STEM News

# Half-term coding fun to help entertain the kids

8th February 2024
Paige West
0

Gear up for an incredible half-term break with Code Ninja’s coding adventure! In a world buzzing with pixels, Code Ninja’s has unearthed a treasure trove of coding magic crafted just for you – and it goes way beyond the screen.

Presenting a dynamic activity guide conjured by the coding wizard himself, Bill Marsland, Director of Education at Code Ninjas. Brace yourselves for a load of screen-free activities that not only introduce tons of awesome coding concepts but also guarantee lots of fun!

### Outdoor Treasure Quest

Embark on this exciting Outdoor Treasure Quest and become the ultimate coding detective! It is time to hide treasures, create precise instructions and follow clear directions in this action-packed outdoor coding adventure.

Coding concepts:

• Decomposition
• Sequencing
• Algorithms

What you will need:

• Treasure, paper and crayons or markers.

Pick someone to be the top-secret treasure hider – the undercover agent in charge of hiding a special treasure in the great outdoors.

The treasure hider’s mission is to draw a map with instructions that are easy to understand. These instructions are a sequence. Use lots of colours to make it super fun! Think of it as creating a secret code for the explorer. For example, ‘Walk 10 steps like a giant’, ‘Turn right and take five big jumps’ or ‘Dig down to find your hidden treasure!’ These steps are called decomposition.

Armed with their colourful map, the fearless explorer sets out on his adventure – following each instruction step by step. These steps then form an algorithm.

If something seems tricky along the way, the treasure hider can help explain or show the way to ensure the explorer finds the hidden treasure easily.

After the adventure, it is time to switch roles! Let everyone take turns being the mastermind treasure hider or the fearless explorer – ensuring everyone gets a chance to shine.

What have you learnt?

Hunting for treasure is just like solving a puzzle. Think of the instructions as your treasure map, telling you exactly what to do, step by step. It is a bit like playing a game or learning a dance move – you follow the rules to make everything work smoothly. Computers are like that, too! They need clear and simple instructions, just like you need good clues to discover the hidden treasure!

### Hopscotch Re-Imagined

Say goodbye to regular hopscotch! In this activity, the goal is to get through the hopscotch by following a sequence of directions. It is time to become a coder and turn your friend into a hopping computer – are you up for the challenge?

Coding concepts:

• Algorithms
• Sequencing

What you will need:

• Chalk and a pavement or driveway – but be careful to avoid any cars!

Start simply by drawing a regular hopscotch board on the ground. Number the boxes 1-10, or feel free to get creative with more or fewer boxes. Create a large box next to your hopscotch board – this is where the magic coding will happen!

Decide who is going to be the ‘coder’ and who is going to be the ‘hopping computer’. The coder’s mission is to guide the hopping computer through the hopscotch board using arrows that will be written in the box.

To start, have the coder draw in the box a single arrow in the direction they want their computer to hop. The goal? Keep the hopping computer on the hopscotch board!

As you progress, challenge the coder to sequence multiple directions at the same time – creating a hopscotch algorithm. Each arrow is a step in the code that guides the computer’s hops.

Create a hopscotch algorithm that can be repeated, and have the hopping computer perform the loop by following the sequence of directions. This is your hopscotch loop! To make it even harder, challenge the hopping computer to repeat the same hopscotch loop without looking at the directions. That is the magic of loops – they make the computer more efficient by allowing it to repeat steps without being told each one individually.

What have you learnt?

Hopscotch Reimagined is a bit like making up your own secret code while playing hopscotch. It is about planning your moves step by step, sort of like following a recipe or game instructions. When you draw arrows on the ground, it is like giving special instructions in coding – telling your friend exactly how to hop. And loops? That is just a way to do your favourite hopscotch moves over and over without explaining each time. When things get a bit tricky, figuring out new ways to hop is like solving puzzles, something coders do every day!

### Jewellery Coding

Have you ever dreamt of making your own colourful jewellery while also learning some cool coding concepts? Well now you can!

Coding concepts:

• Functions

What you will need:

Cut a piece of string just a tad longer than the size of your wrist. Tie a knot at one end of the string – that’s your starting point!

Imagine your beads are secret codes! Choose a pattern of three beads that you want to repeat over and over in your bracelet. Let’s call this special set of beads a function. For example, maybe pink-blue-pink is your magical code!

Tie a knot at the other end of the string and… ta-da! Behold your finished bracelet – a masterpiece of your very own code!

What have you learnt?

How many times were you able to sneak in that special function of beads? With Jewellery Coding, you are basically turning beads into your own secret code! Choosing patterns for your bracelet is creating special instructions, just like in coding. Threading beads is following steps in a fun game and when you are done, your bracelet becomes a unique piece of jewellery with its own secret language.

Now that you have had a blast with these activities that snuck in some cool coding concepts, get ready for another secret mission – spotting them in everyday life! Next time you are out for a walk, count how many maple or oak trees you see – that is like cracking a sequence code! On your street, keep an eye on how many red cars there are. Or, when you are with your mum and dad, think about all the things that follow sequences in everyday life – challenge yourself to spot as many as you can.

Coding is not just on the computer – it is hiding all around us, turning our everyday adventures into coding quests!

Ready for more coding adventures? Visit Code Ninjas at www.codeninjas.co.uk to uncover more secrets and start your coding journey today!