From the people working at Google and the teams of software development outsourcing companies like BairesDev to any IT consultant in the government, the vast majority of those who work in IT started off playing around with digital tools when they were little. Be it because their family drove them to that, because they took an interest in it, or just because they were curious, toying around with software and applications surely cemented their love for digital technology.
In a time where everything is becoming increasingly digital, learning how to code is more and more important by the minute. That’s why it’s great to cultivate the children’s interest in technology in general and in software in particular. While we all wait for the entire education system to catch on, you can start enticing your own children through several methods.
Of course, that doesn’t mean they’ll end up being software developers but that doesn’t matter. Initiating kids in coding can bring several benefits, like boosting their creativity, improving their logic, and establishing a better relationship with new technologies. Your kids can get all that fairly easily – you just need to use the methods below!
1 – Show Them Online Platforms
The first idea that might come to your mind when trying to teach your kids something is going online to find some resources. Luckily, that’s precisely what you should do. There’s plenty of tools and platforms on the internet that can help you teach your kids about coding in a playful and fun way.
The most outstanding platform surely has to be Code.org, the platform of a non-profit organization dedicated to expanding computer science access to ensure the participation of women and young children. They say that kids should have the opportunity to learn computer science in the same way they learn algebra or biology. That’s why they carry out a lot of actions and activities that go beyond the online realm. Their site, however, has a lot of resources to get a kid started (you can even learn something yourself while at it!).
Of course, that’s far from being the only resource. There are other platforms, like Kodable, a platform that teaches kids how to code through fun games while providing teachers (or their parents) with a complete guide on how to do so. And then there’s Code with Google, a comprehensive platform from the Mountain View giant that offers different programs for schoolers starting in the 4th grade.
2 – Let Them Play With Apps
Chances are you won’t get a small kid to sit in front of a desktop computer. Since most children are used to tablets and smartphones, having apps by your side when teaching how to code is a no brainer. They can use a device they are already familiar with and they can bring the touch and interactive feel to another level (through gestures, noises, and movements). Fortunately, software developers have created several apps to help kids learn to code.
In that sense, Kodable is (again) a great choice. Apart from being a fantastic online platform, they have also created an app for iPhone and iPad devices that adapts the contents of the web portal to the smaller screens.
Looking for an Android alternative? Then Scratch is the perfect solution for you. Developed by the MIT Media Lab, it provides kids with all the tools and features they need to create interactive animations and games. The best thing about it is that it has a nice community of creators with which your kids can share creations and experiences.
And then, there’s the codeSpark Academy: Kids Coding app, the right alternative for kids aged 4 to 10. Through it, you’ll be able to teach your kids the basics of computer programming with the aid of puzzles, games, and printables, among others. The funny thing is that your kids will learn through a “no words” colorful interface that will surely catch their attention.
3 – Take The Coding Experience Offline
It’s only natural to think about computers, smartphones, and other digital devices when thinking about coding because, well, that’s where coding happens! However, believing that coding is just a digital thing is plain wrong. While software development does take place in digital devices, it frequently interacts with offline elements, from manufacturing machines to smart objects of the IoT.
So, what better way to teach your children about coding than by using sophisticated and customizable toys? That’s precisely what Wonder Workshop offers you. The company has created a line of robots that can be programmed to do a lot of things and that even have their own personalities.
You can pick out of three models depending on the age of your child and their knowledge about coding. There’s the more basic Dot Creativity Kit, the “STEM” robot Dash, and the highly customizable Cue. All of them are amazing ways to bring coding knowledge to life since they won’t just serve to teach – they are also very funny!
4 – Take Them To Real-Life Events
Coding events and camps for kids take the offline experience full circle and can get children excited about coding in a very different way. There are a lot of real-life events tailor-made for children and their parents up to high school seniors covering the most varied topics.
For instance, iD Tech offers a lot of on-location courses that range from intro to the most popular programming languages to modding for Minecraft. Their campuses are located all across America, so it’s highly likely that you’ll find one close to your home. And since their offer covers plans for kids of all ages, it’s a recommended way to start the search for coding events.
Then, there are the Girls Who Code summer immersion camps, a great way to get 10th to 12th-grade girls into coding, all sprinkled with other fun activities. These camps are great for girls that want a taste of coding and that can serve as an encouragement to pursue a career in tech, an industry still dominated by men.
There are more events across the country but, unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has kept them closed for the moment. That doesn’t mean your kids can’t benefit from them, though, as most of them have taken their activities online. So, be sure to check if your favorite offers this as well!
Some Final Words
Getting your kids to code is a great move. Apart from the fact that it prepares them for the jobs of the future (that will most definitely be software-related), coding can develop new skills, foster their creativity, and provide them with a new way of having fun.
In fact, as more and more digital technologies are developed, pretty much all future activities will be tied to digital tools in some way or another. So, your kids can start familiarizing themselves with that through these fun methods. Help them do so!