# Bitmap Coding Unplugged Coding Activity for Kids

Introduce algorithms with this hands-on bitmap coding unplugged coding activity for kids!

This activity takes the concept of programming and makes it tangible for young kids, even toddlers! I think Thea (2yrs) was more engaged than Charlotte, my Kindergartner though they both helped with the entire activity.

The whole point of this activity is to give directions (algorithms) for making drawings and to help young kids understand how to translate movements into programs and practice communicating those ideas through codes and symbols.

The 5X5 grid is a great introduction to algorithms for kids ages 2 through 8 and larger grids make the activity adaptable for kids over 8.

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## Why STEAM Activities?

STEAM is the abbreviation for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math.

STEAM, like STEM, is an integrated approach to learning that encourages learners to make connections between the concepts they are learning and how they apply them to real-world problems.

STEAM helps students ask questions, problem solve, think creatively, and produce innovative solutions. Many schools have adopted STEAM learning activities into their curriculum, but it’s never too early to start building critical thinking skills.

We love to learn through play at our house and have a blast doing activities for toddlers all the way to tweens!

Looking for some more hands-on activities that incorporate Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM)? Then you have to check out STEAM Kids!

This book features more than 50 hands-on activities that are organized into easy to implement categories, so you know exactly what concepts your kids are learning!

## Key Activity Terms

An algorithm is a list of steps that you can follow to complete a task. A program is an algorithm that is coded into something that can be run by a machine.

Bitmap is a way of storing graphics on a computer that is laid out in grid format with each box containing one pixel or picture elements that are used in bitmaps to store images on computers

Resolution is how big the pixels are in the image usually measured in pixels per inch. The higher the resolution the greater the quality of your image.

## Bitmap Coding Unplugged Coding Activity

### Practicing Programming Bitmaps

Draw a 5×5 grid on a dry erase board or poster board. I used wet-erase markers for the black grid lines in order to erase the other markers without erasing the grid lines.

To introduce the activity, I started with post-it notes in every box of our bitmap coding grid.

Instead of “color square”, I used “remove post-it” because we were starting with removing post-its to reveal the bitmap. For example, see the algorithm for the picture below.

The algorithm for this bitmap would be (starting in the top left corner):
Move one square right
Move one square right
Move one square right
Move one square right
Move one square down
Move one square left
Remove post-it
Move one square left
Move one square left
Remove post-it
Move one square left
Move one square down
Move one square right
Move one square right
Move one square right
Move one square right
Move one square down
Move one square left
Remove post-it
Move one square left
Move one square left
Remove post-it
Move one square left
Move one square down
Move one square right
Remove post-it
Move one square right
Remove post-it
Move one square right
Remove post-it
Move one square right

Next, we worked with putting the post-its down instead of removing them. The process works the same way. Start in the top left corner and verbally communicate the direction using your algorithms.

Watch out for 2yr old sisters that try to remove your post-its while you are adding them!!

Check out this coding activity: How to Code a Volcano

## Teach Your Toddler to Code

I let Thea have a go at some toddler bitmap coding. Instead of the regular algorithms, I used a simple ON/OFF code that told her when to add a post-it note to her bitmap coding grid.

She did a really great job considering this was her very first time coding anything and she’s only two!

## Apple Bitmap Coding

Next, we decided to change things up and used apples instead of post-it notes.

I gave the same directions using the ON/OFF programs and Charlotte joined in on the fun. Thea thought this was super neat! It was a fun Fall twist for our bitmap coding activity!

## Turn Algorithms into Programs

Use your bitmap coding workbook to write your algorithms as programs using the reference sheet and practice worksheets provided.

Peyton is pretty skilled with binary code, so we decided to take 5-bit binary code and turn it into our perler bead designs and then read our programs to each other.

## Want to connect this coding activity with other STEAM buckets? Check out these extensions!

Science – Discuss the physical properties of the objects that you use. What objects made the best picture?

Technology – Learning algorithms with this hands-on activity is a great stepping stone for future programming activities. Add one some binary code and create bitmaps with binary code instead of algorithms.

Engineering – Making your own grid with a dry erase board or poster board is a great critical thinking activity.

Art – Create a bitmap image in a grid and then write your own program for it!

Math – Count your apples after each picture! Talk about the amount of blocks in a 4×4 grid, a 5×5 grid, and a 6×6 grid.

We love incorporating books into our activities. Here are some great books about coding to read with your activity!

## 31 Days of Low-Prep STEAM Activities for Kids

This activity is part of our 31 Days of Low-Prep STEAM Activities for Kids. Every activity focuses on each of the buckets of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math) although these integrated projects fit in more than one bucket.

You and your kiddos are going to love all of the activities that we have in store! Visit the 31 Days of Low-Prep STEAM Activity hub and pin it, so you can come back and visit it daily!

## Unplugged Coding Activities

Find more Elementary unplugged coding activities to work on basic coding skills!

## Meet Toni, the Maker Mom behind Our Family Code

Hey there, I’m Toni! I’m a software engineer and Maker Mom that finds my joy in unleashing my children’s curiosity by exploring STEAM concepts with my fantastic five!

When I’m not chasing toddlers or raising tweens, you can find me tearing things up and putting them back together over here at Our Family Code.

I am the owner and content creator of multiple educational websites designed to increase access to STEAM & STEM education with a focus on teaching computer science and coding to kids of all ages!

You can also find out more about me by visiting ToniGardner.com!

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TechyKids

Thursday 8th of October 2020

That's a great & creative way to educate kids about the basic concepts of coding for kids. Never thought we can make learn to code kids with such interesting activities. I think it's a perfect integrated approach which not only teach coding to kids but also encourage them to use such techniques to solve real world problems. Every parent should definitely be using this great activity to develop skills among kids like logical thinking & problem solving abilities. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful blog with us.

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