There are numerous activities in programming kids can engage with. While only a few young learners may find data processing algorithms interesting, many are bound to enjoy music programming, creating games, website designing, and playing around with codes. Beginners, regardless of their age, can learn how to code from various books available. One does not need any professional qualifications. Kids are known to learn faster than adults, and this can be because children are not aware of how hard coding can get.

Parents who do not know how to code can read to teach their children.

1. Cubetto

Cubetto is an award-winning code tech-toy which has been approved for use in Montessori schools. It helps teachers teach coding education to children aged three years and above. Cubetto provides kids with basic ideas of coding education, and is a screenless system operated through an inventive coding language. It uses engaging and colorful blocks to write novice computer programs.

Cubetto is an innovative wooden robot which helps kids learn the fundamentals of computer programming through unlimited adventures and educational play. The Cubetto set comes with coding blocks, a control board, books, and maps. Learners use the control blocks to form different block patterns on the control panel. Kids can easily create various code arrangements to program this toy's movement.

Cubetto helps children advance their computation reasoning skills, enhancing their understanding of basic coding principles. Additionally, Cubetto helps promote spatial awareness, creativity, communication skills, and critical thinking. The activity books and maps inspire children to acquire coding experience, develop adventures, and use stories to think independently, critically, and communicate. Cubetto is probably the only coding toy that both non-sighted and sighted kids can utilise in a learning atmosphere that supports multi-faceted play. Cubetto combines sound, touch, and movement to help disabled children enhance their communication skills and progression abilities.

2. Python for older kids, Scratch for younger kids

Scratch is a programming tool specially designed for students. It is free and runs on a modern web browser. Individuals can access it here. Scratch’s visual design was leveraged by this program, which was created in the 1980s and 1990s as a basic programming class for kids. Scratch is more advanced than its predecessor, and the comprehensible graphical interface is likely to benefit children between the ages of 8 and 13 years. The drag-and-drop code blocks on Scratch snap together. Any bits of code which are not computationally sensible do not fit together, which makes it impossible to make syntax errors. Scratch is good for young kids who are yet to develop typing skills. Children who try to make more refined programs with Scratch are likely to run into a wall.

Python is good due to its easy syntax as compared to other programming languages, has a big and cordial society of developers behind it, and provides a readable code. Python is ideal for kids who have outgrown Scratch.

3. Show kids the source code as compared to giving them theory

Programming is more of a hands-on art, regardless of its intellectual fame. It therefore requires practice, as compared to reading books. Python comes with an interactive shell which encourages users to experiment to find instructions on what to do.

Even when children are tutored directly, code writing helps a lot in comparison with talking about ideas to them. After teaching functions, variables, and loops, starting a new program on a blank editor may frighten kids. Describing the code they should write helps them to understand better. Educators who utilize online resources to teach students should establish a source code to use with small games. Programs which have less than a specific hundred code lines work better. The Scratch website shares the project source automatically on the site. Parents can motivate their children to modify the code, and monitor how that changes the program.

4. Games are exciting programming activities

Young coders find programming videos a fun way to start coding. Some inspiration sources include Minecraft, Angry Birds, Five Nights at Freddy's, and Flappy Bird. This book shows coding ideas complete with the source code for various simple game projects, such as Hangman and Tic Tac Toe. Remember, some of the games kids love may not be suitable programming activities when they are beginning. It takes the collective responsibility of designers, artists, and developers to design games. Intricate games can be overwhelming for beginners. Completing a simple game gives kids more satisfaction as compared to starting and not being able to finish a large project.

Games are fun. However, kids should be discouraged from using game maker software as they provide them with a simplified environment for programming. In the end, they weaken the aspects of programming. Today you can hire many very good game coders at freelancer.com, and many of them started coding as young kids.

5. Avoid the keyboard and mouse

Educators and parents alike get excited to share their programming skills with their kids. However, coding is a skill best learned through practice. Allow students to find their way on their own. When the need to use a mouse arises, let them do the clicking. If a code needs typing, allow them to do so. It would be faster if the parent helped, but the students need to practice so they can learn.

6. Kids learning in a classroom should have individual computers

Programming is a skill that requires practice to master. Take an example of a musical instrument. One needs to play an instrument to learn how to play. Educators teaching a group of kids should ensure each student has a computer. In cases where individual computers are scarce, kids can take turns at practicing, and this requires patience. Educators should teach them to be courteous when they need to use either the mouse or keyboard. They should learn how to ask politely rather than grabbing them. A good way of avoiding conflicts among kids is having them use the computer at set intervals.

7. Skip the computer science

Developers get eager to share their technical knowledge on complex topics such as practicing problems from here and analyzing recursive flood fill algorithm. However, these are too complicated for kids and are best avoided.  Additional topics to avoid in the beginning when dealing with children include:

  • Recursion
  • Object-oriented programming
  • Data structures besides lists/arrays and dictionaries/hash maps
  • Design patterns
  • SQL databases or other Domain-Specific Languages
  • Networking protocols (beyond simple HTTP requests)

Educators should avoid complex issues at the beginning as they tend to confuse the learners. Handling a vast range of topics would be a good idea as compared to delving deeply into technical concepts. Allowing the kids to identify their passion gives them an opportunity to discover elements in the programming field, enabling them to concentrate on the areas in which they are most interested.

8. Move the Turtle

Kids can learn fundamental programming ideas from Move the Turtle, by operating a single graphical object through challenges. There are limitations to what kids can do with the turtle, making it a single-task-app. It is, therefore, ideal for young beginners. Educators can teach students various logical programming ideas, such as Geek Dad asserts.

Teaching coding to kids is great because they are fast at absorbing information, and they tend to be familiar with the technology world from an early age. It is not surprising to see children who can operate smart phones better than adults. Programming is not only fun for children and their parents, but it also teaches them communication, problem-solving, and creativity skills. And, who knows? Perhaps the kid will become a world-renowned tech engineer in the future.

Hope you enjoyed the ideas, got a better insight and know how to go about teaching coding to your kids! We would be glad to know more about your experiences. Drop your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

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Posted 9 August, 2017

LucyKarinsky

Software Developer

Lucy is the Development & Programming Correspondent for Freelancer.com. She is currently based in Sydney.

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