There seems to be no shortage of websites or online games that will help teach our kids coding so they can be ready to head out into this increasingly technical world. And as much as I love that there are so many online options, sometimes I just don’t want to give my kids more screen time.

You too?

Then you will also love that the gamemasters at ThinkFun have come out with Code Master, a fun programming logic game that my kids can play offline and still develop those important mental skills that will help them understand coding.

Related: 5 fun websites and apps to get kids coding for Hour of Code

Created by a computer science educator, Code Master is a 60-level game for kids ages 8+ that basically has them create a plan to move an avatar figure from point A to point B. Along the way, they may be challenged to collect a certain number of crystal pieces or backtrack to get where they need to be.

Levels increase in difficulty, meaning that we flew through the first couple and then found ourselves really having to think things through to finish the later levels.

And I’m only slightly embarrassed to admit that I cried “uncle” at level 35 and had to ask my son to read me the answer from the back of the instruction manual.


Code Master board game for kids by ThinkFun

I love that Code Master is a single-player game so it’s easy for any one of my three kids to pull out when they are bored, without having to find another person who is free to join them. But if I want to jump in, it’s also fun to take turns or try to figure out a tricky level together, which high fives all around when one of us spots the solution.

The game itself has a cool Minecraft-esque look with its blocky style though don’t expect Creepers and Zombies or even building blocks in this game. But, the look of it is what drew my son to the game initially; now he just likes to play with it for its brainy challenge. And if he’s learning how to think like a programmer through play, so much the better.

Consider it perfect for kids who may have outgrown  Robot Turtles, which was  the most backed board-game in Kickstarter history. In other words, it seems this learning coding through board games trend is only going to grow. And we approve.

Think Fun’s new game Code Master is available exclusively at Target (online and in store.) CMP is an rstyle affiliate.