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The Costco Dance Game for Computational Thinking

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Learn Computational Sequences + Loops while Making a Dance

On your weekly shopping runs, you develop a standard routine of things you do and motions you make. Challenge your child to remember and make sense of this routine -- capturing it into a decomposed sequence of actions -- and transforming it into a dance, when you loop this sequence together.

For parents with three to five year olds, as you make your weekly run to the store of your choice -- your local grocery, your Target, your Costco, or whatever -- use that routine to build a computational dance. You'll be teaching your child about how to decompose a situation into single parts, and then to sequence them correctly. Then you'll have them learn about loops, when you do the dance moves again (and again, and again...)!

How to Play

Make a dance out of your shopping routine.

The next time you are going shopping at your usual store, whether it be a Costco, a Target, Safeway, a Giant Eagle, or other store: ask your child, what is the dance we can do for this store? Talk through with them the usual actions you do in the store — and then how to make them into dance moves that go in the sequence that fit this store. You'll end up with a funny, one-of-a-kind dance to do every time you go shopping there.

Step 1: Challenge your child while driving to the store

As you're driving up to your regular shopping store (like, for us, Costco), ask your child to play the "Costco dance game" with you. Explain to them that you're going to be making up a dance based on the physical motions you usually do when you’re shopping at Costco.

As you're getting out of the car, putting your child in the shopping cart, and walking along together, talk through, what are the usual things that we do in the store?

  • Do we show our card to the greeter?
  • Do we look at the bagels -- pick them up, check the date, and squeeze them?
  • Do we go into the cold room to get the eggs and milk -- run in, shiver, and run out?
  • Do we pick up a watermelon and knock on it to see if it's good?
  • Talk through with your child about what the most memorable activities that you do in the Costco are.

Step 2: Making the moves

Now that you have this list of activities, start to dance them with your child. You should be the model, so that they can learn from you.

What does the action of checking bagels look like? Make that into a dance move.

Do the same for showing your card, for knocking on watermelons, for shivering in the cold room, and for bringing items out of the cart onto the conveyor belt. You can do each motion as its own dance move! Boil the action down to one or two gestures.

Just don't make too many, or it might be hard to remember them all..

Step 3: Put it all in order

Now it's time to put these dance steps in order. Ask your child, what's the right order to do this dance?

By now you might be in the store, so you can do the dance as you're walking through the store. When do we do the watermelon move? Is it before or after the showing the card move? When do we do the checkout move? Does it come at the beginning or the end?

Encourage your child to say which comes when, first, middle, or the last.

Step 4: Dance In Loops

By now, you should have a dance sequence. Try it out! Ask: what's the next move? If your child gets it in the right order, then do the dance moves together with your child. If they are out of order, prompt them to think again.

Encourage your child to talk through what dance moves they're doing, and what will come next. Get them to think in order, while still having lots of fun, and looking very silly in public. Talk about the dance as a Loop -- when you get to the end of the moves, you go back to the beginning, and restart the sequence. You can keep going forever in the Dance Loop!

And next week, when you're back at the store -- challenge your child to do the dance. Can they remember all the moves, and get them in the right order?