Screen Free Coding

Teaching Coding to Young Learners

How To Get Started

One question we get asked a lot from educators and parents alike is what's the appropriate age to start teaching coding and how do we even start?

There are a number of resources and tools available to teach coding, but one of our favorites for young learners (even those as young as Pre-K) is Matatalab Coding. Matatalab utilizes screen-free, tangible coding to make it both accessible and age-appropriate. Tangible coding, as opposed to the "drag and drop" on your screen coding style, utilizes physical coding pieces that students can pick up and use to build code themselves. Students create their code and watch the Matatabot bring it to life.

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Matatabot in action!

Here's a simple example of Matatalab Coding Set in action. This student created a code on their board to get the Matatabot to travel from the Bird to the Pine Tree on the map. The command tower read the code, sent it to Matatabot, and off it went!
Matatalab Sample
Matatalab also has expansion packs that explore coding your own music, drawing graphics and shapes, and even testing out mathematical theories of Geometry!

Matatalab Unplugged

Our partners at Matatalab sent over this "unplugged activity" that you can do at home today! It includes a print out of a buildable paper Matatabot, two coding maps, and a set of their standard coding pieces.

We've included an example of the activity here. We want Matatabot to join his friends in the park - did we code it right? If you complete the activity, make sure to tag us (@techterraed on Twitter or @techterraeducation on Instagram) so we can see your adventures in coding!

Still looking for more?

Be on the lookout for more STEM activities and resources next week.

In the meantime, check out our Online STEM Academy. We offer live online classes each week with real educators, teaching lessons in coding, digital storytelling, 3D engineering & design, and augmented reality exploration. Our 12 week program is grade specific (ranging from Pre-K all the way to eighth grade) and includes extra, self-paced activities and worksheets for your students to complete. No extra tools needed, just your student and a computer or tablet!

Don't worry if you get stuck, we're here to help. Email us at and we'll be back in touch right away to answer your questions and offer assistance.

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Our warehouse is still open and shipping! However we are taking the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of our employees - which may result in delayed shipping times of certain items. In stock items will ship next day. If you have any questions about the shipping speed of a certain item, please reach out to us!