“I think everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer — because it teaches you how to think.” - Steve Jobs. The statement holds especially during this age of modernization. This is the right time to think about coding for kids because the resources and the availability that is presented before us to make this possible has risen to an astounding degree. Programming has become an essential skill in almost every modern infrastructure and business field alike. It's predicted that there will be at least 1 million more computer science-based jobs that will pop up in the future and, even more, that when taught correctly, programming can be an extremely rewarding and practical way to prepare your child for the future.
Children should be taught with a habit of forcing their brains to think and proactively create content instead of consuming the same. Programming helps children to express themselves through their creativity. In places like the USA, few schools offer programming to children, because it is recognized as an essential skill in the 21st century. The purpose of this guide is to show why and how the available programming resources currently can be used to teach children properly, the basics of coding and how they can flourish in the field with their innate abilities.
What Is The Best Age to Start Learning to Code?
This is an area that can be confusing for most parents because they might be of the notion that their child is far too young to be learning a complex task such as coding. But the thing that should be noted is that the field of coding has progressed and has come a long way. Several applications and ideas can teach children to code, with the introduction of software like Scratch, children are given the chance to code without much struggle and the block-based coding technique has been useful in ways that can be initially daunting to many.
Working papers have proven that the basics of coding can be taught to children even from the age of five, and more advanced levels of coding like block-based coding can be taught from the age of seven itself. Because coding can be made fun, children as young as four or five years old can start learning the fundamentals of programming to help them choose the correct career route. At that age by using visual block interfaces, free apps or game sites, or age-appropriate text-based coding workshops, youngsters can begin to learn to code in a fun way.
How Hard Is It to Teach Coding to Kids?
The level of difficulty in learning coding skills will vary depending on a variety of aspects. When it comes to children's ideas, learning to code may seem difficult, but it is achievable if parents educate their children to code in a fun-learning and logic-finding manner.
Although children cannot write a piece of code for the addition of two integers because it appears difficult, there are many fun ways for them to learn how to code at an early age. Scratch and Tynker, for example, are new visual coding languages that make coding enjoyable and understandable.
Learning any subject in a pleasant and engaging approach will yield better results for children.
What Programming Language to Use?
For programming languages, there are a wide array of languages that can be used, some of which are block-based and the other the traditional typing method, both of these can be used interchangeably based on the preference of the child. Some of the most common ones among them are;
Scratch 3.0 A software that was primarily developed to be accessed by children from the ages of 8 to 16. Scratch found its way into the coding constellation as an educational programming language that can be used by children to learn the basics of coding. The software was developed by Mitch Resnick and was later patented by MIT. Scratch is considered one of the most intuitive and easiest platforms to teach coding for children due to its visually appealing and ease of access that it provides for children in the area of coding. Scratch is eye candy for children with a familiar art style that children could relate to their favorite cartoons and video games.
Lua Lua is a language that is used in the videogame Roblox. It is a scripting language that excels at introducing text-based coding capabilities to children at an earlier age in a fun manner. Roblox is a game that is similar to Minecraft, the players are to create different servers consisting of different games/activities that they wish to partake in. And Lua is that language that is used to create these worlds that children can play together in. This language, just like Python, eliminates the use of Syntaxes which allows the young minds to hop onto what they want to do much faster.
Unlike the two former applications that we mentioned, Python is not a block-based coding language, but rather an actual text-based programming language that is even used by professionals to create powerful applications. But the catch here is that, even though it is text-based, the language of python is not that hard to understand for a novel mind. The application of Python resembles English, with its lines of code being similar to how a normal English sentence would be structured.
Some of the other programming languages that are available are;
Where to learn?
Learning everything online is secure and more interesting in this condition because the internet provides a wide range of options for learning to code online. If you're seeking a better approach for your children to learn to code in real-time instructions, consider camps, schools, tutoring programs, and others.
Some schools provide in-class or after-school coding programs to elementary and middle school pupils who are interested in learning to code.
Make Coding Achievable
Any parent is well aware of their children's various learning styles and needs. Some people can absorb all that is written in a book or on a screen, while others prefer to learn by listening to or watching a video.
From there, some people are simply better at comprehending concepts when they can physically hold something in their hands. Certain code "toys" and items may be a suitable way to introduce different coding principles to this type of learner.
Practice and Patience!
Coding involves effort and repetition, just like learning a new language or playing an instrument. My best advice is to jump right in and try some of the activities listed above! Find out what your youngster enjoys doing and focus on strengthening that ability first. It's a lot easier to stick with anything when it's enjoyable and your youngster can see how far they've come.