Unplugged coding, also called screen free/offline coding, is the process of coding without using a computer or screen. There are many perks of teaching kids to code without a computer, some of which include the ability to focus, independence, comprehensive understanding of terms, teamwork, and ultimate focus.
The 21st century is globally digital, and young children need to be duly equipped with merging digital, technical, and soft skills to stand them out among their peers. The fun part is that they get to apply these skills beyond coding and the classroom. Coding, for instance, teaches critical thinking, computational thinking, teamwork, and algorithmic thinking, all of which are important skills across diverse fields.
Contrary to what many people think, learning programming and STEM for kids is not limited to the computer alone. Kids can gain expertise in coding with just books, worksheets, offline coding kits, etc. Unplugged coding activities come in several forms, and learners can acquire basic theoretical and practical coding knowledge with outdoor coding activities. Just as computer programming can be learned with various mediums, including coding kits, online communities, coding games, etc., unplugged coding can also be taught using coding books, coding worksheets, physical games, and activities, among others.
We have already established that offline coding is just as effective as on screen coding activities for kids. Offline coding, however, can be boring and take long hours to learn. This is why we recommend outdoor unplugged activities for your kids.
Children love to have fun, and unplugged outdoor coding is a perfect way for your kids to have fun and learn. Some unplugged coding outdoor activities include turing tumble, hopscotch re-emerged, binary bracelets, etc. Kids can also learn all about computer science, critical thinking, the importance of teamwork, robotics, algorithms, and sequence with unplugged and outdoor coding activities. The essence of unplugged outdoor coding is that it makes programming fun and easier to learn. Setting up an on-screen outdoor coding activity is stressful, as you have to use several tools like wires, Bluetooth, mobile data, a computer, phone, iPad, etc.
However, with unplugged outdoor activities, you mostly will not need more than a few things, like a pen, paper, board, etc. Some games, such as the route mapping coding game for kids, do not require any tool. You just need to sketch the route on the ground, set the rules, and watch your kids have fun!
Another importance of introducing offline coding activities to kids is to make programming and everything that pertains to it available to little children from pre-kindergarten. Exposing little children to technological gadgets can contain more disadvantages than perks. When kids learn to code without a computer, it develops a strong STEM foundation in them, which enables them to solve problems independently without much guidance.
In other words, unplugged outdoor coding activities go beyond being a means of relaxation for parents and their kids. The coding games also create a solid foundation for kids who want to build their careers around STEM.
If you have been confused about choosing the best unplugged outdoor coding activities for your kids, then you have come to the right place, as our selection of the 12+ best unplugged outdoor coding activities for your kids will guide you through how to choose the best outdoor coding activities for your kids.
This is an incredible unplugged outdoor coding activity that kids can attempt together. The idea behind this concept is for kids to learn loops, debugging, sequencing, and algorithms. With just chalk and a sidewalk to draw on, you are good to go! To prepare for this game, you will need to draw a ‘hopscotch maze’. Then, players will try getting through the maze by following instructions from the coder.
Using the chalk, the coder will draw the directions they want the players to hop, and what to do after hopping. Any player who misses this would have to debug and begin all over. You must constantly remind them of the purpose of the game so they don’t get distracted by the excitement.
Feed The Mouse
Feed the mouse is another awesome unplugged activity your kids can play anywhere! All you need to begin with is a toy mouse, a stack of cards, and toy snacks. To play this game, your kids will take turns acting as the programmer and computer. The programmer instructs the computer to find treats for the mouse and avoid obstacles. Both parties need to be attentive, as the rules are specific and exact.
This is an incredible game that helps kids learn about the algorithm and debugging.
Who says you can only learn computer science with a computer? Turing tumble is a great game that helps kids learn the basics of logic and components. Although this activity does not teach coding, it equips students with the important skills needed when coding. Asides from computer logic, turing tumble also teaches binary, bits, sequence, switches, etc.
Parents can also download the free educator and practice guides to further aid learning.
Teach A Robot To Stack Cups
Kids can create a series of instructions and methods on how a robot can stack cups. They can challenge one another to create the best methods of how robots should stack cups. This is an interesting coding game that builds teamwork, logic, and healthy competition in kids.
Kids can have maximum fun while learning all about computer science, if…when statements, conditions, and logical thinking. In this game, all participants are computers, and whoever plays the role of Simon is the programmer. Before playing this game, teachers must set the ground rules, one of which states that the kid calling the shots must mention “Simon says” at the beginning of every statement.
Binary bracelets are one of the simplest forms of unplugged coding/ kids can apply their knowledge of binary code to encode their names on their binary bracelets.
This is one of the easiest unplugged coding activities for kids, and it is suitable for kids aged 4 and above. Here, kids will learn the basics of algorithms, sequencing, and debugging. It is super easy and fun for kids to play!
Let your kids find the treasure by mapping out precise instructions on how to find the treasure (s). For instance, you can instruct them to CRAB crawl 10 times forward, take 5 steps to the left, then summersault forward once, etc. For better effectiveness, you need a very large amount of space. This is a perfect unplugged outdoor activity for kids to learn sequencing and decomposition.
If Then Statements
‘If’ and ‘then’ are two common commands used when coding. For instance, a programmer can state that if a person clicks the enter button, then the cursor should move to the next line. This game can be played anywhere, and kids can customize it however they want. If…then is a necessary term in programming, and kids need to master its techniques before coding.
Build Your Own Robot
This game is particularly recommended for Hour of Code week. All you need is a desk, cardboard, and Lego bricks (you can choose any other bricks). This activity aims to construct a robot while following the programmer’s specific instructions. The result has to be just what the programmer instructed. If it does not tally, then the kids will have to start again to figure out what the problem was.
The process of instructing, building, and recreating the robot helps kids to understand the concepts of debugging, sequencing, and algorithms in programming.
Parents can engage their kids in this super fun outdoor project, with just a chalk and water squirter. It involves two people, where one has to act as the robot, and the other as the programmer. With a little setup, parents can enjoy this activity with their kids, while they learn about robotics and coding.
Find The Leaves
The leaves, in this context, could be anything colorful, like eggs, painted branches, papers, etc. To begin this, place your leaves (maximum of four different colors) across the starting to the finishing line. Then, place a prize at the finish line for whoever emerges first. Instruct your kids to navigate successfully through the leaves to get to the finishing prize.
Frequently Asked Questions
Offline coding for kids involves learning how to code using off-screen coding activities to teach kids how to code. With offline coding activities, kids can learn all about programming, computer science, engineering, and other STEM skills. The only difference between online and offline coding for kids is that offline coding activities involve screen free activities for kids.
Final Thoughts Unplugged Outdoor Activities to Learn Code for Kids
Outdoor coding activities for kids provide great opportunities for parents to bond with their kids. Learning should not be limited to the classroom alone; kids need to experience diverse learnings for better effectiveness.
It is important to note that these unplugged outdoor coding activities do not teach kids how to code, rather, they equip kids with certain coding concepts like debugging, algorithm, sequencing, logic, etc., all of which will help them when they start coding.
More Information About Offline or Unplugged Coding
- Learn Coding Unplugged for Kids
- Roundup of the Best Offline Coding Worksheets to Teach Kids Computer Programming
- Offline Outdoor Coding Activities to Teach Kids Fundamentals of How to Code
- Screen Free Coding Activities for Kids to Learn Programming