AI activities for kids and the classroom: Top 10 Hands-On Activities (Both Online and Unplugged!)


Artificial intelligence (AI) is all around our kids, yet not so much in their classrooms. In this blog we outline a set of 10 activities that kids and teachers can do, inside and outside of the classroom, to explore AI. Below you will find five connected activities that kids can do online and five unplugged activities that they can do without any internet connection.


AI Activity 1: Can AI “See”?


In this activity, kids explore how AI can understand images, whether they are pictures that we draw or pictures that we capture from a camera. Kids watch a video by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella about how AI is important for our future. They then learn how computers see images. Next, the kids explore an AI which can identify things that they draw. This activity is suitable for kids from ages 8-14. Follow the link above for details.


AI Activity 2: How is AI different from Robots?


For most kids, their first experience with AI is in a movie with an intelligent robot. In this activity, kids learn how AI is different from robots and how we can combine AI and robots to make very cool and intelligent robots. They then do a hands-on exercise where they try an AI that can identify objects - much like the robots that they see earlier in the activity. Follow the link above for details.


AI Activity 3: Can AIs understand us?


In this activity, kids learn how AIs can understand languages and text, and how this capability is used in AIs that interact with every day - like digital assistants. In a hands-on activity, kids build an AI that can detect their moods from sentences that they type in. They can train this AI to learn any mood they like! Follow the link above for details.


AI Activity 4: Chat with an AI - Chai the AI Bot!


Chai the AI Bot is a friendly AI chatbot that teaches kids about AI. Kids can ask Chai any question they like (no rude questions please - Chai will refuse to answer!). They can ask Chai questions like “What is AI?”, “Why should I learn AI?”, “Is AI smarter than a 5th grader?”, “Does AI make mistakes?”, “How does an AI learn?”, and more. Follow the link above to get to Chai.


AI Activity 5: Can AI make Art?


In this activity, kids will use AI to make their own custom art. They can select two images- one for source and one for style. There are some pre-stored images they can pick from, or they can create their own or just take a picture from the webcam. Once they have a picture and a style - the AI will combine the two to create a version of the first picture in the style of the second picture. Each kid can create and save their own custom artwork. Follow the link above to get to this exercise


Unplugged AI Exercises


AI Activity 6: How Self Driving Cars work! (Unplugged)


In this unplugged exercise, kids can view the book (download and print for free) where Chai the AI Bot explains how self-driving cars work and how they use AI. Kids can then design their own Self-Driving Car, play games, and complete puzzles about AI and Self Driving Cars. Follow the link above for access to the Ebook.



AI Activity 7: How AI is used in Space! (Unplugged)


In this unplugged exercise, kids can view the book (download and print for free) where Chai the AI Bot explains how AI is used in Space and how the NASA Mars Rover used AI. Kids can then design their own Space Rover with AI, play games, and complete puzzles about AI in space. Follow the link above for access to the Ebook.


AI Activity 8: How AI helps our Health (Unplugged)


In this unplugged exercise, kids can view the book (download and print for free) where Chai the AI Bot explains how AI is used by doctors and hospitals to help us stay healthy. Kids can then design their own AI Doctor, play games, and complete puzzles. Follow the link above for access to the Ebook.


AI Activity 9: How AI helps the Earth (Unplugged)


In this unplugged exercise, kids can view the book (download and print for free) where Chai the AI Bot explains how AI is used for recycling, reducing climate change, and helping our environment. Kids can then design ways to save their favorite animal using AI, play games, and complete puzzles. Follow the link above for access to the Ebook.


AI Activity 10: How AI is used in our Phones (Unplugged)


In this unplugged exercise, kids can view the book (download and print for free) where Chai the AI Bot explains how AI is used in our phones for everything from auto-correct to recognizing our faces or our fingerprints. Kids can then design their own AI-Phone, play games, and complete puzzles. Follow the link above for access to the Ebook.


Artificial Intelligence activities in the classroom - Notes for teachers


All of these activities can be done in the classroom. For the online activities, each kid can do it on their own computer or tablet. All they need is a web browser. You can play the videos yourself and have the kids watch as a group. If each kid does not have their own computer - they can do the exercises as a group also where each kid takes a turn at driving the exercise. For the unplugged activities, we recommend printing out the activities- one copy for each child. They can do these as groups and teams as well if that works better for your classroom.


Artificial Intelligence activities at home - Notes for parents


All of these activities can also be done at home. For the online activities, each kid can do it on their own computer or tablet. All they need is a web browser. If they are doing the activities at home, we suggest watching the videos with them and having a discussion.