# Development of Computational Thinking with Games in Early Childhood

We are going to show you 4 nice games we have invented. These games can be used to promote computational thinking in early childhood with ease. It takes few minutes to set it up. Games like Processes and Sets are valuable because they are productive for creative thoughts. They can’t be found anywhere else. I urge you to be the judge of their values.

## Think Creative Like a Coder

First of all, let us give you an idea of what computational thinking is about.

Thinking computationally has nothing to do with programming or having thoughts like a computer. Like you all know computers do not have the ability to think.

There is a difference between computational thinking and programming. Programming refers to set of instructions given to a computer to tell it what to do and how to go about it while computational thinking helps you know exactly what to tell the computer to do.

Computational thinking enables us to take a difficult problem, break the problem down and find possible solutions to the problem. Then we show the solutions in a way both a human being and a computer can comprehend.

## Computational Thinking

When it comes to computational thinking, BBC education guides have shown 4 different methods and they include:

• Algorithms- this involves coming up with steps of solution to a problem or rules to follow to tackle a problem.
• Pattern recognition- this involves searching for what is common among problems.
• Abstraction- this involves paying attention to relevant information and discarding irrelevant details.

It is important you note that we don’t give all named techniques in form of games. We only select the ones that fit into early childhood computational thinking development and infuse original methods.

This is a sample of how our games combine computational techniques for algorithms and pattern recognition:

• Pattern recognition- pattern recognition
• Cryptograms, game processing, operation with sets- algorithm

Now that you know what computational thinking in kids entails, let us take you some questions that are been asked frequently:

## But Why Should We Bother About Computational Thinking In The First Place?

“Computational thinking” according to the United Kingdom Association is a compulsory skill that must be taught to kids if they are prepared for working effectively in this digital world. This is the reason they infused it into the curriculum for primary school teachers.

Suggestions seem to gather that employment opportunities in the future are likely going to be swallowed up by the engineering and digital spheres. Our economy as well is not left out of this as most sectors of our lives rely solely on continuously evolving software setup.

## Must Kids Learn Computational Thinking?

When I was a child, I used to go everywhere with a notebook that I used to write down ideas. I had so many things in my head from inventions to story plotlines and craft projects. But I had problems being an executioner. I felt overwhelmed to write a whole story because I know where the best place to start was. This problem is not new to me. You may have observed that your kids go through the exact problem. Are they full of ideas and they don’t have a clue of how to carry out any of them? Does doing their homework seems like too much hard work? Then it means your kids are naturally inquisitive but they don’t have the characteristic process of structuring their thinking.

Computational thinking is one of the problems solving processes. The challenges they face may change, the steps of the processes are constant so there won’t be any form of guessing at where to start.

It structures their thinking. Kids will be able to tackle problems in a productive way and plunge into finding a solution. You can simplify opportunities for your kids to learn the reliable approach for solving problems.

Computational thinking helps expose your kids to learn technical skills. It gives them the opportunity to discover and have a full grasp of the whole world which eases the learning process. The process looks like this:

• Break problems into bits.
• Find a pattern that is suitable.
• Abstract out patterns effectively.
• Create the best algorithm.

For instance, if your kid is trying to create Hopscotch game where the hero dodges hindrances and gets points for getting the cheese. Knowing where to start may be confusing at first but if computational thinking is applied, they would know the first thing to do is to break down the problem in bits: the background, the hero, the obstacles, the cheese, and the points add up.

Designing a game may seem like just a creative activity but when computational thinking is applied, it structures the thinking of a child and influences their integral curiosity. Kids will love the new toolsets available for them to solve difficult problems by themselves.

## Cryptogram games

This involves images of animated gifs replacing letters in word and numbers in mathematic equations.

Kids have to apply rules. This game has images that symbolize an alphabet hence, the kid is meant to find out what the order of images stand for and write down the words the images represent. It is a new style of Egyptian hieroglyphs but with custom images representing an alphabet. The images are bold and attractive algorithms that help kids solve the mysteries.

A lot of teachers in the kindergarten have raised kids to make their own letters and implement their personal secret coding to it.

This also applies to the cryptogram letters and we made cryptogram numbers the second version of the cryptogram game. There are rules where images signify numbers. The algorithm is used in mathematics equation to help kids practice algorithms and subtraction in the same game.

## Processes

The idea behind this game is to show the process of how an output looks after the conversion of the input when it is processed. It may seem hard but it is quite simple. We are going to illustrate that in our example. The rule shows the input sequence ABC, it passes through a lab, measuring a jug that has chemicals in it and gets the result CBC.

The process rule simply works when the sequence ABC passes through the jug of chemicals, the letter A is omitted and replaced with the letter C with no changes in the second and third letters which is evident in the answer CBC.

The same rule applies to the algorithm pineapple, aronia, banana which is the sequence. When it passes through the jug of chemical, the sequence of the fruit is processed and the output will be banana, aronia, and banana in the empty cell on the right. This shows the chemical converted the pineapple to banana.

Processes are shown with images like boiling pot, chemicals or explosion etc. this is because process represents things in our lives that bring about significant changes to the structure of what is put inside. In this way, it is a good exercise to engage the mind of kids by showing them images they love and push them into the world of processes.

We have made several versions of process games that involve one, two and three step processes. The two and three step process game are a bit more tasking than the one-step process because the result is not so obvious and a lot of rules need to be applied in the right order.

## Operations with Sets

Operation with sets are usually boring from elementary school especially when questions like “what are mutual elements?” were asked or characters, letters, and numbers were used as elements in exercises.

This is why we decided to come up with enriched set games that have images. With the use of images, operation with sets got easier and interesting. It can be applied from kindergarten. The game provides the following:

We all remember operation with sets from elementary school or higher grades, and they were quite boring… what belongs into which set, what are mutual elements, and etc. Boring, boring, boring because elements used in exercises were characters, letters, numbers…how can this be exciting?

This is the reason why we have enriched sets game with images. With images, operations with sets got totally new meaning and can be applied from kindergarten. Game provides:

• Algorithm thinking with a rule.
• Small successes with guessing elements one after the other.
• A kind of abstraction providing images in a new environment and mutual co-relation.
• Learning about joins, inner joins, outer joins etc.

## Recognize patterns

It is a standard game where a pattern is defined and a child is expected to continue in the pattern. One simple example is with cars shown in the picture below. It is the AAABBB pattern.

## In Conclusion

Computational thinking for kids is a very fun way to tackle technical skills effectively and enable them executes their ideas effectively without getting unnecessarily overwhelmed by a challenge at first.