Hour of Code™ (HoC) has become a much-anticipated annual celebration of programming in particular, and computer science generally. More than 180 countries participate in HoC activities, bringing millions of students together from across the globe. HoC tutorials are available in 45 languages to help almost anyone celebrate this event.
All you need to celebrate HoC is an hour of free time and an idea for an activity. If you are short on ideas, here are some of our favorite HoC lessons you can do with Ozobot products.
Need more? There are dozens to choose from! Check these 21 activities for Hour of Code™ broken down by grade level, programming comfort level, and technological requirements for completion.
Kodable is a self-guided game where children control the fuzzFamily and advance them through levels by solving various puzzles (shhh… they’re also learning coding skills!). Kodable has 160+ levels, making it suitable for pre-readers all the way up to grade five. All the while, you’ll receive updates on the child’s progress! When they’re done, kids can receive a Certificate of Completion for the Hour of Code™. This game meets several Common Core requirements and is available in more than 20 languages.
Meet the Foos! These are the creations of CodeSpark Academy, an award-winning coding game where children ages 4-10 bring stories to life. CodeSpark Academy has a free-for-parents-and-teachers Hour of Code™ program, where kids learn sequencing and loops as an introduction to the concepts of programming. Once the children are finished, teachers can expand the lesson with a full curriculum, if they so desire.
The Little Artist In Your Computer
There are also unplugged options for your class or family to try during this year’s Hour of Code™. “The Little Artist Inside Your Computer” is an activity pack developed by CodeSpeak Labs, and comes in the form of a PDF. Teachers can guide their students through a story full of puzzles that teach kids the basics of digital art. Kids will learn algorithms and repeat loops all while they’re creating art.
My First Computer
“My First Computer” is another unplugged lesson option developed by Hello Ruby. The activity is designed so it can be completed independently or collaboratively, which means you can scale it based on your available resources. Kids get to design their own computers — on paper. They learn concepts like CPU, RAM and ROM and even develop their first app. Grab scissors, pen and paper, and start coding!
Can I Make a Spooky Forest?
DevTech Research Group through Tufts University developed “Can I Make a Spooky Forest?”, a Scratch Jr. game, where children from pre-readers to grade five can use mathematical reasoning to tell a story about a spooky forest. This program is designed for kids who already have some programming experience to build upon those skills. This is an excellent opportunity to incorporate coding into an arts or language lesson about story elements.
Create Your Own Google Logo
Have you ever wanted to create a doodle like you see on the Google homepage? Now you can! Kids can use Scratch and CS First to design a logo based on a theme of their choosing. They can make the letters dance, tell a story with their drawings or even create a game. This is a beginner level activity, making it accessible for all students who want to participate in Hour of Code™.
Code Crazy Creatures
Code Crazy Creatures by Code Avengers uses programmable animals to make coding enjoyable for elementary school kids. While this game is meant for beginner-level coders, it is appropriate for kids in grades two through eight. Code Crazy Creatures is a self-led tutorial meant for the computer, so you can guide your students while they create interactive pictures and solve puzzles with Alex and Lonnie. The more activities your student or child does, the crazier the adventure gets!
Developed by Tynker, “Space Quest” is an online game for beginners that can be played on computer web browsers, student iPads, or even via an unplugged option as a class. Students become astronauts who have crash landed and need help. Kids will collect spare parts and use drag-and-drop programming to put the ship back together. As long as students avoid the aliens they should have their ship back home in no time!
“Compute It” by Toxicode is made for kids grades two to five who have some experience programming. In this game, the kids act as the computers. Their job is to read different programs to determine which ones will create the right trajectory to win challenges. To play, children need a basic understanding of programming, as they will have to read the patterns and determine which ones will solve the problems.
Dodo Does Math
“Dodo Does Math” is another game for kids who are already comfortable with coding. This game was developed by CodeMonkey and is designed for second to fourth grade students. Teachers and parents familiar with CodeMonkey might have played their “Coding Adventure” game. In “Dudo Does Math,” students solve 60 interactive challenges while improving their math skills. The questions and challenges become more complex as students help the Dodo get to the eggs.
Code the News
With a little creativity, middle school students will be able to Code the News with Vidcode. The news lessons focus on topics related to kids, coding and diversity. Teachers are encouraged to upload their creations to the school website to show what they learned and built during this year’s Hour of Code™. This lesson covers topics related to art, music, media and social studies. Teachers can also highlight how programming functions relate to math functions.
Actimator: Myra’s Dream
For their Hour of Code™ game, Actimator developed “Help Myra Find Her Dream.” Monsters have taken Myra’s dream and it’s up to participants to help her get it back. Through this game, participants will learn coding concepts as they create commands for Myra to fly, cross bridges, and swim underwater — all while dodging those pesky monsters. This self-led game works on most web browsers and is for beginner programmers in grades two through eight.
Don’t Drop the Phone
Another fun game for coding novices in middle school is “Don’t Drop the Phone” by Hopscotch. Students will need an iPad or iPhone to play, and the goal is to encourage creative thinking as they develop their own versions of the game — and challenge their friends. Soon students will be swapping phones and iPads to see what everyone else created and if they can beat it.
Tracy the Turtle
Developed by CodeHS, “Tracy the Turtle” is one of several self-guided tutorials suitable for beginner level programmers, using creativity and arts to teach coding. In this one, kids draw shapes on their screen through code written in Python to create designs. There’s math involved too: Tracy lives in a grid world, using coordinate points to move her left and right on her 400-pixel wide canvas.
“Emoticon Madness” is one of several Hour of Code™ games developed by Grok Learning. This game is meant for kids already comfortable with programming and who want to learn the basic concepts of Python. Students can use this game to explore emoticons and text manipulation as they develop code and become familiar with this particular language. Once kids complete “Emoticon Madness,” try some of Grok Learning’s other games related to animals, flags of the world and outer space.
Evo the Troll
It might not seem obvious at first, but good manners are an important part of programming. After all, software was designed to help connect people to other people. That’s why we’ve created the Evo the Troll lesson to underscore the importance of digital citizenship. This lesson will show students exactly what an internet troll is, what motivates someone to behave that way, why that behavior is problematic, and how to respond.
Learn How to Build 10 Apps in 1 Hour!
Thunkable has developed a game that challenges students from grades six through 12th to develop 10 apps during one hour of coding. The interface is an engaging drag-and-drop platform, which takes the intimidation factor out of text-based programming languages, so non-coders, too, can create functional apps. This activity is ideal for older kids who are new to programming and may find it daunting. The lessons focus exclusively on computer science topics with the goal of teaching kids the basics of developing their own mobile app in the future.
Learn to Code with Crossy Road
“Learn to Code with Crossy Road” developed by Gamefroot is for beginning programmers in grades nine and above. Students participate in a series of introductory coding lessons and then create their own “Crossy Road”-style mini-game. There are multiple computer science concepts that kids can explore through this lesson plan, including algorithms, sequences, loops and if-statements. This game is available on most browsers, making it accessible in almost any school.
Human Resource Machine
Developed by Tomorrow Corporation, “Human Resource Machine” is a fun game for students who are comfortable with coding. Once downloaded, students will play the game through dozens of levels. In each level, your boss gives you a job. It’s up to you to automate it by programming an office worker character. Keep getting promoted by completing your tasks to work through the entire building.
Code Club UK developed “Binary Hero” for Hour of Code™, a Scratch programming language game where tweens play the notes of a song as they scroll down the stage. This game teaches both coding and math, as students score 10 points per correct note and each note correlates to a binary number. This game is available through most browsers and is appropriate for students already comfortable with the basics of programming.
Build a Catapult
Advanced students can also enjoy “Build a Catapult” by GP Blocks. If your students have enjoyed playing Angry Birds, this is a great option for them. They’ll build a catapult to launch a ball from one side of the screen to the other. This game teaches math and science (and even a history lesson if you get creative), as students complete the self-led tutorial over the course of an hour.
There are dozens of activities and games to choose from on the Hour of Code™ website — these were just a few of our favorites! Share your top HoC games and explore others that are posted this year to engage kids of all ages in computer science and programming.