CODING WITH KIDS: BENEFITS AND OPTIONS!
Programming, robotics, computational thinking... only a few years ago these terms did not even register when talking about either children's education or leisure activities. Now it sometimes seems like it’s all that is talked about. Indeed it’s now expected that schools have a STEM curriculum and that programming is one of the core components even as an extracurricular activity...
Firstly, what are some of the benefits of programming for kids?
Benefits of Programming for Children
👉 Our children are digital natives, so some of these programming languages will be very intuitive to them. Games that they enjoy like Minecraft, where they can design their own tools, armor, and materials, introduces them to simple coding concepts through play and online teamwork.
👉 Young minds learn very quickly. Introducing coding concepts to young receptive minds means that they will have a great base for their learning in the future. Don't forget that terms and concepts that can be so strange to us are part of their regular vocabulary!
👉 They develop scientific and mathematical thinking as part of the learning process.
👉 They increase their ability to overcome problems and plan around unforeseen events. developmental flexibility helps them adapt when things don't turn out as expected, which is life!
👉 They expand their creativity and imagination. Coding is based around a series of building blocks. These blocks can be combined in many different ways to deliver different results. Kids' imagination can run wild as they devise projects that they can translate into an application, a robot, etc.
👉 It stimulates their patience, tenacity, concentration, effort, and self-improvement.
👉 They improve social relationships and teamwork in and out of the the classroom: Coding can be a fun activity and kids love to share their work and progress with others.
So, given that this is a new skill to most adults, the big question then is: what programming languages or games are the best to teach or practice with children? Learning to code through play is a wonderful way to stimulate our kid's interest in programming, so let's get started!
NOTE: You'll find either online versions of the tools illustrated below, so you can use them on your desktop, and/or apps you can use from your favorite mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
Now, let's take a look at our favorite coding options for kids!
It’s a great start to the world of coding. Kids can create their own games and animations by clicking and dragging blocks that when combined together, perform various functions (like moving a dinosaur and making it roar or jump). It was created by the MIT media lab to be user-friendly and for any age group. It’s designed to be fun and visually stimulating with bright colors that make it ideally suited for children.
A visual programming language based on commands like pieces of a puzzle. Blockly is Google’s more advanced version of a block-based coding language. Blockly is similar to Scratch in that they both use visual blocks in place of manually coding. Blockly is designed for a slightly older audience with more advanced skills.
Tynker is a well-designed app for children ages four and up and it features step-by-step, visual instructions for children to learn code. It teaches fundamental concepts without typing because it also works by dragging and dropping blocks.
It's an online game-based platform that teaches computer programming to kids in a colorful and engaging way. It consists of passing tests while they are learning the basic concepts of programming.
A kit that includes a board and the electronic components necessary for children to have their first contact with robotics. Kids can build circuits with motors, cameras and other items and write code to make it all work. They will be fascinated with their own creations.
A simple program that teaches how to create 3D images for movies or games. Unlike most other programming languages, it's designed to encourage storytelling. Users can place objects from Alice’s gallery into the virtual world that they have imagined.
A non-profit platform that encourages children from kindergarten to high school to discover what programming is. There are a number of different courses on Code.org for different ages and different purposes. This makes it a great resource that can grow alongside the student and really help to give them a thorough, well-rounded coding education all the way.
Any of these tools can be a major boost for your children's education and social development. We hope you give them a try!