Games are a great way to develop computational thinking skills in the classroom. This resource encourages learners to consider the rules of a game.  This in turn helps them to develop a simplified understanding of algorithms and computational thinking.

This activity can be one with a family group or a several groups in a classroom.


There is no required list of materials, young people can be as they creative as they wish with their game. The following provides an example of typical materials.

  • pen and paper
  • coloured pens/pencils/crayons
  • glue stick/tape
  • toy cars or figures (e.g. LEGO figures or Shopkins characters)
  • Dice


  1. Start by playing a game you know, encourage the learners to think about the process of playing the game, get them to explain the rules as they make moves.
  2. Change 2 of the rules of the game. Make sure everyone understands the new rules and continue playing. If you are playing in a class, pass the new rules to another group. Are the new rules clear? Do they change the game?
  3. Now make your own board game using the list below to start planning your game:
    • Will your game have a theme?
    • What is the aim of the game?
    • Where will the players start?
    • How will players move?
    • Will players collect things?
    • Find objects to use as counters, points and obstacles.
    • Is it a team game or an individual game?
    • Will all the players have the same rules?
    • Can players try to block other players?
  4. When you think about the rules, can you include:
    • Repetition: Can you invent a trap that means a player just repeats the same action over and over again and can’t escape?
    • A Conditional Rule. For example if you roll a 5 then you take a particular action

How does this activity support computational thinking?

  • All games are a process
  • To play the game you are following an algorithm
  • When you change the rules or invent your own game you are creating your own algorithm.


The TeachCS Guide is a great resource for developing your practice in computing teaching and provides more information about the importance of computational thinking in the classroom.

~Kate Farrell