Coding For Kids

coding for kids

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Today, coding can be a great skill for kids to learn no matter what age group they are in. Regardless of where they begin, coding exposes kids to numerous lifelong skills such as creativity, problem-solving, project management, and more, that can help them get ahead in all their future endeavors.

Coding – An Important Skill

Coding has emerged as the number one in-demand skill in recent years. Code has become an integral part of everything we use – from smart TVs and technologically advanced kitchen appliances to online games, puzzles, and OTTs. A lot more is happening and a lot more is expected to happen in the coming years.  

As a result, many new jobs are being created and a significant number of existing jobs are also being re-defined. This is where computer programming or coding becomes a crucial skill for those searching for the best career prospects or planning to upgrade their existing skills.

Coding is not only limited to those interested in pursuing a career in computer programming but has found its place in other so-called non-computer fields.

English professor Annette Vee certainly thinks so. In her book, Coding Literacy: How Computer Programming is Changing Writing, Vee compares the role of programming in society with the role that literacy has had historically. Vee notes that in the Middle Ages, “Writing was a specialized skill, and people became defined by their writing.” As time went on, however, literacy became increasingly common and increasingly necessary. “If you couldn’t read, you were left out,” Vee argues that the computationally illiterate will increasingly have to rely on others to navigate daily life in a way that will seriously hamper their prospects. “If you don’t know how to program, you can carry on with a perfectly fine life. But this is going to change soon.”

Today, it is also a key component of many curriculums, even in primary schools.

What is Coding For Kids

Coding for kids is more important than ever. Technology has become a part of our everyday lives. Our internet browser, the OS of our computers/ laptops/ phones, the apps on our phones, Facebook, and this website – like all the others – they’re all created with code. People who know how to code (i.e., coders, programmers, developers) can create games, apps, computer software, websites, and interactive digital content.

Coding is all about communication. It is a precise way of communicating with a machine.  It can be considered as a creative process executed by programmers wherein they tell a computer or machine how to perform a specific task. It involves writing scripts using computer programming languages like Java or Python. 

Coding for kids refers to the opportunities available for children to get involved in coding. Coding can be introduced to kids in a fun and gamified way to keep kids’ young minds engaged.

Is Coding Good For Kids

Childhood is a great time to learn how to code. Young minds are adaptable and malleable. They are quickly able to absorb and retain knowledge. Coding for kids can help them develop problem-solving skills and encourage creativity and imagination. Moreover, it’s a good foundation for learning more computer science principles later on.

Coding for kids is no longer an option; it’s an essential life skill for young people. Therefore, it is a great idea to demystify the digital world, get connected, get creative and get coding.

Coding is one skill that stands out in the modern era. It offers kids a boost in important life skills, socialization, and schooling — as well as a headstart on their future careers.

  • Coding gives a new way to look at the world: Computer code is a way to describe reality — similar to English or any other language. A programming language, just like any natural language, has its own grammar and syntactic rules. Thus, coding for kids is very much like learning a second language and provides many of the same advantages. In the 21st century, fluency in coding languages like JavaScript, Python, or Scratch gives kids an excellent vocabulary for interacting with the world around them. It’s no wonder that programming has been described as the new literacy!
  • Coding fosters creativity: Taking a mental image and giving it form in the real world is the very heart of creativity. Even at an early age, students can harness their creative abilities to make animated graphics,  websites, and interactive video games with their coding skills.
  • Coding improves math and logic skills: Learning code teaches kids computational thinking — the process of breaking down complicated tasks into individual steps (like loops, conditionals, etc.) that a computer can understand. This is the same process used to break down complex arguments and is a pillar of logical thinking. The more kids practice coding, the better their logic skills will become.
  • Sharpens Math Skills: Math skills can often feel abstract and hard to grasp. This is particularly true as a student enters high school-level mathematics, a transition that many of us have struggled with. Coding projects can make math concepts feel more real. As students proceed to algebra and geometry, variables and other concepts that they have already garnered from computer science are sure to give them a headstart.
  • Coding helps children with problem-solving: Simple coding projects offer an excellent introduction to problem-solving skills at a young age. Coders learn how to break down complex problems into simpler ones. This is one of the most crucial and rewarding parts of problem-solving.
  • Coding projects help kids develop resilience: The ability to cope with failure is a vital life skill. Through coding, kids learn that failure is a stepping stone, not an ending. Recovering from a misstep happens quickly with coding. The process is less frustrating because students can try several solutions quickly. This makes it much easier to develop resilience without feeling overwhelmed.
  • Coding makes learning fun: Computer programming projects give exciting results, that you can see right in front of your eyes. In their coding for kids classes, they can build stand-alone projects like Tic Tac Toe,  an animated animal face drawing, or even their own video game design from their imagination. 
  • Coding is a social activity: Your kids can also show off what they built to their friends! Sharing how they built their favorite game reinforces what they have learned and improves their confidence. When your student shows off that new mobile app or video game they built, their friends are sure to be impressed.
  • Coding prepares students for the careers of the future: Finally, we can’t end this list without mentioning careers. Coding skills are indicators of digital literacy — a necessity in this digital age! Nearly 50% of all jobs require some coding skills.

Of course, these skills are especially crucial for coding and computer science careers. Further, coders are proven problem-solvers and logical thinkers, skills that are valuable in any career field.

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What is an Appropriate Age to Start

The most common question that crops in mind of most parents is – “Is there a need for their kid to learn to code”. If the answer is Yes, then “At what age should be coding for kids start?”.

Parents can have different views regarding this, but experts generally believe that children should be taught how to code as early as possible.

It had nothing to do with using [programs] for practical things, it had more to do with using them as a mirror of your thought process. To actually learn how to think, I think everyone in this country should learn to program a computer. Everyone should learn a computer language because it teaches you to think. I think of computer science as a liberal art.” – Steve Jobs

Coding for Kids

You can start your child learning coding languages at an early age as it cultivates many other life skills apart from problem-solving and logical skills which will be helping them throughout their life. A child can start learning to code at the age of 5 which is the preoperational stage. There are different apps and websites that teach coding for kids with block-based coding. They incorporate visual coding blocks into more fun, colorful games that would typically engage and educate a child.
After all learning to code requires the same efforts as that of learning a language and that’s what experts believe “Earlier you start learning a language, faster you learn”.

Which Coding Languages are Best

Another important question asked by parents is – Which are the best kids coding languages or which of the coding languages are easy for kids to start with.

There are many aspects that can make it easy and useful for kids to learn a programming language that is easy, to begin with, i.e., with kids programming language. So what is a kids’ programming language?

The two important aspects that need to be considered for a language for coding for kids are Accessibility and Practicality. What makes a programming language accessible to kids is its simplicity and comprehensible code language. 

One particular language cannot be graded as kids-friendly or kids programming language. A language that is suitable for one age group may not fit for the other age group.

For kids between the ages of five and eight, it is best to choose coding languages with visual learning environments. These languages offer a drag and drop approach to generate desired code and hence make it easy for kids to start their coding journey.

The table below presents a guide to languages for coding for kids.

Programming Language Where It’s Used  Level of Difficulty Ideal For
Scratch Interactive animations, 2D videos, and games Easiest Kids ages 5 and up, especially those with an interest in storytelling and animation.
Blockly Web and mobile apps Easy Kids ages 7 and up, especially those with an interest in storytelling and animation.
MIT App Inventor Mobile apps Easiest  Kids ages 5 and up, who are interested in mobile app development.
JavaScript Interactive webpages Medium Kids ages 10 and up who want to build websites.
Python Robotics, artificial intelligence, video games, social media apps Medium Kids 10 and up who want to start creating games or program robots.
HTML Building websites Easy Kids ages 10 and up who want to build websites.

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How To Get Your Child Interested in Coding

Teaching kids how to code is top of mind for many parents these days.  It’s certain that large-scale change is going to happen in our future, and coding could someday very well become as integral a part of early education as 3Rs (Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic). 

Fortunately, you don’t have to wait for your kid’s school to start coding. Here are six tips to help you spark and sustain a child’s interest in programming inside and outside the classroom.

  • Emphasize that Coding is Creativity: Coding for kids is as much about creativity as it is about math, science, and problem-solving. The general image of computer programmers as math nerds scares many people away from coding, adults and children alike. But coding is creating and making things come to life—drawings, games, robots, applications. Most kids like to create things, so coding will come as naturally as painting a picture or building something with Legos. Capture their interest by emphasizing creativity, and they’ll naturally learn some core programming concepts along the way. Keep it fun and don’t force it—not all kids like to paint, and not all kids will like to code either.
  • Encourage Exploration: Find age-appropriate tools that give your child enough room to play without needing to read an instruction manual every few minutes. The process of discovery is a core component of a coder’s world so encourage your child to experiment. 
  • Tap Into Child’s Passion: Coding can be used to create many different kinds of programs. Try those that interest your child. There are apps that focus on everything from drawing to animation to storytelling to game design. Avid readers can build websites to publish reviews of books they’ve read. Sports fanatics can build websites to track the stats of their favorite players or teams. Tap into something your child already enjoys doing and show them how to use coding as a new way to bring their ideas to life.
  • Make Coding a Social Activity: Find opportunities for coding for kids and encourage them to code with other children. As they grow, having a network of friends who are also interested in coding will go a long way to keeping them engaged. Doing a quick search in your area will likely turn up a number of options for after-school programs. 
  • Keep Problem Solving Fun: Coding is about finding a solution to a problem. You can always encourage them to be curious, to tinker, and to solve problems. Push them to learn how something works and to find different ways of doing things, or make puzzle games a fun thing you do as a family. A child who enjoys creative problem-solving may get into coding somewhere down the road, even if they’re not interested today.

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What Kids Learn in Coding Classes

Coding is about much more than teaching technology. It incorporates logic, problem-solving, and creativity in an engaging way for children of all ages. The non-cognitive skills that children develop through coding lessons are even more beneficial to young learners than the technical skills they acquire. 

Coding for kids allows them to be creative without being wrong. If something doesn’t work, they must figure out why and determine how to fix it. Coding is the process of continually making mistakes, learning from them, and correcting them. 

The areas that are generally covered in coding classes are

  • Computer Languages: Coding is a way to make software and hardware act upon your instructions. Knowledge of programming languages is necessary as these instructions are provided through them. Programming languages are introduced to kids using visual programming platforms such as Scratch, Blockly, etc. from where they can gradually move on to text-based languages such as Python, C/C++, Java, etc. 
  • Website Development: Web development refers to designing, creating, building, and maintaining websites over the internet. It involves aspects such as web designing, web programming, and database management. Web development for kids includes teaching children to build websites with multimedia and complex functionalities.

The two aspects of web development front-end and back-end are taught using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

  1. Front-End Development deals with the visuals of the website across devices – the colors, icons, fonts, images, etc.
  2. Back-End Development involves building and maintaining the code that runs the website. It connects the website with the servers to ensure that data flows properly and transactions are processed correctly.

  • Mobile App Development:  An application (app) is a type of software that allows you to perform specific tasks. Applications for desktop or laptop computers are sometimes called desktop apps, while those for mobile devices are called mobile apps. App development is the process of designing and building these applications. App development gives children a way to express their thoughts and bring their creative ideas to life. App development classes for kids offer them challenges that stimulate multiple parts of their brain wherein they develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills early. Kids are introduced to the process of app development using visual programming platforms like MIT App Inventor.
  • Drawing and Animation: Drawing and Animation are about creativity with mathematical and logical thinking, hence the Drawing and Animation course imparts training to children in these areas that change the kid’s thinking process that will help them later in life even if they do not want to pursue an animation field.
  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: The exciting world of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning isn’t just for computer scientists; it’s a world that our kids can begin to explore right now. In fact, we think it’s absolutely vital. This technology is going to shape the future. Learning about AI and Machine Learning at a young age and knowing how to use them will inevitably lead to better career opportunities in the future, especially if your child is tech-obsessed! The complex field of AI and ML is introduced to kids through fun-based platforms like Teachable Machines and gradually moves on to learn various aspects of machine learning using Python.

“AI and machine learning will impact the future of all of us – but the kids will be those most affected. Their lives and careers will require a different set of skills to those we use today. Everything is changing – and there’s an opportunity for kids to shape the future and our use of these technologies.” – Professor Michael Luck

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Coding Resources for Kids to Learn

Parents can find a wealth of coding resources online for kids. Free and low-cost websites offer programming tutorials in the form of games and challenges. Parents can also find apps, online and offline games, and take-home kits to keep kids engaged. The list below offers an introduction to some of these resources.

  1. Online Platforms: There are many online coding platforms that your child can use to start learning the basics of Computer Science and programming. These provide various programs suitable for different categories – Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced. There are many advantages of kids coding online classes.
    • Learning With Comfort: Online learning is easy and convenient. Your child can go from lunch or playtime straight to online class. There’s no need to prepare for a class – change clothes, pack snacks, or drive to the learning center. It saves a lot of time which can be utilized for some other productive activities.
    • Online Learning is Self-Paced: The conventional schooling/learning system forces the child to learn and complete homework at the same pace as other classmates. But with the online classes, the kids can develop at their own pace. The online coding for kids classes have a combination of self-paced work, scheduled lessons, and deadlines.
    • Online Platforms Offers Self-Selected Learning: When kids can choose the content they’re interested in, they gain ownership of their learning experience. They can take their time and explore as much as they want. In a well-designed experience, they can choose which tools they’re most comfortable using, helping them learn and develop proficiency.
    • Online Tools Provide Real-Time Assessment: Regular assessment is critical in keeping a student challenged and maintaining a pace.  The tools used by online learning systems provide real-time assessment of students’ progress. They provide on-time progress reports and feedback.
    • Ideal for Introvert Kids: The introverted kids often try to avoid group discussions held in normal classrooms. But here with the online classes, things are different. The virtual coding for kids classes, even such kids participate in such discussions as there is a greater degree of interaction between the teachers and students.
    • Kids are Less Prone to Distractions During Learning: In traditional classes, students focus less on learning and are more influenced by peer pressure. Due to this, less learning takes place as teachers take time addressing behavioural issues of students.
  2. Coding Articles & Blogs: Blogs offer many benefits not only in coding but also in other areas. Reading blogs and articles promotes autonomous learning by providing opportunities for students to take more control of their learning. It also motivates students to better their learning. 
  3. Coding Apps & Toys: Coding is not just about technical skills but learning to code introduces kids to building logic and creative thinking. These coding games for kids make coding fun and imaginative. Through the use of puzzles, riddles, coding games, and challenges the coding apps teach skills like problem-solving, patience, creativity, and persistence.

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Points to Keep in Mind While Choosing a Kid’s Coding Program

Here are some of the major considerations when choosing the best coding for kids classes.

  • Engaging Course Content: All curriculums share one goal: to help students learn. However, the curriculum associated with any program you are considering for your child must be based on the knowledge they will need to build.  Within every discipline, there is foundational knowledge that students will need to understand to develop their expertise. For example, kids don’t dive right into applications (build a mobile app) or text-based programming languages (Python, Java) until they have established a firm grasp of the foundational principles of logic and algorithm development that are necessary to build with technology over the long term. Furthermore, the curriculum should be such it keeps kids motivated to learn more.
  • Personal Mentoring: Each individual is an entity with unique emotional, social, intellectual needs, varied personalities, and learning styles who endeavors to attain optimum potential. Every child comes to a class with enthusiasm, curiosity and other idiosyncrasies and the teacher has an important role to empower the students to become aware of their capabilities and areas of improvement, cognizant of the fact that learning has to take place in every class. This can only be possible by providing individual attention. Personal attention also helps in enhancing focus, identifying talent, creating interest, and a healthy learning environment.
  • Active Learning: The teaching method and style offered should be student-centered. Active learning engages students more fully in the content and leads to a deeper and fuller understanding. Quality programs will offer students opportunities to present projects and practice skills with a minimal lecture.
  • Flexible Schedule: A key consideration in choosing a coding program is how the schedule and format fit into the family calendar. Quality coding classes will offer a variety of class durations and options to catch up via self-paced components or recorded review of classes if a session is missed.
  • Value for Money: Price is an important aspect of any activity. Parents have to consider the budget. The range of fees for coding for kids classes varies considerably for similar courses. Before choosing a program make sure to compare the price and program content of at least two to three platforms.

Conclusion

Coding is about much more than teaching technology. It incorporates logic, problem-solving, and creativity in an engaging way for children of all ages. The non-cognitive skills that children develop through coding lessons are even more beneficial to young learners than the technical skills they acquire. 

Coding for kids allows them to be creative without being wrong. If something doesn’t work, students must figure out why and determine how to fix it. Coding is the process of continually making mistakes, learning from them, and correcting them. 

Coding requires creativity and critical thinking – future-ready skills, that, along with collaboration and communication, are essential. 

Best of all, coding allows kids to create content, rather than simply consume it – and that’s a must-have skill for functioning in today’s tech-driven world.

FAQ

  • What is the right age to start coding?

Kids at the age of 4 or 5 even before they start writing can begin coding. At that age, kids start learning how to code using visual block interfaces, free apps or gaming sites, or text-based coding classes that are relevant to their age.

  • Is coding relevant to non-STEM subjects?

There’s a misconception that learning to code is only important for kids interested in STEM careers, but the world has quickly moved past that. Computer science has evolved way beyond the idea of a singular field. A foundational understanding of computer programming is useful to your child, regardless of the career path they end up taking, even liberal arts or life sciences. 

  • What do kids need to know before taking coding?

The answer is nothing! No formal prerequisites or specific skills need to be mastered before kids get started.

  • How much time does one need to learn to code?

There is no specific number of weeks or months that the course needs to be. Coding is fundamentally a creative endeavor, so once students have learned the basics (offered by short-term courses), they can continue honing their craft and taking on more and more sophisticated challenges.

  • What is block coding?

Block coding is the most appropriate tool for coding for kids. Block-based coding utilizes a drag-and-drop learning environment, where programmers use coding instruction “blocks” to construct animated stories and games. Read to know What is Block Coding For Kids.

  • Is coding a good career?

Yes! Coding for kids is a good career as it is among the top-paying opportunity. It sector is the most growing sector in India and globally, coding makes the most rewarding career in terms of money as well as the global want.

  • What is the best way to learn programming?

There are many ways to learn coding and no way is best. It can be said as more effective and less effective. Since coding requires a computer thus, online coding courses are proving to be better than textbook learning as it gives practical application and usage.

  • Can I do coding at home?

Coding can be done from anywhere provided you have your computer with you. It can be done remotely in the comfort of your home.

  • Can coding be done without Internet access?

Yes! Coding can be done without internet access. There are many standalone platforms and IDEs that kids can use to code without Internet access.

  • What are the uses of coding for kids?

Coding helps in the holistic growth of kids by contributing to enhancing their analytical and creative thinking. It makes them more confident by providing opportunities to interact with other coders and developers. For early coders, it helps in building thinking ability which helps them in academics as well as co-curricular.

 

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