Teaching Binary Code to Kids (free printable activity!)
Teaching binary code to kids can be such a fun and helpful skill! Even if you aren’t familiar with the binary code, there are plenty of free resources available that can help.
Since we moved to Georgia, I’ve been on the lookout for local educational opportunities for the boys. So far, I’ve been finding some awesome (free) classes for kids at our local libraries. Are you surprised? I’m not! Libraries can be a fabulous resource for homeschoolers!
Anyways, we recently attended a class at one of the libraries. When we arrived, I didn’t know anything about the class other than it was technology-themed. I knew the library had a 3D printer, so I just assumed they’d be designing something to be 3D printed. I was wrong!
The boys initially weren’t happy that they wouldn’t be doing a 3D printing activity, but were pleasantly surprised when they found out the actual theme for that day’s class was going to be learning about the binary code. The binary code class was such a hit!
It wouldn’t be very “homeschool blogger” of me if I didn’t share the experience and resources with you, right?!
Let’s do this!
Why Learn the Binary Code?
I am not so great with technology. I mean, I’m plenty skilled at using my phone, computer, and various apps & software, but…the innerworkings of technology? The coding of technology? Nope.
If you and I have made it this far in life without knowing how the binary code works, is it really necessary to be teaching binary code to kids? What even is binary code?
To put it simply, binary code is the language that all computers use to operate.
Our kids are living in a completely different world than we did at their age. They’re completely immersed in technology whereas, if you’re a so-called “geriatric millennial” like I am, playing Oregon Trail on a black and green computer screen was likely the highlight of our days as a 4th grader.
These days though? There are plenty of reasons why teaching binary code to kids can be beneficial. For example, learning binary code can:
- grow & improve problem solving skills! Being able to successfully use binary code requires breaking down complex information into simple & logical steps.
- encourage kids to understand how computers interact with each other
- set our kids up for future success in a technology profession.
- enhance math skills! Since binary code is very closely related to mathematics, knowing binary code can help kids to improve their numerical skills.
- encourage attention to detail. Binary code is literally “only” made up of 2 numbers in very specific sequences. One small mistake, and the code won’t work.
- build confidence! How cool would your kids feel being able to tell their friends “I know the language of computers”?!
How to teach binary code
When my kids were learning about binary code during the library event, the librarian used these free printables. Even though pages 11 & 13 were the only ones used during our quick library class, the entire packet provides a pretty thorough unit on binary code.
To customize teaching binary code to kids in your homeschool though, you may also want to check out these other informational resources I’ve found to be helpful:
How Computers Work: Binary Code & Data YouTube video from Code.org (more appropriate for upper-elementary to middle school ages)
Binary Numbers for Kids from Socratica Kids (taught with hand puppets, so it feels young, but my 4th & 6th grader enjoyed it)
Our beloved BrainPop also has a fun, members-only lesson on binary code, too!
Binary Code Activities
After my boys learned about binary code in their library class, they were provided with supplies to make their own binary code name keychain! Using pages 11 & 13 (mentioned above), the boys figured out how to write their name using binary code with beads.
First, they filled out the worksheet(s) with their binary code letter sequences. Then, they transferred that sequence to their crafting supplies to make the keychain.
To make a binary code keychain, you’ll need the following supplies:
- key ring
- 3 different colors of beads
- 2 colors will represent numbers “0” and “1” of the binary code
- the third color will go in between each letter sequence
- string (we used yarn)
Instead of making a keychain, kids could also make a bracelet or necklace!
To make learning and teaching binary code to kids even more fun and interactive, I created a free binary code activity! I’ve already tested it out with my kids, so I can assure you that it’s sure to be a hit in your homeschool, too.
My positive affirmation printables are pretty popular, so I made this binary code freebie positive affirmation-themed, too. There are 15 different activities in total requiring the kids to use 2 binary code keys to decipher a hidden (positive affirmation) message. Go ahead and grab them here!
Until next time, stay safe and enjoy quality time with your family,
Elizabeth Dukart is a proud Georgia-based born and raised Jersey Girl, wife, and mom of 2 human boys & 1 canine boy.
Created in 2021, Elizabeth owns and publishes That Homeschool Family: a free resource for homeschooling parents and beyond! A seasoned blogger, Elizabeth previously published a popular location-specific family resource blog, but decided to “Pivot!” her blogging focus after she started homeschooling her two boys in 2020. In addition to this blog, you can follow Elizabeth’s homeschooling and family adventures on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest.
When she’s not busy taking over the world or homeschooling, Elizabeth can be found listening to music (especially The Beatles & Harry Styles!), being silly with her boys, watching movies with family, shopping, or traveling!
Have a question or want to work with Elizabeth? Send her an email!