The early years is a complex time where our young children are busy learning in many different areas at a rapid rate. Parents and educators are often debating about appropriate screen time. I am a strong advocate for ensuring our youngest learners begin their tech journey with an understanding of concepts in an ‘analogue’ world!
Computer Science lends itself to some wonderful and engaging experiences away from tech. Logical thinking activities, understanding what it means to listen to and follow an instruction, sequencing and patterning are all crucial elements to computer science.
Once the children have an understanding of these concepts in their own world, they will more easily make the transition to the digital world.I’m not normally one to promote products but I thought I would put together a list of some of these tools which allow children to make the transition into the digital…minus the screen time!
- KIBO – One of my favourite tools http://kinderlabrobotics.com/ Kinderlab have built a robust product that gives children a visual and kinesthetic experience. Moving the blocks in to place and scanning the sequence, children are in awe at the results. Take a look at the Youtube tutorials –
- Bits & Bytes Card Game – The goal of Bits & Bytes is for each player to guide their character (program) to their home by issuing instructions (turn right, turn left, move forward, turn around). At the same time they have to avoid walls, bugs and the dreaded Seepeeu (pronounced CPU).Sounds simple, right? But that’s the point.Children are playing a card game, but at the same time they are creating computer concepts, like algorithms and the sequencing of instructions, and they are learning the invaluable skill of problem solving. http://www.bitsandbytes.cards/
3. Bee-Bot – This little bumble bee has stood the test of time. Its robust shell and easy to program control panel makes it a fun tool to learn computer science. There are many teacher resources available to give you curriculum and lesson ideas.
4. Robot Turtles – This is an exciting board game which introduces children to programming in a fun and collaborative way
Giving children the opportunity to learn with hands on tools in a collaborative way is essential in the early years. I would love to hear from you if you have any other great tools…minus the screen time to add to the list.