DIY Math Coding Game for Young Kids

I love teaching math in kindergarten! There are endless hands-on activities that engage children while they learn their numbers and various math concepts. I recently created a DIY Math Coding Game that I’m excited to share with you today.

This game was a huge hit in my classroom, so I’m sharing it with you today because of the interested my students had in it.

I used it as a center for children to visit and play, and there were always kids waiting for a turn.

You only need a few simple materials for the board and you can create it quickly! Kids will love the size and simplicity of the game, and you’ll love all the engagement and learning that happens!

math coding game shows a pinterest pin image of a game board.

Math Coding Game Materials

There are a few ways you can create your game board. I used a large folding project board that was quite large. I liked using the board because I could fold it up when we were done and bring it out when I wanted to use it next. A large poster board is a great option

Another option if you want something quick and easy to use once, is a desk or table in the classroom. You can simply use take and create the grid right on the table. The only problem with creating your board in this way is that it won’t last as long if the table is being used at other times, or other projects.


To create your DIY Math Coding Game board, you will need:

  • Large Board (or desk)
  • Tape
  • Dice
  • Game Pieces (I used painted wooden figures)
  • Squares x10 (wooden or paper with an X on them)
  • Squares x6 (Colored) (Optional)
  • Dice with numbers 1-5 and a color wheel on one side.
math coding game shows wooden people, tape, a dice, wooden squares and a board.

I used different colored tape, but it is only because this is what I had on hand. The tape color is not significant. You can use the same tape for your whole board.

I used wooden for my X pieces because they were strong and last for a long time, but you could just use paper with an X on it. I suggest laminating the pieces before children begin playing.

Once you’ve created the board you can use it for endless games and activities. You can also change the rules to create a whole new game depending on what you’re working on in the classroom.

number game for kids shows a game board.

You can make your math coding game board any size you want. The more squares you create, the more challenging the game becomes. I found 7×10 was a good size, but create any size based on the materials you have.

Game Set Up

The main goal of the game is to move your game piece from the Start to the Finish. With each roll of the die you move that number of blocks. You can move up, down or diagonally.

If you have young children playing, like I did, I modelled the game as a class before setting it out as a center for kids to play with a partner.

Once you’ve tried moving your piece to the finish without any obstacles on the board, the next step is to add the square Xs.

math coding game shows a stack of wooden squares with an X on each and a pink die.

Once you have your board made, the rest of the board can be created by kids. The ten squares with an X on them can be placed anywhere on the board.

For the first time playing the game, I suggest only using five or less of these pieces because they add difficulty to the game.

math game for kids shows two children playing on a large board game.

Once children are ready, the X’s can be placed anywhere. Children can choose where to place them and they can be placed in different locations each time.

The Xs represent a block. Players cannot move their game piece past or through an X. I explained it to my students that it was like a stop sign that they could not pass.

Math Coding Game Rules

Since I did this activity with really young children, and wanted them to be able to do the activity during center time, without me present, the rules are really simple and easy to understand.

Step 1. One player rolls the die.

Step 2: Player 1 moves their game piece the same number of squares that they rolled. They can move up, down or diagonally, but they can only move in one of these directions each turn. (I.e. they cannot move 2 blocks right and 3 blocks up when they roll a 5 on the die. They have to either move 5 blocks right OR 5 blocks up (or 5 blocks diagonally.))

DIY number game for kids shows the bottom of a board game that says START and has a pink dice, wooden people and a wooden square X.

If your children are not familiar with diagonal movement, I suggest sticking with only moving right, left and up.

If a player runs into an X square as they are trying to move their piece, they have to return to where they started their turn and go another way. However, the X squares are blocking the player in every direction, then they do no move at all and their turn is over.

Step 3: Players 2 rolls the die and moves their game piece the number of squares rolled.

Continue for as many players involved in the game. The first player to successfully get to the Finish square at the top, wins!

Each classroom and group of children are different. Keep in mind that you can change and alter this game in any way to work better for your group.

The activity is great for working on recognizing number values under 10 and subitizing (recognizing the number of dots on the die without having to count each one). It’s also great for counting as children move their game piece.

Math Coding Game Extension

If your students have become comfortable with the game, you can add an extra level of complexity. Use six more squares, each a different color. Place these squares, along with the Xs on the game board.

You will also need a special die for this extension activity. I used a blank wooden die and put the number 1-5 on it and then created a color wheel in the last section of the die.

Kindergarten math shows six rainbow colored wooden pieces and wooden people and a dice.

When players roll the die they either move the number of spaces that they rolled, or if they land on the color wheel, then they get to choose which color to move to.

DIY math game shows a board game with wooden squares on some of the sections of the board.

Color Wheel Extension

If children like this extension, I have also played that if they roll the color wheel, instead of getting to pick the color square they want to move to, they roll another die. This second die has six sides, each matching one of the colored squares.

Once they roll the color wheel side, they then have to roll the second die. Whatever color they land on is the square they have to go to. This may take players back to the beginning, or it may help them in the game and move them forward.

Introducing children to new, unique hands-on games is a great way to get children working with numbers and math without worksheets. It also makes it fun and engaging.


One response to “DIY Math Coding Game for Young Kids”

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