Coding Board Games

Image by Think Fun

Board games and card games are some of the best ways to learn about programming. You don't need a computer. Play as a family or group.

Here are fun board games and card games for little kids, bigger kids, and families. Playing these games as a family with younger kids also can help them more quickly understand the games, more than if they were to play by themselves.

And don’t forget, in addition to board games and card games created to teach programming and computer science, look up chess, Go, Backgammon, and other traditional games which are fun to play and teach problem solving and strategy skills.

Robot Turtles

If your kids are under 8-10 years old, and especially if they have younger siblings, you might want to start with board games and toys that teach programming concepts. For example, Robot Turtles is a great board game with some neat extensions like an online community where you can create your own game boards. These games sometimes let you replace the object you direct in the game with a person like your child, or a parent, adding another level of fun and engagement.

Code Monkey Island

This board game is full of programming, mysteries, and fun for kids ages 8 and older. If played as a family, it’s likely younger kids will understand the game and have fun, too. The game uses cards to move a monkey around the island as kids learn strategic thinking, conditional logic, and how to adapt.

Bits and Bytes

Bits & Bytes is a fun card game to teach kids computing skills: logic, problem solving, and critical thinking. The game is absorbing and flexible. And, like the Robot Turtles board game, you can learn the basics of programming and computer science without needing a computer.


This deceptively simple card game for kids 4-8 lets them lay out a series of steps for their siblings and parents to follow. When they master the basic game, you can add more advanced cards.


Created by teenagers, this Kickstarter project might be available in time for the 2015 holidays or soon afterwards. The game can be played with or without Java. Kids ages 7 or older figure out the game first then graduate to the Java cards. The creators also have a non-profit which teaches kids coding through their local libraries and the game reflects their experiences of what kids understand.

Notable Women in Computing Card Deck

A traditional card deck with the photo, name, and short biography of women who have contributed to technology instead of the usual royalty and pips for the number cards. They can be used to play Fish and other classic card games. The makers also offer a card with women from the Middle East and Africa, as well as posters for both cards. It’s also possible to download the poster and cards to print locally if you can’t pay $10 USD for cards or $25 USD for the posters.

Giggle Chips

A set of highly creative game cards created by a mom and her young doodling daughter that teach computer science concepts in a fun visual way.

Learn More

Robot Turtles Board Game

Code Master

Code Monkey Island

Bits & Bytes



Notable Women in Technology Card Deck

Giggle Chips


  • Tim Slavin

    Tim is an award-winning writer and technologist who enjoys teaching tech to non-technical people. He has many years experience with web sites and applications in business, technical, and creative roles. He and his wife have two kids, now teenagers, who are mad about video games.

Also In The October 2015 Issue

October 2015 Issue: Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things (IoT) connects dumb devices like refrigerators to the internet and uses software to connect them to our daily lives.

There are many operating systems for internet of things devices, from existing software used to control electronic boards to efforts by Google and Apple.

Disney Infinity 3.0, Rocket League, and Super Mario Maker are three fun video games to consider for the 2015 holiday season

You can learn a little software programming and have lots of fun with any number of coding apps available for your phone or tablet computer.

Operating system software is a key part of all computers. But what are they and how do they work?

Learning how to make kittens with JavaScript is a great way to learn how to use the free Chrome web browser to practice and learn JavaScript.

Working through a book can help parents learn programming with their kids or kids learn on their own.

Board games and card games are some of the best ways to learn about programming. You don't need a computer. Play as a family or group.

These robots also can be programmed to move around rooms, one way for kids to learn programming.

Six women were hired to use their math skills to program the ENIAC computer. They called themselves The First Programmers Club.

Nicky is a Linguistics major who learned coding skills to further her research. She's also finished a PhD, won a few big awards, and co-founded Grok Learning.

Two women created an innovative online service to teach teenage girls how to code by using video.

The new Rust programming language is designed to solve problems with operating systems and fix issues with C and other languages.

Data can become alive and pose questions as well as reveal answers to questions we have.

Links from the bottom of all the articles in this issue, collected in one place for you to print, share, or bookmark.

DRY is an acronym for Don't Repeat Yourself. It's a critical programming concept and skill to learn.

Interesting news stories about computer science, software programming, and technology for August and September 2015.

CoderDojo is a free after school club for kids ages 7-17 where kids, parents, mentors, and others play with technology and learn to code.

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