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Teaching Children to Code

wilma24163220 profile image Wilma ・4 min read

Programming is one of the careers that are in growing demand right now. With technology advancing at such a fast pace, this is definitely a great skill to possess. Children have one great tool at their disposal – they are known to learn faster and memorize things easily. Knowing this, why shouldn’t they learn to code from an early age?

Should Children Learn Coding?

It’s not very simple to teach kids complex programming, but there’s no reason why they shouldn’t enjoy creating simple games, designing fun websites, or programming some music. Or, they can simply play around with coding.

At this point, you must face the music and realize that a child probably won’t care much about data processing algorithms. However, there are some great coding games to keep them entertained, as well as the prospect to develop the interest for an amazing future career.

Depending on the age of the child, you’ll need different learning pace and approaches. But, if you’re wondering: is coding important or irrelevant – the answer is yes, coding is an amazing skill to learn. That being said, here are some great tips to teach children to code.

Enlist Professional Help

Unless you’re a programmer yourself and have great teaching skills, you’ll find many barriers on the way. Learning alongside your child can be fun, but will you be able to pass on the knowledge they require if you don’t know more than they do? Not to mention, children tend to grasp new material faster than adults.

Thankfully, there are affordable websites like Preply where you can find tutors for just about anything. If you want your child to get a quality education from a professional, you need to offer them an opportunity to learn from someone great.

Ease Them into It

Some children start learning to code as early as kindergarten. But, this doesn’t mean that they become programmers right away. In fact, unless you want the child to feel overwhelmed and lose interest fast, you need to find interesting ways to teach them – and ease them into it.

When you pass on too much information too fast, the child will get frustrated. Thankfully, there are many ways and tools to help the process, including movies, videos, games, etc. The best part is - coding will become easier with time. Kids will first learn about it by playing games and maybe show interest to learn to code themselves. Next, they’ll create some simple games and be satisfied with their progress. They’ll want to move forward.

So, take your time and plan a gradual learning plan. When a child learns to do something small, you will have laid the groundwork and will see if they show interest in the programming world. Next, you can start setting sights on bigger coding together.  

Find the Right Tools

Depending on your child’s age and their knowledge of programming, you need to choose the right tools to help them study. One popular option is Scratch, an MIT free programming tool specially designed for younger kids. It’s visualized by the Logo program, which was a popular coding class for children in the 80s and 90s.

If your child is bigger, perhaps over 13 or 14 years old, they might find this option too simple. Scratch is simply designed with drag-and-drop code blocks that can be snapped together. It is even used by children who still haven’t learned how to type.

For teenagers and pre-teens, you’ll need a more sophisticated programming language to teach them, such as Python. This is a great language for beginners because it has a much simpler syntax than languages like C# and Java, and has a huge community of developers your child can communicate with.

In addition to programming languages and programs, you can also use video games. This is a great starting point that will keep your child entertained. Soon enough, your child can learn the coding concepts and create simple games like Hangman and Tic Tac Toe.

Allow Them to Practice

This is a skill that demands a lot of learning, but more importantly, it requires practice. Don’t just make your child look at the screen while you code. This is more than just reading books, which is what makes it fun in the first place.

Once you introduce some concepts, allow your child to put them into action. Showing them what programming looks like is great, but if you want them to learn, they’ll need hands-on practice.

Final Thoughts

Learning new things is easiest at a young age. Children today are taught coding as early as in kindergarten. Not everyone will want to do this, but if you approach it in an interesting and well-paced way, you might just have a programming wizard in your home in a couple of years. This is a great skill for a child to master in today’s technology-driven world, so why not give it a try?

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