If you are a parent who does not know how to program but wants to teach your kids to learn computer programming, I am sharing the best ways to get them started. It is a great way to learn how to program while also teaching your kids simultaneously.
There are several reasons why programming is essential to study and why it should be learned at a young age. Not only it is because we are already in a digital era, programming has become an important part of the digital transformation. Furthermore, programming brings educational and career opportunities for the kids and helps them develop and grow their organization, preservation skills, and confidence.
However, teaching kids is not an easy job, especially when you think of the word programming, as it can be perceived as being complex. Realistically, programming is just language, and to make it simple, it is how we communicate with our computers.
If you are now thinking about whether it is the right time or not to teach your child how to program, or whether it is the right time to start, then this blog will help you in explaining the benefits of programming, and it will guide you to make the right decision for your child.
All About Teaching Kids How to Program
In this digital age, programming is becoming a basic literacy and it is now necessary that we let them comprehend the technology surrounding them. But even if it sounds complex, parents don't need to have substantial programming experience to teach children to program.
I am sharing with you some tips and resources on how you will start to teach and guide your kids into programming.
Explain to Them it’s What Makes Games and Apps to Get Them Interested
It would help if you initiated easy topics to get the basics right. You can explain to them what they are exactly is about to do, which is programming. In simple words, programming is commanding your computer to perform tasks and is the fundamentals to run an app, game, or program your kids to play or use.
Firstly, to teach your kids how to learn program, you need to be very patient and artful. You also need to give your best efforts to help your kid choose the appropriate programming language according to their age and provide them with the best resources based on their interest to cheer them up (like block coding or an easy scripting language like Python). Children tend to get excited about a project when it involves their favorite game, plays, or learning that coding a program created their favorite game.
Explain To Them It’s Just Math and Languages
Math and language both exist everywhere in our day-to-day lives and as they also play an essential role in our lives, they do so in the world of programming. Programming itself is what we called now the new language of computers.
However, when you say math in programming, it does not mean filling out a worksheet with arithmetic calculations. Mathematics in programming is about improving a program to perform tasks and solve logical problems using specific mathematics rules. Most of the time, programming will also enhance your kid's problem-solving skills.
Kids who learn programming can improve and flourish on different sides of their academic syllabus, including mathematics, writing, and creative skill. Programming also helps grow their confidence level at school, institutional ground, or other social situations.
Explain Fundamentals of Building Blocks
The programming language is the medium through which we communicate with the computer. We provide a set of strings input to achieve the desired output. Writing a programming string is known as "command," whereas we command our computer to perform a specific task.
The following are command consists of various building blocks, which are as follows:
Syntax: As grammar is essential to English, Syntax is necessary to programming language. To make the computer understand what you are trying to say, one must put the syntax precisely. If not correctly done, it might be frustrating, as a single error in syntax can nullify your whole program.
Source code & Object code: Source code is the input you give, which is decipherable by human beings. Object code is the output that the computer shows after compiling your codes and is consists of zeroes and one [ binary digits]
Algorithm: An algorithm is like a flowchart instructing the computer to respond or reply in different situations. For example: for situation A, the computer will reply with A. For situation B, the computer will reply with B.
Environment: It is the coding platform where we write, edit or compile our program.
Tools and Apps to Teach Kids How to Program
There are a lot of different apps and platforms that can be used for teaching kids how to program. However, I wanted to call out two that are commonly used in curriculums globally to teach your kids and students so that when they want to build on their knowledge, they don't have to re-learn a new platform.
Visual Block vs Text-Based Coding Platforms
I recommend drag and drop platforms like Scratch or MakeCode when initially teaching kids how to program. For someone starting to program for the first time, Scratch is the best and easy platform to help you begin. The blocks tend to be more visually attractive, and it's pretty easy to guess their function.
But in C or C++, it's not easy to guess or interpret what is going on; the process looks complex, the symbols look confusing, and it is not user-friendly.
Use Scratch or Microsoft MakeCode
Scratch and Microsoft MakeCode are two free platforms that allow kids to learn how to create fun games (and potentially copy their favorite apps) and make it from Scratch themselves with an intuitive platform.
Microsoft MakeCode covers many tutorials and topics to choose from and provides simple projects for kids to start their programming journey. At the same time, Scratch is an excellent platform with high visual projects and tutorials. It influences the kids to work with their favorite games, animations, etc. They can also share their work with everyone.
General Tips in Guiding Kids into Programming
Use visual block platforms
The concept of visual block-based platforms is trendy nowadays for its accessible, user-friendly atmosphere. It consists of colorful blocks that perform a unique task and can be dragged and dropped according to programmers' needs repetitively. Because of its beginner friendly nature, it is being recommended by a lot of educators and teachers all around the globe for kids.
Allow kids to have fun and get creative
Making their learning entertaining. Provide them with all the necessary tabs on your kid's entertainment. And if you feel that your kid is not enjoying your current track, then never be afraid of adjusting to the curriculum every week.
Make and play programming games
Video games are the most sought-after destination for a kid to have fun. Hence, make and play programming games that will help them interact with the subject more vividly and get more involved voluntarily.
Encourage them to make mistakes
There is a saying that rejection is how you can learn from your mistakes. You can apply this famous saying also in teaching programming to your kids.
Encourage your kids to perform different tasks let them make mistakes. With each mistake or syntax error, they will complete the job repetitively, which will ultimately help them remember it correctly.
Final Thoughts on Programming for Kids
Understanding programming methods and experimenting with the technologies around them is necessary for your child's learning in this digital era. When the child can write more difficult syntaxes, they learn valuable life skills like concentration and organization on their own. When the students learn to program, they gradually understand that it is entirely okay to fail even at a young age.
And when it comes to creativity, by exploring with programming, the children will learn to take an innovative approach to solve the problems in a very creative way. While a child is learning a programming language, they are also learning to create new digital content.
Overall, programming has a lot of benefits to your kids, and they can apply it in real life and their future. Instead of concentrating on playing video games or watching cartoons, or using an app, your child should get involved in learning computer programming to improve their imaginative skill. I hope this helps you get you and your kids to start in the world of programming.
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