When you think coding, you likely think of an adult sitting at their desk typing on a computer. While this certainly can be coding, it can be much more too. Learning about coding can happen as early as preschool age and teaches kids the value of resiliency, problem-solving and following through.
There are plenty of ways to teach kids coding indoors, but it’s summertime. We’re working to keep things screen-free and get outside! Here are a few activities for learning about coding outdoors this summer inspired by Allie Reeder’s video. All these activities require are some sunshine and sidewalk chalk.
Who doesn’t love treasure hunts?! For this activity, work with your child to create a 4×4 grid on the driveway using chalk. Next, draw an “X” to mark the spot in the top right corner and a little boat in the bottom left corner. The boat is where your child will begin its adventure and the X is the final destination. It’s up to your child to figure out a path to get to the boat. For example, go up three boxes and to the right three boxes. Then, they should draw these arrows in order next to your grid.
To make it a bit more challenging, draw two angry fish that your child will need to avoid. This makes the path to the boat a bit more difficult. Kids will need to create a different “code” to avoid these fish.
Kids can play this on their own, or with a friend or sibling. To play with two people, one child takes the path to get to the boat while the other could listen and write down their path.
For this activity, draw boxes in a path that connect to one another. They do not need to be in a straight line. In each box, draw an arrow pointing to the next or an action (i.e. clap, hop, spin x2). The path should start at one box and finish at the end. This teaches kids how to follow instructions (aka an algorithm!)
We hope you have fun with these outdoor coding games!
Coding with Sidewalk Chalk