28 May Free coding fun at home for all the family this half-term
Whilst the Oxford English Dictionary may have determined ‘pandemic’, ‘unprecedented’ and ‘Megxit’ as some of the most used words of the past 12 months1, parents around the nation may, quite rightly, feel that ‘home-schooling’ better sums up the year. With half-term well underway – and the long-range weather forecast looking unsettled – activities centred around game-building, coding and STEM can be a great way to assist your child’s learning – and can be a lot of fun too.
So, here’s three free gaming activities that your child can try at home, from Grant Smith, VP of Education for kids coding specialists, Code Ninjas.
Build your own mini-game!
Head to Scratch and click on CREATE:
1 – Add two sprites! This can be done by clicking a blue button near the bottom right of the screen that has a cat image on it.
2 – Now, head to the left-side task bar to click the yellow circle “Events” and drag over the “When (green flag icon) Clicked” event which will run any code attached when the green flag icon is clicked – go ahead and click it.
3 – Next click the light orange circle “Control” and find the forever loop to attach to the “When (green flag icon) Clicked” step. Anything you put inside this piece will occur again, and again, and again, without stopping.
4 – Find the blue circle “Motion” tab to the left and grab the “point towards (mouse pointer)” to put in the loop. Once there, change the (mouse pointer) drop-down menu to show the name of one of your sprites.
5 – Now, add another motion task “move 10 steps.” This will cause the sprite that you did not mention in step 4 to head towards the one you did without stopping! But why not add some more directions to make your mini-game work a little better?
6 – Click on the sprite to the right that you listed in step four, and then follow steps two and three again – but this time use the “repeat until” loop.
7 – Scroll down the “Control” menu to find the blue sensing task of “touching (mouse pointer)” which you will drag onto the “repeat until” piece. Change the drop down to the sprite, to not “mouse pointer” or “edge” to tell it that when your sprite touches the other, that is when this next loop will end.
8 – Now go back to the blue circle “Motion” and add “go to (random position)” but this time change the drop down to “mouse pointer”. This will have your sprites chasing each other as long as you have your mouse on the sprite listed in step four!
Now it’s up to you to add more! Maybe change their size, position them differently, or add speech bubbles so each sprite can say something.
Create a binary bracelet!
1 – Click this link and download the free binary bracelet help sheet, using the section at the bottom of the page to create your free paper bracelet.
2 – Assign a separate colour for full boxes, empty boxes, and spaces.
3 – If you’re using the printable version – so just writing the first letter of our name in code – simply write your letter’s binary code details in the blank boxes.
4 – And if you’re making a bracelet (or necklace) out of beads, you can create your entire name in binary code! Simply pop on as many beads as you need for each section of the code – and then challenge your family to decipher the code!
Print out and colour one of four free downloadable Code Ninjas’ colouring in pages, by clicking this link!
Studies have shown that hands-on activities, like sports, arts and crafts, and engineering, increases a child’s ability to engage well in a more formal learning environment. At our Code Ninjas locations around Greater London, there are hundreds of activities that your child can take part in – many of which run on evenings and weekends. And providing you, the busy parent, with a little down time too!
For more information about Code Ninjas programmes for children aged 5-14, and to find a location near you, visit www.codeninjas.com/locations-list/gb
1 Oxford English Dictionary, 2020, Word of the Year 2020.