In this post i describe an activity that I would use to introduce coding to small children. I believe they need a grasp of the language as a basis to begin.
For very young children I feel that they need the language of coding/programming firmly within their grasp. To assist in the development of this before moving to Scratch Junior, BeeBots, Daisy the Dinosaur etc I would like to develop this language.
To do so use 2 dice.
On one dice replace the numbers with the words Forward( on two sides), Back ( on two sides) Right turn, Left turn.
On the second dice keep the numbers.
Go outside with the children and tell them that they are going to be robots that have to follow the instructions on both dice.
For the first time children stand in a line, after they are used to this the children can stand anywhere
Roll the first dice. Children prepare to do what the instruction says
Roll the second dice; children physically do the instruction from the first dice the number of time that the second dice says . e.g. fist dice might say forward, second dice might land on the number 4. Children then take 4 steps forward. Roll the dice again. Keep playing until the children have had lots of experience with forward, back, right and left turn.
Another extension could be to place a ‘treasure’ on the ball court. (position does not matter)
The children stand anywhere on the court. The winner would be the fist child to reach the treasure based on the 2 dice instructions.
Roll the 2 dice as mentioned previously, the children move around following the dice instructions until one child reaches the treasure. That child is the winner and can then place the treasure anywhere of their choice and the game can be played again.
I feel if the children are kinesthetically involved in moving forward, back, left and right they will have a better understanding and be more able to visualize these movements in a virtual coding/programing environment.
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