HOW TO GET YOUR KIDS INTERESTED IN CODING
As parents, we like the idea of preparing our kids to be successful and giving them tools and great opportunities to build fulfilling lives of their own. Coding for kids can be a great means of teaching them how to be rational thinkers and problem solvers while at the same time offering them a great path and resource for the future.
WHY YOU SHOULD ENCOURAGE YOUR KIDS INTO CODING?
HOW CAN CODING HELP YOUR CHILD
Besides all of its practical benefits, teaching coding to your children can also bring many formative advantages and positive effects for them.
Concentration skills and having a good memory are requisite in the coding process. Learning programming languages will teach your children how to train their minds and strengthen their ability to remember.
Order is compulsory when you’re coding, otherwise, the formulas just wouldn’t add up. Programming is a language like any other, so it has to adhere to certain structures and sequences to succeed. Giving your children the opportunity to learn the importance of order from a practical standpoint will have a major positive impact on their lives.
Attention gives you the ability and accuracy required when programming, and it takes a lot of your complete focus when you’re working on a project with great amounts of code and data. Your children’s attention skills will develop sharply when learning how to code.
Logic expands every time you learn a different language such as programming, and it will help your children build up their calculation abilities and decision-making process. Having critical thinking skills makes your children more prepared to solve real-world problems and think outside the box.
Experimentation is one of the best ways to teach your children about science. It gives them a chance to improve their rational thought and discover different scientific concepts by way of practice. Programming provides the kids both a solid base and a perfect canvas to explore their ideas through experimentation.
Imagination and Creativity are improved when you learn computer programming. Problems will arise and you’ll be forced to think of different and innovative ways to solve them. Trying different approaches when facing a problem, watching that process unfold and pay off, and being aware of having the power to create has a great positive effect on the child’s self-confidence. This way of thinking will help your children to polish their skills in other areas such as math or writing.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
As parents, we have to start by considering some important aspects. Once you’ve decided to teach your kids about computer programming, probably the first question that comes into your mind is “what’s the right age to start?”.
Well, coding for kids is usually designed in a way that makes it attractive for them, using kid-centric material through platforms such as games or apps. Since programming can be gamified for young children, you can start teaching coding to kids as young as 5 or 6 with age-appropriate content, visual interfaces, and logical games that make the process more fun and illustrative for them while simulating the skill of coding. After some time you can gradually increase the complexity of the exercises.
HOW TO MOTIVATE YOUR KID
Kids are naturally curious and intrigued by everything around them, even more, when it comes to computers, video games, phones, or any digital gadget. As parents, we have to take advantage of that natural curiosity and give our kids the tools they need to answer their questions about the programming world.
Knowing that a programmer somewhere built that game they love can be the start of something fascinating for your child. In their minds, you have to try to connect all those things they love with the coding world to spark their interest.
When you teach your children a programming language, you are giving them an instrument to create something new, and that can be a very attractive notion for them. Feeling your parent’s support when developing a new skill like that can mean the world for your kid and also work as a powerful motivator.
HOW TO GET STARTED
You don’t need to be a computer scientist or have an extensive programming background to teach your kids about coding. There are a lot of great resources, games, and apps available and specifically designed for that purpose. You can begin with one tried and true method available since the dawn of men: playing.
Using games as a learning tool for coding lets you teach your kids basic notions about programming that they can build upon later on. Also, it’s really fun for them.
Here are some resources that let you do exactly that. Check them out:
Spacechem is a puzzle-solving game that includes logic problems.
Codecombat allows the kids to learn how to program without focusing on one single language.
Code Monkey is a platform where you advance stage by stage solving problems by creating small programs with code.
Code.org is a platform where you can learn the logic of programming by grabbing and releasing blocks with animated cartoon characters.
Lightbot lets you play while you program and advance through a series of levels. You have to control and command robots to perform certain movements.
Python Challenge helps you learn this programming language through a series of play levels.
Robocode is a game where you control a robot in a match against other contestants
Scratch lets you program based on blocks and can be played by kids and grown-ups. Our favorite!
SOME PARTING WORDS FOR THE WISE
Steve Jobs famously said one time that “everybody should learn to program a computer because it teaches you how to think", and he sure was right. It will always be the perfect time to teach your kids these skills. We’re deep into the digital era in a world where technology is ubiquitous and necessary. It’s a big part of our lives.
And it isn’t just entertainment and fun. It can be a world-shaping tool in the right hands and with just a great idea. Your child could be that creator: a medical software designer, a system architect, a computer scientist, who knows? Besides being a valuable ability for our kids in the technological landscape of the near future, learning how to program could certainly lead to many great things.
On the other hand, we certainly want our kids to stand out, but we must also understand that we can’t force them into things until the burnout point. As parents, we have to appreciate the moment and every chance to share significant, entertaining, and fun experiences with our children.
Getting to know the wonderful world of computer programming could be exactly that. Best of luck!