Given how technology has become a fundamental part of our society, it is no wonder that so many kids are getting started with coding. While it might seem impossible for a five year to understand these complex concepts, more and more kids are learning programming every day. And the best method to begin learning to code is to have a solid grasp of the fundamental programming terms.
Basic terminology is at the core of learning anything new. When it comes to coding, kids need to understand the fundamental coding terms in order to establish a foundation to learn more complex concepts.
Before diving into full-fledged practice mode, it is critical to grasp the core concepts commonly used in coding. Knowing these terms makes it easy to absorb the material and keeps you going forward faster. If you want to introduce coding to your children, here are some fundamental coding terms to start with.
Why Are Coding Terms Important?
Research has shown that kids will be willing to expend more effort and perform better if they understand why knowledge is necessary and valuable and if they see the relevance of the topic. So, let’s dive into why terminology is important.
Teaching coding to your kids is much like teaching them another language. They are being introduced to a system with a set of rules that are used to communicate concepts and commands and to simplify difficult ideas.
Almost no one attempts to study a language for the sole purpose of expanding their vocabulary. They may want to travel to a country that speaks it. Or maybe they have friends they would like to converse with. The same goes with learning coding. Just like with language, we need to understand the words we are using before we can accurately engage in communication.
7 Fundamental Coding Terms for Kids
Now that you know how to explain to your kids why it’s important, let’s get into which terms they actually need to know when getting started. Throwing too much at anyone learning something new can be a bit overwhelming, so it’s best to start slow. Here are 7 of the fundamental coding terms to get kids started with learning to code.
To connect with a computer and get it to obey your directions, you must first learn its language.
Coding languages are used by computers to understand what people want them to accomplish. People speak with computers in languages such as Scratch or Java, just as they do with one another in languages such as English, Spanish, or Chinese.
In programming, a language is made up of a vocabulary and a set of grammatical rules. There are several programming languages to choose from, and which one you should learn is entirely dependent on your goals. Some of the best coding languages for kids are Scratch, Java, Python, and Blockly.
An application, or app for short, is a piece of software that performs a certain function. This could really be anything, whether it’s on your smartphone, tablet, Chromebook, or desktop. Maybe you need to locate a restaurant or jot down a note on the go. Whatever you need, there is more than likely an app for it.
Depending on your child's age, the term algorithm may not mean anything to them. They do, however, use algorithms on a regular basis.
An algorithm is a set of instructions or rules designed to solve a certain issue. In terms of coding, a computer programmer will create an algorithm that directs the computer on how to accomplish a specific job in order to get the intended outcome.
Consider an algorithm to be a series of step-by-step instructions that produce a predictable pattern in a set of numbers or lines of code. Now think about how kids could use this line of thought in daily situations.
Making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a fantastic example. So, if they go to the pantry and get the ingredients, which one do they need first? They wouldn't start spreading peanut butter on their bread before setting it out, would they? Or they wouldn't put the two slices of bread together before spreading the jelly on top. When preparing a sandwich, the ingredients must be combined in a certain order to ensure proper assembly.
A binary number is a computer's method of representing information. Computers process millions of 1's and 0's each minute, using various rules to interpret them as numbers, characters, operators, and anything else that is entered into a computer. All programming languages are built on this code.
In its most basic form, binary employs the numbers 0 to represent "off" and 1 to represent "on."
Teaching binary numbers to young children does not have to be difficult. Here's a short video that illustrates how binary numbers operate.
Because computers cannot distinguish between letters and numbers, computer programmers must define a data type. This is a classification of the types of data to which a variable or other object in a computer program can be assigned.
The most common data types are integers, booleans, characters, floating-point numbers, and alphanumeric strings. Each type has different instructions or rules it must follow so that the computer knows what it can and can’t do with a variable.
Loops are regarded as one of the most fundamental and powerful concepts in programming and are something that most children will quickly grasp.
Loops in programming allow you to repeat anything again and over. The loop will continue to check and perform until a defined condition is met.
Loops are used by computer programmers to make their systems more efficient. For example, learning how to make scrambled eggs becomes easier and faster with each repetition since you don't have to go over each instruction step-by-step every time.
Bug and Debugging
A bug is something that every child will encounter while learning to code. A bug is an issue in your software that either prevents your code from running or allows your code to run but does not perform as expected.
Debugging isn't usually the simplest coding idea to grasp. Many kids want to see results right away and can easily get frustrated. However, it is a crucial coding concept to understand. Finding problems and executing debugging solutions is also an excellent exercise for developing problem-solving abilities outside of coding.
Coding isn't only those of use working in the technology sector. The earlier children begin coding, the more prepared they will be for future success.
Some of the fundamental terms mentioned above may be difficult for younger children to comprehend at first. Just remember to take your time and explain topics in a way that kids can grasp. There are also a number of videos available online that break down ideas to make them easier to understand.
More Inspiration to Teach Kids Coding
- How to Make Learning Programming Fun for Kids
- Tips for Non-Coding Parents to Teach Kids How to Code
- Python for Kids
- How to Explain Coding to Kids