Computer science and coding are two mutually exclusive concepts that have garnered worldwide recognition today. The world relies heavily on computer science and technology, making tech jobs the most lucrative today. Research by Evans Data Corporation shows that there was an estimated number of 23.9 million coders in the world in 2019. That, however, is expected to increase to 28.7 million in 2024.
This is proof that the fields of computer science, coding, and STEM are promising and worthwhile for anyone, including young children to venture into. Parents, educators, and other institutions recognize the importance of teaching kids computer science and coding at a young age, and thankfully, there are tons of computer science and coding resources for kids today.
The availability of these computer science and programming resources for kids has created numerous opportunities for kids to tap into the benefits of STEM education at a young age, some of which include critical thinking skills, coding skills, creative thinking, and computational thinking, among others.
In this article, you will learn about how you can get your child excited about computer programming and the best tips to make it fun and great for them as a hobby.
Computer science is the study of computers and computer programming work. Computer science is an interesting and useful subject that everyone must know. We are in the digital era, and the traditional forms of reading, writing, and storing data are rapidly going extinct. So, it is highly important to teach kids computer science and coding at a young age.
Getting kids involved in computer science and coding stems beyond teaching them how to use the computer. Computer science and computer programming involve the use of algorithms, which defines the series of steps taken by the computer to solve a problem. Algorithmic thinking is useful for kids, not just for computer science but in other areas of their lives. There are a thousand ways to introduce kids to computer science, but I recommend that you get started with algorithms for kids.
Learn-by-doing is a common teaching method adopted by many schools. It is an effective way to develop a child’s interest in a particular subject. Children are in their developing stage and receptive to new methods and subjects, provided you make it as relatable and fun as possible.
The fastest way to a kid’s heart is through toys and games. Coding is mutually inclusive of computer science; you need computer skills to code. STEM toys teach kids the concepts of logic, problem-solving, algorithmic thinking, and digital literacy among others.
The Lego toys and ChessBot Monster are two amazing toys that introduce kids to robotics and programming. Coding toys use a learn-by-doing method, hence one of the best ways to develop your kids’ interests in computer science.
Learning actively with kids is magical- for you and them. It gives them a great sense of belonging which drives them to always want to learn more. You can build projects together, set milestones, and allow them to lead sometimes. Active involvement in kids' activities has proven to boost their confidence and drive toward learning.
Outdoor games like treasure hunts, turning tumble, find the leaves, and treasure hunts are perfect unplugged coding activities that help kids learn the fundamentals of computer science and programming.
When you share with young children the benefits of learning how to code, it will motivate and boost their desire to learn more. Below are some of the benefits of coding with kids.
A kid coder? Amazing! Not everyone can code, so developing coding abilities at a young age makes kids feel special and important. It also increases their willingness to learn more and not give up. Coding is also considered one of the core technologies in the world, so having coding skills gives kids cool bragging rights.
Academic Performance Improvement
Coding is a technical subject that sharpens kids' brains and improves their academic performance. Coding develops math skills, critical thinking, reasoning, and independent thinking, all of which directly improve academic performance for kids.
Enhance Problem-Solving Skills
The sole aim of coding is to solve problems, which is why different kinds of codes exist to solve different problems. Teaching your kids how to code will develop their problem-solving skills, a skill that is needed across all other spheres of life.
It is n longer news that people in coding and tech careers earn significantly higher than people in other disciplines. The demand for computer programmers has been predicted to increase soon, so kid coders are assured of making their cool cash when the time is right.
There are so many amazing programs and apps kids can create through coding. From building games to creating other customized apps, the list is endless. Below are some of the programs kids can create with coding.
Scratch remains one of the best coding platforms for kids to create amazing programs. Scratch is a block game designed to teach kids how to code in a simple and fun way. Some of the programs kids can create include games, music, mobile apps, animations, and arts. Scratch opens up the inner coder in kids and gives them the platform to thrive on their creativity.
The Hour of Code is another platform that allows kid coders to explore the world of programming, robotics, and STEM. It is free and fun for kids to use. The Hour of Code uses structured methods to teach kids how to code. It is a one-hour introductory class to computer science, after which kids can pick numerous programs and games to create. Kids can also gain expertise in several programming languages needed to build apps, websites, video games, and much more.
Robocode is a programming game that allows kids to develop a robot battle tank to battle against other contestants. Robocode uses Java programming language and allows kids to actively learn while having premium fun. With Robocode, kids will learn the basics of robotics and programming.
This is an amazing coding platform that allows kids to create small programs with code that solves a problem. Code Monkey involves both block and text-based programming languages. The platform also creates numerous opportunities for kids to learn computer science and coding. Teachers can also adapt the curriculum to teach their kids the fundamentals of programming with Code Monkey.
Algorithms are important for kids to learn, especially in computer science and coding. Algorithm City helps kids understand the full concept of algorithms. There are different difficulty levels to the game, and kids will learn all about coding and algorithms through animals that serve as a guide in the game.
Although free, Algorithm City is only available on Android devices.
Frequently Asked Questions
Toys, coding boot camps, micro degrees, online tutors, etc. are the best ways to get kids excited about computer science. Also, you can educate them about the importance of computer science and coding in our society today, as well as the opportunities that await computer science professionals.
The best age for kids to get started with computer programming is the age of 4 and above.
Visual learning platforms that employ games and building blocks remain the best methods for kids to begin learning computer programming. The Hour of Code, scratch, Code Monkey, etc. are incredible visual platforms that help kids learn computer programming.
General Tips for Developing Kids Interest in Computer Programming
- Explain to them that coding is just math and languages, that’s what coding is. It is not a mystical language foreign to them. Let your kids understand that learning how to code is just like learning math.
- Let your kids understand that coding is just like learning a new language. Once you understand the basics, there is only little left for you to learn.
- Explain the fundamentals of building blocks to your kids. A general recommendation for kids starting in coding is to learn through block-based platforms. So, you can begin by teaching your kids coding by using a set of building blocks. This will help them understand components, shapes, colors, and patterns, all of which are necessary for coding.
- Introduce fun and games using visual block platforms.
- Develop a flexible learning plan for your kids. Remember, you do not want them to see coding as a chore or an assignment but as a hobby.
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