Coders and Robots

(for ages 5+)


10 pieces of paper or cardstock prepared with the following words and symbols drawn:

  • “Forward” and an arrow pointed up ()
  • “Backward” and an arrow pointed down (⇩)
  • “Left” and an arrow pointed left (⇦)
  • “Right” and an arrow pointed right (⇨)
  • “Begin” and a green circle ()
  • “End” and a red circle ()

Prep Time:

  • 5 minutes

Recipe for Fun:

Children and adults will have fun pretending to be robots while exploring foundational coding concepts – all without any computers or screen-time!

STEP 1: Explain that we use coding to give instructions to computers and devices like robots. Code (also called a “program”) is a list of instructions telling these devices what to do. Today, we’ll be playing a game where we give each other coding instructions!

STEP 2: Show the cards you prepared. Explain that each card represents a different coding instruction. Hold up each directional card one at a time and have children act it out (for example, if you hold up the “Forward” card they should take one step forward, and so on).

STEP 3: Next, show the “Begin” and “End” cards. Explain that every program must start with a Begin and end with an End. If you forget one of these cards, your code won’t work! Create a simple line of code such as: Begin, Forward, Backward, End for children to act out.

STEP 4: Now it’s time to play! One person will be the Coder and the others will be the Robots. Using the cards, the Coder will create lines of code for the Robots to act out. Coders should try creating codes with a certain goal in mind like getting the Robots to walk to a specific place in the room. If their code doesn’t work the first time, encourage them to problem solve until they get it right!

STEP 5: Rotate until every player gets a chance to be the Coder.


To simplify, just focus on the instructions in Step 2. Play this game like you would play Simon Says (you can call it “Coder Says”), with the Coder giving just one instruction at a time for the Robots to follow.

To add complexity, create additional instructional cards such as Spin, Jump, Pause, or any other actions you can think of. You can also add in obstacles throughout the room that the Robots need to avoid to make the coding process more challenging!

STEAM Focus: Technology