Play & Learn: Tiny Techies

Did you know that basic computer programming concepts can help children become better problem-solvers and logical thinkers? Explore algorithms at home with your very own Bee Maze!

Technology skills are becoming more important everyday. Children can easily be introduced to basic concepts through books, rhymes, and songs that demonstrate concepts and play activities that build on these concepts.

An algorithm is long word which simply means a list of steps to follow to finish a task. Understanding how to not only follow but create instructions will be helpful as your child enters school where they are given instructions to follow daily. The Bee Maze activity uses step cards to create simple algorithms to get the bee from its hive to the flowers.

Early Literacy Connection

Writing is an important early literacy practice that helps children learn that written words stand for spoken language and builds fine motor skills. Bee Maze involves making your own cards which use symbols to represent ideas and words. Write out the words for each card to help them build an association between words and their meanings.

Talking is another early literacy practice which helps your child learn what words mean and how words can be put together to communicate ideas and information. Bee Maze encourages you to talk about the steps to move your bee to its destination. If your child picks the wrong direction, try out their algorithm anyway and ask them why it didn’t work to build problem-solving and communication skills. Have some fun with it by making a story about your bee’s journey to the flowers!

Supplies
  • 9 pieces of blank paper (cardstock for durable cards)
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Markers, crayons, or colored pencils
  • Masking Tape
Instructions

For this activity, grownups will need to help measure tape, cut paper and tape, and can assist with writing out direction words and drawing step cards if needed.

Steps for Cards:

  1. Using the first four pages, cut out seven 5” x 5” squares. Save the bottom half of the last page for later. These will be the Maze pieces
  2. Draw 1 beehive, 1 bee, 2 spiders, and 3 flowers
  3. Fold the leftover bottom in half and cut to make two pieces
  4. Draw a circle on each and label one start and one stop. Color green and red
  5. Cut the remaining five pieces of paper into fourths
  6. Draw and label 4 Turn Left, 4 Turn Right, 4 Go Backward, and 8 Go Forward arrows. Use different colors for each to make it easy to tell which is which

Steps for the Maze Grid:

  1. Cut 10 strips of masking tape measuring 20” in length
  2. Make a box on the floor or a table using 4 strips of tape
  3. Use remaining tape to make a 4 x 4 square grid

Place your maze pieces in the squares of your maze (you can use tape to keep them from moving if needed). Now you can work together to make an algorithm by putting step cards in the right order to get from the beehive to a flower. Beware of those spiders!

Extended Learning

Here are a few more books and STEAM kits to help reinforce the concept of algorithms and explore coding. You can find them all on our catalog:

Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson
Can You Make a Scary Face? by Jan Thomas
Stir crack whisk bake : a little book about cakes! by Maddie Frost
How to code a sandcastle by Josh Funk
How to talk to your computer by Seymour Simon
Preschool Science Cubetto STEAM Kit
Code-a-Pillar STEAM Kit
Code and Go Robot Mouse STEAM Kit

Take a look at our Tech Tips for Kids blog posts to for information on practices and habits which can help develop a healthy relationship with technology for your child. For more activities for preschoolers, check out our Play & Learn posts.

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