Girl Invented Board Game To Teach Kids Coding And Grabbed Interest Of Tech Companies And Michelle Obama
Samaira Mehta does the same things other 11-year-old kids do: she posts a picture of her lemonade stand on her Instagram page; she also posts pictures of herself enjoying her favorite hobbies and internet challenge videos.
However, one thing separates Mehta from her peers: she is the founder and managing director of a board game company.
CoderBunnyz is a board game that helps children above four years learn to code. The players learn coding by moving a bunny on the board game until they arrive at a set destination.
CoderBunnyz helps players learn both basic and complex programming concepts. Examples of basic concepts that you’ll learn are conditionals and sequencing. The advanced concepts include parallelism, loops, stack, functions, lists, queue, and inheritance.
Mehta told CNBC had the idea of creating the game when she was "about 6½, maybe 7." It all began after her father, who happens to be an engineer, began teaching her how to code. Mehta gained interest in coding and did some research on her own. She wanted to know the kind of learning materials available for new coders. From her research, she learnt that there weren’t enough learning materials for children who were interested in coding.
Mehta started with a sketch of the game design. Her parents helped her meet other graphic designers and together they exchanged ideas and created the current design of the game. Her family also helped her identify board game manufacturers in New Zealand and China. It took a while for Mehta to choose a manufacturer. Eventually, she did.
CoderBunnyz is a family-run business in every sense. Mehta has a little brother who tests the games before they are released into the market. Her mother is in charge of marketing. Her father is a technical advisor for the company.
Seeing the success of CoderBunnyz, Mehta decided to launch another game that teaches players how artificial intelligence works using Java programming language. The second game is called CoderMindz.
Mehta's passion for coding is what drove her to create both games. Despite her young age, Mehta sees the future. She knows that coding and artificial intelligence will be the main topics of discussion a few years from now. She hopes that her games will inspire young kids to consider a career in programming.
According to CNBC, by April last year, Mehta's games had generated nearly $200,000 in sales. The young company had sold over 6,000 board games. Mehta used some of her earnings to give back to the community by donating to nonprofits that help the homeless, reports UN Women. She has also reinvested some of that money back into the business. The rest has gone to her college fund.
Mehta’s company started from humble beginnings. At first, they sold the board games through the company website. Her storage facility was their home’s garage. When the orders became too many for her and her family to handle on their own, they hired help. They also started selling the games on popular eCommerce sites.
The success of CoderBunnyz has helped Mehta gain recognition from big companies. She has given talks to Intel, Facebook, and Google employees. Her lectures help parents learn how they can get their children interested in programming.
Mehta told CNBC that her biggest inspiration came from her visit to Google where she met the company’s Chief Cultural Officer – Stacy Sullivan. As she was talking to Stacy, Mehta felt encouraged. Stacy showed her the importance of working on her company and building it. Michelle Obama also wrote her a letter and encouraged her to keep working hard.
As she continues on her entrepreneurial journey, Mehta hopes that one day she will join Stanford University and give back to the community in a big way. Her journey is inspiring for anyone that has a great idea. You can show her story to others and inspire them too.