Checkers Math Pre Coding without an App

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Today we’re sharing how we use an every day game and household item like checkers in math for preschoolers and a pre-coding activity.  Coding for kids is a new and very important skill. You can swing by our coding for kids Pinterest board for more ideas.  Checkers are a basic manipulative that can be counted, patterned, sorted, and used in step-by-step tasks for pre-requisites to coding without a computer or app. 

This post is part of our month-long Learning with Free Materials series, part of the 31 Days of Homeschooling Tips as we blog along with other bloggers with learning at home tips and tools.
Using checkers in math and pre- coding activities for preschoolers and kids. Coding ideas without using a a computer or app

Math for Kids using checkers

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We play a game of checkers
a few times a week. It’s always a hit when we need a little down time or quiet game. We’ve been using my husband’s old checkerboard from his younger days, so it’s a game that we’ve always had around the house.  Recently, we’ve been using the game pieces in math activities with my preschoolers and school-aged kids.

The bright and bold colors of the checkers pieces makes them a great patterning tool.  Preschool-aged kids can practice AB, ABA, ABB, BAA, and more complicated patterns.  Patterning is a skill needed in coding, so this is a great beginning skill to develop.

Ask your preschoolers to sort the colors into stacks and piles of red and black chips.  Manipulating the chips really can be challenging to a child’s fine motor skills.  Be sure to read up on our manipulating coins fine motor post for information on in-hand manipulation, translation, stacking with coins and chips.

Work on counting with the chips.  Count them out into columns of tens.  Practice counting by base ten and and adding ones to get double digits.  Remove single chips to practice subtraction from double digits. 

Pre-Coding Activity for Kids with Checkers

A big part of coding (at least what I understand from my husband) is the task of getting from one point to another in a problem while thinking out the process before it happens.  We love to play a game of “Shifting Pyramids” with our checkers board.  

To play Shifting Pyramids:
Use the pieces to form a pyramid with ten red chips on one side of the checkerboard and a pyramid with ten black chips on the opposite side of the checkerboard.  Only black squares are used for the game.  Players move their men forward, either by single spaces or by jumping their own or their opponents’ men in a single jump or a series of jumps.  Men that are jumped are not removed from the board.  The winner is the player who re-forms his pyramid on the opposite side of the checker board.  
Playing Shifting Pyramids requires a player to think ahead as they attempt to flip their pyramid to the other side of the checkerboard.  We typically play with only one pyramid to begin with (all red or all black pieces) to work out the steps of flipping the pyramid.  Often times, a pattern of chip movements develops. Further the activity by using the red and black chips as symbols and create a message with the “code”.

To work on more pre-coding skills, stop by and visit our coding for kids Pinterest board.  You’ll find activities related to patterns, strep-by-step thought processes, abstract thinking, using symbols, and more.

Using checkers in math and pre- coding activities for preschoolers and kids. Coding ideas without using a a computer or app

Using checkers in math and pre- coding activities for preschoolers and kids. Coding ideas without using a a computer or app
Looking for more coding games and activities?  Try some of these pre-coding games for kids:

Robot Turtles Game
Color Code
LightUp Edison Kit 
Dash & Dot Robot


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