its similar to Simon Says and gets the kids up and moving. My kids love issuing crazy hard commands, but it makes the game ridiculously fun!

Screen-Free Coding for Preschool and Kindergarten

One of our favorite games that sneakily teaches the fundamentals of programming isRobot Turtles. My sister-in-law gifted us this game for Christmas and it has readily become a family favorite.

Developing an Early Love of Science One Experiment at a Time

! As long as you get your turtle to his jewel you win, no matter how long it takes to get there.

However, when we talk about teaching children to code we arent talking about teaching them the specifics of Python, Ruby, Java, or any number of other programming languages. We are talking about laying a foundation, about training their brains to think like computer programmers.

Since Robot Turtles is aimed at teaching coding for preschool and early elementary-aged children,

of moving all the turtles according to the commands issued by the programmers.

Its really about learning to think logically, isnt it. Robot turtles sounds like fun. My 6, 6, & 9 year olds like Sorry, which has some programming-type logic too. Thanks again for linking up with Everything Kids, Crystal.

Screen-free and hands-on activities to teach coding for preschool and kindergarten. Play board games, make binary code jewelry, and invent secret spy codes.

As young children codethey learn how tocreate and express themselveswith the computer, not just to interact with it. In the process, children learn tosolve problemsanddesign projects, and they develop sequencing skills that are foundational for later academic success. They also usemathandlanguagein a meaningful and motivating context, supporting the development of early-childhood numeracy and literacy.

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Other reasons we love playingRobot Turtles:

There aretons of fantastic appsthat teach children to code. However, for preschoolers and kindergarteners I really prefer activities that are hands-on and screen-free.

Robot Turtles issosimple. The object is to get your turtle from one corner to the center where his jewel is. Sometimes you have to navigate around obstacles or zap them with lasers. One player (usually the adult) acts as the computer while everyone else is a programmer. The programmers issue a series of commands that the computer carries out. Its so simple that after my four-year-old played it a couple of times she was able to teach my mom how to play.

A computer science education is literacy for the 21st century.Many educators and researchersargue that the basic skills of coding, such as sequencing, pattern recognition and if/then conditional logic, should be introduced alongside or even before traditional reading, writing and math.

Coding (or computer programming) is anew type of literacy. Just as writing helps you organize your thinking and express your ideas, the same is true for coding. In the past, coding was seen as too difficult for most people. But we thinkcoding should be for everyone, just like writing.

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In spite of being the daughter of a computer programmer and the sister of three more, the first time I actually sat down to do anything with coding was when I started blogging a few short years ago. It turns out that if you want to blog you need to know how to do much more than simply type on a keyboard.

Other ideas for hands-on coding for preschool includecoding your name(activity from Mama Smiles) or yourbirthday in jewelry(activity from Handmade Kids Art). You can alsomake a spy decoder(idea from Frugal Fun for Boys) to send secret messages to friends or send your kids on ascavenger hunt using secret codes(project from What Do We Do All Day?) while secretly sharpening their reading, writing, and math skills!

I used to be a chemist, but now I spend my days doing science experiments with my three kiddos.

Screen-Free Coding for Preschool and Kindergarten

If you mess up a command you just yell Bug! and you get an

Do you mind if I share your website with about 140 teachers? I would like to just inspire them. Great job!

These are such great ideas. We love Robot Turtles.

I keep hearing about teaching young children, even preschoolers, to code. I have to admit that this used to intimidate me. What does coding for preschool even look like?

There are so many resources out there to teach preschoolers and kindergarteners to code! This post is being written as part of a series onCoding for Kidswhere you can find over a dozen creative hands-on coding activities. Be sure to check them all out by clicking the picture below.

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