Activity Summary

Using online instructions, youth will practice their creativity, communication, and coding skills. Using Google’s Made with Code program, youth will design their own emoji using block programming. This is a great introduction to computer science, as it also gives youth to design their own “online image.”

Activity Procedure

Opening Hook

"Today' we're going to make our own emoji, our very own computer generated icon of ourselves. Instead of using an application like paint or drawing, we will use code to create our image."

Section 1: Code Your Own Emoji

1. Introduce to participants the following big ideas: 
  • This activity will have you make your own emoji, using code: a computer-generated icon that represents an emotion.
  • Computer Science can help us create images/art using a different modality and makes it easy to share these artifacts online and communicate them widely.
  • Block coding will let participants drag and drop series of code that program one statement.

2. Have participants plan their emoji using paper and colouring utensils.

3. Explain that participants will need to design their image on a plane (like a graph, or like the game Battleship). The plane is measured by a y- and an x-axis. The x-axis runs horizontally and the y-axis runs vertically. Participants will use numbers (0-90) to label the coordinates on the plane and place individual shapes in exact locations by choosing both a x and y square. Tip: Explain this while showing the interface on a projected screen.

4. Have participants log in to Google’s Made With Code site, which features many free games and activities you can also do at home.

5. Follow the onscreen prompts that will walk you through all the steps to create your own emoji.

6. Save the emojis, print and display!

Reflection & Debrief

  • This activity can be used as a team-building activity or ice breaker in a group, by asking participants to share the story behind their emoji idea (alternately, participants can work in pairs or small groups to share their work).
  • Ask participants to describe what coding skills they learned while creating their digital emoji.
  • Tweet to @ActuaCanada #Codemakers to share the emojis with our entire network!

Extensions & Modifications


  • Have early finishers describe how they move the different parts and change their colours.


  • Participants can choose to work in partners supporting each other to code one emoji at a time.
  • Allow participants extra time/flexibility to complete their emoji.
  • Provide verbal support throughout the activity. Ask participants to stop and observe as an instructor (or another peer) builds an emoji, for added tips and tricks.


This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best user experience. By continuing to use this website, you consent to our use of cookies.