Like many eight-year-olds, Samaira Mehta loves to play board games. But unlike most of her peers, she also loves coding.
That’s why she decided to combine her love of board games with her passion for coding, and create Coder Bunnyz. With the help of her family, she has developed a board game that teaches the basic problem solving skills needed to master coding.
“I just thought that if I mix my two favorite things together and then add my favorite animal, bunny, I could make something really cool with it,” she says.
Just about a year ago, Samaira’s dad introduced her to coding and showed her a website where she could learn the basics. From then on, she says that whenever she got on the computer, she would go to the website to practice de-bugging, problem solving, sequencing and conditioning.
As the tasks got harder, she enjoyed the challenges that each new level presented to her. She says she began to learn problem solving skills that she now thinks are essential for everyday life.
“It’s very important for kids to earn coding ‘cause coding is starting to become an important part of life.”
Also important to Samaira, is spending time with her family. So when she was developing her idea for Coder Bunnyz, she knew she wanted to create a board game, rather than a computer game.
“Instead of making [it] on a digital device, I thought to make it a board game and family fun… I’m trying to make young kids excited about coding but not exactly getting on the computer and doing coding, by playing my board game.”
After working with a designer to develop a prototype, Samaira is now using Coder Bunnyz at workshops to teach other kids how to learn the basics of coding. Moving small, square, multi-colored tiles around the board, participants can learn some of the basic patterns that are used in computer programming.
Thinking back at a workshop that she did last month at Santa Clara City Library, she says that it was cool to see everyone playing her game and participants were having fun.
“It makes me really happy ‘cause people really like my game,” she says.
As she continues to present at workshops and improve her prototype, Samaira’s goal remains the same.
“I want them to really learn coding but in a fun way.”