Offline Ways to Help Kids Build Online Skills

In a world that is increasingly reliant on technology, it feels like kids are always in front of screens. While you want them to learn how to thrive in a technologically-centered world, you also don’t want them to spend their entire lives online. Thankfully, there’s good news. Many of the critical thinking and communication skills kids need to thrive online can also be developed offline. So get kids to put down the screens and do some offline learning that will help them next time they log back on.

Practice Typing

Muscle memory is a big part of being able to type well. It’s similar to playing an instrument like the guitar or piano. Your fingers learn where to go.

Print or draw a copy of a keyboard and practice moving your fingers to type the same set of words over and over again.

Make a Maze

Create a maze and write steps to help someone get through it.
One way is to create a LEGO maze and write instructions to get through it using the fewest commands possible.

Give Instructions

Similar to a maze, work on communication skills by having kids give someone else instructions on how to do something. Make a LEGO figure, draw the same picture, make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, etc.

Play a Guessing Game

Come up with a number and see how quickly kids can guess it. Play 20 questions and have them use yes/no questions to try to figure out what you’re thinking of (easier if it’s a specific topic, like Pokemon characters). If you want to take the activity further, talk about the decisions that were made in the process.

Find Multiple Ways to Complete a Task

For example, ask kids to fold a sheet of paper to create 16 equal rectangles. Then ask them to find another way to do the same thing. Can they come up with three ways? Four ways?

Play If, Then Simon Says

Take Simon Says to the next level by turning it into an If, Then game. Don’t think this is just for little kids. If you throw in some tricky if, then statements it can be challenging even for older kids. Even high school students enjoy a good game of Simon Says as a brain break every now and then.

Create a Visual Sequence

Take a story kids have read or an experience they’ve had and turn it into a visual sequence using only arrows and singular images to describe what happened.

Make a Binary Alphabet Creation

Using the binary alphabet, have kids make a bracelet, a LEGO sequence, or a code on graph paper (coloring in the squares a different color for each number) to write a message in binary. Then see if you can guess what it says.

Have Fun with Emojis

Draw pictures of emojis to tell a story. Play emoji Pictionary. Make faces that mimic emojis and try to guess what emoji each person is trying to make. Find more educational uses for emojis with 15 Ways to Emoji-fy Your Teaching.

Solve Riddles and Logic Puzzles

Ask kids riddles and see if they can answer them or print off some logic grid puzzles or logic challenges for kids to solve.

Some fun riddles and puzzles you can find on HelpTeaching include:

For more great ideas, CS Unplugged offers lesson plans and resources to help kids learn computer science skills online. If you have a Minecraft fan at home, you might also enjoy 10 Offline Ways to Bring Minecraft into the Classroom.

What favorite games or activities do you have to help kids learn tech skills offline?

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