Easily teach kids binary using a free binary app and fun binary puzzles! Kids learn and practice binary in a fun, creative, and hands-on way.
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A computer science education is literacy for the 21st century. Many educators and researchers argue that the basic skills of coding, such as sequencing, pattern recognition and if/then conditional logic, should be introduced alongside or even before traditional reading, writing and math. A good place to start is teaching kids to count in binary.
The fundamental code underneath every computer program has gone from a mystical secret for super-nerds to a universal symbol of tech everywhere. Binary is as much a decoration as it is a useful numerical system now, but with a little work, a kid with basic addition skills can master it.
But why would you want them to? Isn’t binary just for computers? Well, actually, no. Learning binary is a quick, fun way to turn math on its head, show your kids something new, give them a skill that will be handy in the future, and have a little fun.
While it’s more important to teach kids to code than to teach kids binary, the latter can help with the former. It’s also good early prep for multiplication and learning the powers of two.
Easily Teach Kids Binary
The basics of binary are simple if you understand the concept of base. Nearly everyone in the world uses a base of ten when counting, and that becomes clear when you write the number ten in numerals: 10. The first number that requires two digits to write is the base. Binary is base two: the number two is written “10”. Where in base ten, the places are ones, tens, hundreds, thousands, and so on, in binary, they are ones, twos, fours, eights, sixteens, and so on. And just like base ten has numerals from 0 to 9, binary has them from 0 to…well, 1.
The easy way to convert binary to base ten is to know the places. If you have 1001, you have 1 in the ones place (on the right side, right where the ones are in normal numbers), 0 in the twos place, 0 in the fours place, and 1 in the eights place. So, you add 1 and 8 and you get 9. If you kid can add 1, 2, 4, and 8, they can do some simple binary. For those who like to experiment, this mini-app should help you find the pattern to teach kids binary:
From there, I’ve made some worksheets for our first-grader (I actually started him on binary in kindergarten), where the place values were written under the numbers, as a sort of training wheel for learning the system. Over time, he learned the place values by memory, and rarely needs help remembering what they are.
Because there are only two choices in binary, 0 or 1, you can do some fun things with binary numbers that don’t make sense in base 10. My favorite is to print some graph paper, and after providing some base 10 numbers, have the kiddo fill in all the 1s and leave the 0s blank, making a picture. The worksheet was a hit, although I had to explain the instructions a couple of times.
I made a deck of printable binary puzzles for your kids learn and practice binary. Download 3 FREE puzzles by clicking the button below.
In addition to these fun puzzles, you can teach your preschoolers the fundamentals of coding in a variety of fun and easy ways including playing active games, making jewelry, playing Robot Turtles, and creating secret spy codes!