What is binary?

by Miriam Tocino

zerus and ona computer basics for kids

In the early days, computers helped humans with large mathematical operations. But today, we’re more than just amazing calculators. 

🌟 We become your libraries.
🌟 We help you with drawing and writing.
🌟 We can play music and navigate the Internet!

How do we do all that?

Computers use the binary number system to store all your information with only two symbols, 0️⃣ and 1️⃣.

In binary, each symbol or digit is called a bit. But one bit is too small to be much of use. Most computers need at least 8 bits to do something useful and store any of your data.

zerus and ona computer basics for kids

A collection of 8 bits is called one byte.

But, computers are not the only ones that talk in binary. You know that lamp next to your bed? It also understands binary!

zerus and ona computer basics for kids

We use the value 0️⃣ when the light is OFF and 1️⃣ when it's ON.

Play time

Now that you know about binary, it's time for some games.

In this video, you'll learn how to count in binary and write your name using only 0️⃣'s and 1️⃣'s! Check out the games:

  • 1:40 Game: Binary board game
  • 4:48 Game: Binary pasta necklace

⚡ Download your binary board game »
Download your binary code alphabet's reference »

Horray-bits! You just learned how to create a binary pasta necklace with your name and other secret messages.

Remember, understanding computers is a SUPERPOWER. So, grab some pasta now and let's get playing! 💫

Lots of Megas from the Binary World,
Zerus & Ona

PS. We love to see what you create! Tag us on social @zerusandona and use the hashtag #ABCofComputers

About this episode

🎥 Video by Elena Escudier
🎨 Words and pictures by Miriam Tocino
🎶 Music by Felipe Ignacio Noriega
🎲 Board game inspired by CSUnplugged

Keep learning

algorithm games

In the last episode of the ABC of Computers series, humans played with algorithms to build towers and created algorithms from scratch.

⚡ Read the episode about algorithms »