6 Board Games That Teach Coding & Programming To Your Kids

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If you feel like you’re being bombarded by endless avalanche of toys that promise to teach your kid to code … yeah, sorry about that, but it’s only going to continue. For one, marketers want to sell your kids toys. Secondly, these skills are really important to the future — for both the economy and your kid’s job prospects. So how do you help teach them coding basics in a hands-on way that’s actually relatable to you? Board games. Yes, those rainy day boredom busters you feared were going extinct are actually highly useful learning tools. At least these 6 are. Hungry, Hungry Hippos still only teaches kids horrid, horrid table manners.

Robot Turtlesfatherly_board_games_teach_coding_robot_turtlesBoard games are killing it on Kickstarter right now, and this game out-raised all of them. That tells you everything you need to know about how much people value teaching kids programming. Or how much they like turtles. Either way, the game teaches children as young as 4 the fundamentals of coding using cards, the third-most analog toy ever — just behind the stick and the ball.

Buy Now $19

Ages: 4-15

Code Monkey Islandfatherly_board_games_teach_coding_code_monkey_islandCode Monkey Island also uses cards to teach kids the programming skills like strategic problem solving, adaptability, looping, assignment operations, and Boolean operators. The cards dictate how each player’s team of monkeys moves towards their goal of reaching the banana patch, but your kids don’t even realize they’re learning because LOOKIT THE MONKEYS!

Buy Now $35

Ages: 8+

Code Master Board Gamesfatherly_board_games_teach_coding_code_masterIn Code Master, kids use programming logic to navigate their Avatar through the game world. In each of the 60 levels, they must collect crystals and land at the portal. There’s only one specific sequence that leads to the end of each level, so this game activates the portion of your child’s brain opposite the one that compels them to answer everything you say with, “Why?”

Buy Now $27

Ages: 8+

Qwirklefatherly_board_games_teach_coding_qwirkleBefore you assume that this game of creating rows and columns of matching colors and shapes is just poorly spelled, rebranded dominoes, consider the brain development benefits like pattern recognition and strategy. While it doesn’t overtly teach coding, it did win the Mensa Select award, so it’s pretty much guaranteed to make your kid a genius.

Buy Now $21

Ages: 6+

Bloxelsfatherly_board_games_teach_coding_bloxelsBloxels looks kind of like Battleship, except blocks on a grid represent coins, keys, walls, hazards, enemies, entry points, and actions, not subs and destroyers. And instead of talking to each other, players transform their block grids into playable video game levels by photographing them with a smartphone or tablet. So … nothing like Battleship, but building video games is way cooler than listening to you yawn, “Hit” and “Miss” for 20 minutes.

Buy Now $50

Ages: 8+

Prime Climbfatherly_board_games_teach_coding_prime_climbThis award-winning game teaches math by requiring players to multiply and divide their way around a colorful, spiraling game board from 1 to 101. They’ll get so good at math, your kids will finally understand how insanely expensive their college education will be — and why you’re so adamant about maximizing their STEM skills.

Buy Now $35

Ages: 10+

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