When 10-year-olds around the world are busy watching Cartoon Network and admiring the likes of Tom and Jerry, Dexter and Powerpuff Girls, Samaira Mehta became the first “real life Powerpuff girl”.
The 10-year-old child prodigy is already an entrepreneur and has already conducted workshops for tech giants such as Google, Microsoft and Intel. Samaira, who fell in love with coding at the tender age of six, has invented a board game, CoderBunnyz, that helps children learn how to code.
Play and learn
In an interview with Medium, Samaira says that coding is something that she has grown up to love. She also loves computers a lot. “I always loved board games, and I always loved computer programming, but I didn’t like the fact that I had to do both of them separately, so I thought if I can’t bring board game onto a computer coding screen, so why not bring the computer coding to a board game. And that’s when I got the idea to create a coding board game, and that’s what I’m doing today.”
She says that it is Michelle Obama and Barrack Obama who inspired her. When Barrack Obama said that coding was the future and the entire country needs to know how to code, she decided to make this learning easy for children. That is when she developed the idea for the board game. She has already taught over 2000 children how to code and won the $2,500 second-place prize from Think Tank Learning’s Pitchfest in 2016.
However, it was not just the board game that made her a celebrated name in the Silicon Valley. Her father, who is an engineer with Oracle, told her that she had to test the board game on other kids first and then work on the feedbacks. That is when she started doing the workshops. After getting feedbacks, Samaira refined the game to perfection and her father also started a company to launch the game.
Samaira shares a funny story about one workshop where there were so many people who attended that they could not be properly accommodated. “I was doing a workshop, and the day before I looked at the sign-up sheet to see how many people signed up, and I saw 2 sign up sheet were filled instead of 1. And so I told my dad, and he contacted the librarian, and it turned out they accidentally put up 2 sign up sheets instead of one, and so the next day, so many people came that we couldn’t accommodate all of them and we had to pair kids up, and some didn’t get to play.”
What makes this game different is that the game has 13 levels. Usually, when a board game is over, it goes back on the shelf but because it has 13 levels, a parent can play the first level with their child when they are young and then continue the next advanced levels later when they are a little older.
Inspired by Michelle Obama, she also wanted to help the underprivileged. She started an initiative called Yes, 1 Billion Children Can Code where she urged the people who have bought the CoderBunnyz to donate their sets to schools and organisations who would donate them to children who cannot afford to buy one. She wants everyone to have the equal opportunity to learn to code.
Another prodigy in the making
After the success of the first game, a second game was just launched called the CoderMindz. It is a game which has integrated the different functioning of Artificial Intelligence into a board game. This will help people learn the intricacies of how AI functions.
This game was developed with the help of Aadit Mehta, her six-year-old brother. Surprisingly, he is of the same age as Samaira when she started coding.
Stacy Sullivan, Google’s Chief Culture Officer met Samaira after her workshop in Google and offered her a job when she graduates from college. Although an open Google job is everybody’s dream, Samaira said she wanted to be an entrepreneur.
The Logical Indian is amazed at what Samaira has achieved at such a young age. We hope she keeps on shining and we also hope that her brother soon becomes another talking point in Silicon Valley, just like his elder sister.