Safety Snakes game helps children stay safe online and learn programming skills

The classic board game has been given a modern twist by The Barefoot Computing Programme to help schoolchildren stay safe online and develop their computing skills.

Safety Snakes is a new resource  from the BT-supported Barefoot Computing Programme, which aims to help school children learn about  safe online behaviours and develop programming skills.

Aimed at children aged 5-7, the game follows the familiar Snakes and Ladders format, but instead of counters, children program a Bee-Bot robot which moves up the ladders and down the snakes.

[Read more: What is Cyberbully? A guide to dealing with online bullying]

Squares on the board feature a range of online scenarios to teach children about good and unsafe internet behaviour, with good scenarios at the bottom of ladders and unsafe scenarios at the top of snakes. Find out more in the video below:

Jon Chippindall, a teacher from Manchester who designed the free resource , says Snakes and Ladders is the perfect game for capturing the attention of children.

“We’ve all enjoyed playing Snakes and Ladders……Using Bee-Bots instead of counters allows them to practise their programming skills too.

“This innovative campaign has been a great collaborative effort by BT, the Barefoot team and the UK Safer Internet Centre.”

Supported by BT, the Barefoot Computing Programme provides cross curricular resources and lesson plans, enabling teachers to educate children in developing the critical thinking skills they will require when it comes to getting a job in the future.

A report by BT and Accenture found that boosting technology skills can improve people’s job prospects and aid the economy. To date 1.5 million children (50% of all primary school pupils) have been involved in the scheme.

Two children playing Safety Snakes

BT’s Karen Hayton, senior manager within the Tech Literacy programme, is grateful to the programme’s volunteers.

“With the support of our volunteers who deliver teacher workshops, providing free and engaging Barefoot resources, we can bring computational thinking to life in a fun way to even more children, while helping them to stay safe online,” she said.

Barefoot are offering a free resource pack, including a printed online safety mat to teachers who register on Barefoot’s website, book a workshop before 2 March, and have it delivered before end of the academic year.  Teachers who’ve already registered with Barefoot can download the Safety Snakes lesson resources, including a digital version. To get involved in the Barefoot Computing project, register as a volunteer.

Read more: BT Parental Controls – the free and easy way to keep your children safe online

More from BT