Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths – STEM
This non-digital coding activity set provides a very basic introduction to programming and engineering while developing an interest in STEM subjects from an early age!
- Engaging activity set introduces positional language and directions as early learners give and follow direction
- Promotes critical thinking skills
- Kinaesthetic activities encourage children onto their feet, developing gross motor skills
- Encourages teamwork and cooperative play
Colourful kit includes:
- 20 foam mats in four colours (pink, orange, blue and green)
- 20 coding cards
- Two robot pieces
- Two gear-themed pieces
- Two spring-looking pieces
- Two arrows
- Two X pieces
- Full-colour guide features sample paths
- Mats measure 23cm x 23cm
- Features multilingual packaging and activity guide
Welcome to the wonderful world of coding, courtesy of Let’s Go Code!—the real world, screen-free, moving, grooving activity set! Grab a partner, create a maze, and track your every step using the coding cards. Can you adjust to the challenge of special objects (springs, Xs, and gears) on your way to the friendly robot? If not, work together, coding buddies—the power is in your hands to identify missteps and remap the path to a robo-reunion. You can do it!
What is coding?
Why learn about it through kinesthetic movement? Coding is a specific language, a series of commands that tells a computer what to do. In short: coding programs a computer to act in ways predetermined by you, the user. But there are more ways of acquiring this knowledge than by sitting before a screen and digging into bits and RAM. In fact, the real building blocks of coding are found in critical thinking, sorting information, mapping routes between endpoints, and in helping children break down large problems into smaller mini-puzzles that they can think through logically
Adding the element of movement brings this computational thinking into the kid approved area of active play. This is important because experts are increasingly recommending teaching coding concepts away from the screen, in the physical world. Kinesthetic learning is achieved through movement and feeling, which can help children at this age concentrate and retain information. Let’s Go Code! also allows self-correction from the point of error.
What better way to learn the highly technical concept of debugging than by identifying and correcting programming problems hands-on? Learn all about these concepts and more by getting kids up, moving, and working together!
Introducing Mazes & Coding Cards
Begin by showing children how to build a simple maze: Arrange four mats of any colour in any configuration, as shown in the image below. Place a start arrow on the first mat, pointing the correct way into the maze. Place a robot to mark the end point—the goal is to get to the robot.
Step by step, move through the maze, deliberately calling out the commands that correspond to your movements:
“Forward (1), forward (2), turn left (3), forward (4).”
Then, lay out the four matching coding cards (see image below) in proper sequence, explaining that they mirror the path you just made through the maze.
Make sure children understand that to turn means to pivot in the direction shown, not to take a step; instead, signify a move, or a step, by placing the forward card moving before Continue with another maze—this time, lay out the coding cards through the maze.
Let children call out each movement shown on the cards, in sequence, before you perform the corresponding command.
Next, let two children try the same thing, with one child creating a simple maze and a second child placing coding cards in correct sequence, and then audibly directing the first child through the maze.
Encourage them to work through any mistakes. If a coding error occurs, have them switch out the wrong coding card for the right one, and start again from the beginning of the maze. Invite different children to play the two roles of mover and coder. Move on to the following play options when children become comfortable with these basic concepts.
Pair up two children.
One child builds and moves through the maze;
the second child places the correct sequence of coding cards and directs the first child, step by step.
For beginning builders, assign a number of mats to build with.
Start with a small number, like 5 or 6. The child can build the maze in almost any configuration, as
Sample Mazes See Note: long as the path has a distinct start (arrow) and end (robot).
below for building ideas.
Time to get moving! The coder calls out the commands shown on the coding cards, one by one, to get the mover to the end.
Was it a successful collaboration?
If the path was coded incorrectly, both children work to identify the error. They should then swap out incorrect coding cards for correct cards, and start over again, working to complete the maze from the beginning.
Cooperative Play with Special Objects
Integrate gears, springs, and Xs into any maze to stretch critical thinking skills. Place these special objects over any mat:
- Pick up and bring to the robot for repairs. Spring: —
- Pick up and bring to the robot for repairs. Gear: —
- Blocked! You can’t step on this mat. X: —
Place these action coding cards in correct sequence to give commands for when children encounter special objects:
Pick up a spring or gear, and bring it to the robot. Claw: — “Fly” (step) over the X, to the next mat on the maze. This is the only card Jet Pack: —that lets children go over an X. If two Xs are placed side by side, the Jet Pack coding card enables the child to “fly” over both as one move.
Use your imagination!
Represent any fun action (cluck like a chicken, stand on Wild: — one foot, touch your nose…) by placing this card at any point along a coding string.
Always remember to place an arrow at the start of a maze. Point the arrow in the direction you want the player to move first.
Make two teams.
One team is the mover: Lay out the maze and designate a member to follow the moves.
The other team is the coder: Look closely at the maze, place the coding cards in the correct sequence, and call out commands.
Incorporate everything you’ve learned about coding for an all-hands-on-deck experience, full of obstacles and divergent paths.
Have fun! Have teams take turns being movers and coders.
Try doing this with two teams simultaneously! Each team gets a start arrow and a robot. This time, each team moves from a different starting point (arrow). If necessary, teams can write additional coding commands on paper.
Note: If two children meet at the same mat, allow one team to finish the sequence, and then the