Computer coding for kids they will actually understand may sound mythical, but children today are quite capable of learning if you do it right. We know how integral computers are to every aspect of life now. So, concerned parents can use these programs to give their kids a leg up.
Many years ago, bicycles were a new invention, and few children had an opportunity to develop the skill of riding them. Today, it’s a rare western child that doesn’t learn to ride a bicycle.
60 years ago, computers were a recent development, and the skill of programming them was the domain of a few people in the technical elite. Today, computers are omnipresent, and the ability to code them is widespread. Today’s kids will want to control their computers throughout their lives. And coding is a skill that will be useful to them for the rest of their lives.
How to Teach Coding for Kids?
1. LOGO at Turtle Academy
LOGO was one of the first programming languages developed to teach children the principles of computer programming. Developed in 1967 in Cambridge, MA, it uses a turtle as a cursor and a simple command set to draw geometric shapes on the screen.
LOGO capitalizes on a child’s love of drawing and gives immediate feedback as it teaches coding for kids.
2. All Ages Are Welcome at Khan Academy
Kahn Academy is a free online school that teaches coding, math, and more. Math lessons are available for kindergarten through high school levels, and kids can start learning to program whenever they like.
3. Self-Paced Courses at Tynker
After the child has proven their interest, subscriptions are available at quarterly, annual, or lifetime rates, with discounts for multiple children.
4. Free Online Courses at Code.org
Code.org is an organization dedicated to teaching coding to anyone who wants to learn. Their Computer Science Fundamentals classes are offered at a level accessible to children as young as 4, though reading skills are needed to progress beyond that. Online classes are self-paced.
Supported entirely by donations, they have also developed the leading classroom curriculum in coding for kids that’s in use today.
5. Online Learning at Codecademy
Codecademy’s mission is to teach computer programming for all ages. They proudly support the K-12 Computer Science Framework, and welcome students of all ages, though they want parental consent for students under the age of 13.
6. Free Trial at Code Avengers
It’s not as graphics-oriented and kid-friendly as some of the other options are, which may have a special appeal to tweens who want you to see them as an adult.
7. Learn While Playing Games at CodeCombat
CodeCombat focuses on teaching coding for kids in a gaming environment to motivate the kids to learn. They have lesson plans designed for elementary, middle, and high school levels. They have about five curriculum-years of classes available.
The Introduction to Computer Science class is free at all levels. Tuition-based courses are available in Computer Science, Web Development, and Game Development.
8. Code Monster from Crunchzilla
Code Monster is a free interactive website that teaches computer programming concepts to kids. There are two boxes side by side on the screen. The left box shows the code; the right box shows the results of the code immediately.
Intended to be as an easy, it is a fun introduction to the concepts of coding for kids, not a place to learn extensively. Reading is a prerequisite.
9. Scratch from MIT
Scratch is a free project run by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. It is aimed at teaching coding for kids from 8 to 16 and teaches a fun, intuitive language called Scratch.
It uses an online community to encourage collaboration on projects. Interactive games or animated stories are coded and then shared with other Scratch students worldwide. Over 7 million people use Scratch worldwide.
10. Learn Game Development with Stencyl
Stencyl is a game creation suite that writes the code for students, letting them focus on designing the games. Similar to (and inspired by) Scratch, games can be collaborated on by self-selected teams, and released to an online community. Stencyl games frequently appear in the App Store and Google Play, sometimes appearing in the ‘Best New Game’ sections of the sites. It’s free for most users.
These are just a few of the ways available for children to learn programming, and there are even more available for adults. Many people consider computer coding to be a skill that should be available to everyone, believing that it will soon be as necessary to modern life as knowing how to use a microwave oven is today.
Adults who are interested in a fascinating hobby are also encouraged to code. There is a continuous shortage of skilled coders, so it’s an excellent option for anyone who is considering a career shift. It will be rewarding for those who merely want a part-time sideline that they can pursue at home, as well.
Computer Science and coding teaches several fundamentals: critical thinking, logic, attention to detail, and more. If you believe, as many do, that our public education system is failing to teach students these skills, I encourage you to consider letting one of these resources teach your children to code.
Image from depositphotos.com.