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Learning how to code has become of immense importance in the current digital world, both for adults and kids. Just like early childhood education, coding is a creative and innovative activity that kids can engage in.
While your kid may not be interested in writing intriguing algorithms, the knowledge gained from STEM can steer them into creating games, programs, web development, and other outcomes. Read on to learn how you can teach kids programming.
Why Children Should Learn Coding
Introducing your kids to coding is a good idea because of the following reasons:
It Fosters Problem-Solving Skills
Learning programming helps kids to develop their critical thinking skills and the ability to solve problems. Essentially, programming involves giving instructions to computers to complete specific tasks. By learning programming, kids focus on the bigger picture by breaking down the entire system into small and manageable tasks with logical connections. Such skills will make the computer complete a specific task and come in handy in everyday life.
With such skills, kids can analyze any presenting situation and apply appropriate solutions to emerging problems with ease. Problem-solving skills are essential, regardless of the kids’ future career path.
It Encourages Creativity
Just like everyday life, kids learn that there are several ways to solve a problem from programming. Once children learn the basic coding concepts, only their imaginations can limit the much they can do. Kids can find separate solutions to the same programming task, examine and make changes to improve another person’s code. Apparently, the majority of currently applicable programs are variations and improvements from initially created versions.
Coding is Fun
Programing is generally an engaging and fun activity for kids. Besides the practical applications of coding, creating a simple application, animation, or game is a fun activity for kids. Fortunately, most platforms and coding classes for kids begin by playing games as they introduce basic commands. As the course progresses, kids are introduced to increasingly complex commands that expand their programs’ functionality.
Coding is the Future
Evidently, computers and technology are currently applicable everywhere. Most daily operations rely on software and similar technology. As the world shifts towards a digital era with smartwatches, remote-controlled cars, and the Internet of Things, introducing your kids to coding is the best way to adapt them into the future.
Kids Can Pick Up New Skills Faster
Unlike adults, kids can learn coding faster. Their minds are still developing and can absorb new concepts effortlessly. Learning to code is quite similar to learning a new language, which kids can easily achieve. As such, this is the best time to introduce them to coding.
Online Coding Resources for Kids
Some of the best resources in providing coding education for kids include:
Code.org is a great non-profit website that provides good training for programming amateurs. The website stocks a wide array of online resources, applications, video lectures from coding bigwigs and operates local coding schools. Children can learn to code with interesting programming exercises, such as Minecraft and Frozen.
Another platform that kids can learn coding remotely is thecoderschool.com. Unlike other platforms that provide generalized studies, the website offers personalized lessons for coding enthusiasts. Through a mentorship approach, trainers customize coding classes according to students’ interests, providing an engaging learning process.
CodeCademy also provides kids introductory classes to coding through simple and fun exercises. However, their programs focus on older kids who can learn basic programming languages, such as CSS, Java, Python, Ruby, and HTML.
CodeCombat is an intuitive website that kids can learn programming through playing real games. Students evaluate the progress of their knowledge through character levels that increase according to how they write codes.
Best Coding Apps for Kids
If your kid has completed the online course, you can download the following apps to an iPad or Android smartphones to put their knowledge into practice.
The app has similar concepts to coding. It has characters that move by commands. Kids can add more characters, develop stories, and new commands, thereby promoting creativity.
Scratchjr from MIT Media Lab is a programming app based on Scratch, one of the common programming languages. Unlike the language, Scratchjr is redesigned to suit small children. Kids can learn how to design several projects, solve problems, and other coding concepts.
This is another free app based on the Kodable curriculum. It is compatible with the iPad provides insights into basic programming concepts.
Other popular applications include Run Marco, Pocket Code, and Daisy the Dinosaur.
General Coding for Kids Tips
While kids can learn coding faster, make use of the following tips to ease their learning curve.
- Make it fun – unlike adults, learning for kids has to be entertaining. Therefore, incorporate fun activities that will make the entire learning process fun and enjoyable. Fortunately, most curriculums offer several options that will keep your kids excited while learning.
- Seek expert help – most parents or guardians are not good with computers and programming in general. As your kid learns from various online resources, find a personal mentor and coding expert who can help the kid master what he/she has learned. Most developers enjoy volunteering to help young programmers.
- Use Scratch for young kids and Python for old kids – Scratch is a good programming language of choice for young kids aged between 8 and 13 years. On the other hand, teens and pre-teens looking to venture into the real-world of programming will find Python more suitable. It has simple syntax, readable codes, and a friendly community of developers.
- Every kid should have their computer – for kids learning in groups, every kid should learn with their computer. Just like playing musical instruments, programming requires hands-on practice.
Fortunately or unfortunately, millennials and generation alpha kids spend a lot of time on computers and technological devices already. Therefore, the debate should not revolve around if kids should learn to code and instead focus on the appropriate age for children to learn to code. Parents should introduce their children to coding as young as 7 years, though some can start earlier. As you begin, introduce your child to general programming concepts and allow them to find their passion. You can then help them focus on exploring their interests.