Egg carton with eggs strategically placed and hot Laval paper with annotated arrows marking the path.

Egg Carton Unplugged Coding Activity

Teach coding concepts with this fun hands-on coding activity!

This activity is from Teach Your Kids Code website and is reposted and modified for accessibility on Paths to Technology with permission.

On the blog today we are sharing another awesome screen free coding activity. We love designing unplugged coding activities that use objects you can easily find around your house. That’s why we’ve previously designed unplugged coding activities using Hotwheels carsa deck of cards, and some sidewalk chalk. Today, we are going to be using Egg cartons to create a super fun coding activity that doesn’t require any screens.

This unplugged coding activity will teach kids to design an algorithm to capture all the egg prizes and avoid the hot lava rocks. If there’s one thing that all kids seem to love, it’s surprise eggs. There’s got to be a reason why videos of adults opening Kinder surprise eggs are garnering millions of views on YouTube!

Want to learn the basics of coding? Check out our post on the 5 coding concepts Kindergarteners can understand

Coding Concepts taught

Interested in learning to code online? Check out 13 awesome free coding activities for hour of code 

What you need

Egg carton flats with randomly placed colorful Easter eggs and wadded construction paper (lava rocks).

You can teach kids to code without fancy technology! 

How to Set Up

4 30-flat egg carts creating a 12 x 10 grid, with randomly placed 7 plastic Easter eggs and 17 crumpled up red construction paper 'lava rocks'.

It’s easy to get this game started. Set up should only take about 5 minutes. 

How to play

This game is quite simple. The goal is to get your Minifigure to the prize eggs while avoiding the lava rocks.

You need to give the instructions in advance as an ‘algorithm’. The player has to create an algorithm that will take the egg from the start to the finish while avoiding stepping on a hot lava rock. Once they’ve reached the prize egg, they get to open it and reveal their prize. Some kids may prefer to write down the instructions or use our coding cards to lay out the instructions in advance. Here is an example of the type of instructions we are looking for:

12x10 grid egg cartoons with figure in bottom right egg slot. Annotated arrows showing path from egg to egg. (Ex: Left two, up two, left one = blue egg)

To get the Blue Egg

To get the Green Egg

The key to making this activity challenging, and to getting kids to think like a computer is that they need to plan the instructions in ADVANCE. 

For beginners age 4 to 5, you may include a lot of surprise eggs and have them give only the instructions from one egg to the next. For older or more advanced coders, students should try to get as many eggs as they can by giving ALL the instructions in advance.

If a player lands on a lava rock they need to go back to the start and ‘debug’ their code. This is what programmers do in real life! Where did they go wrong? Adjust the program so that the egg has a better set of instructions for the next round.

Modifications for Students with Visual Impairments

The Egg Carton Unplugged game is a hands-on tactile game. The ‘playing board’ does not need any modifications! 

Accessibility of Coding Blocks

Coding blocks – the printed commands (Forward, left, and right) – are typically printed out on paper and cut apart. There are many free downloadable sources for these coding blocks. Students manipulate these pieces of paper to show the route that the figure will take. Teachers of the Visually Impaired can modify these printed coding blocks by adding braille or tactile shapes; however, when blind students run their hands down the paper pieces to read the command, the papers slide out of order. 

Personally, I have been trying various types of coding blocks, as printing out paper blocks. With the downloadable CodeSnaps App coding blocks, we mounted each printed code block on a cut-to-size piece of foam board and then added braille labels. This made the code blocks more sturdy and easier to place in sequence. (CodeSnaps blocks include required QR codes and need to be printed out. (Learn more about CodeSnaps and Sphero Robot here.)

Photo of fingers holding a CodeSnaps code block with braille adhered to foam board.

Another possible option for the Egg Carton activity is to make the code blocks magnetic. Create Forward, Left and Right blocks on the back of business cards; add braille labels. Attach your code commands to self Adhesive magnetic business cards. (Amazon Prime has 100 magnetic business cards for $14.97) Your student can now place his code (command blocks) in order on a magnetic board or cookie sheet. 

Reminder: Code blocks are placed in a vertical column with the first command at the top of the column and the last command at the bottom of the column.

Photo of red foam arrows attached to magnetic business cards; right, left, up and down arrows.


by Diane Brauner

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