Coding For Kids - Parents Guide
Coding for kids or Computer Programming for kids
Since early ages, humans have developed languages to communicate with each other. From Symbols to Latin, languages have evolved into recognizable tongues we know today. Now we have a new language that is becoming more and more popular, that of zeros and ones. The name of that language is Coding. It is used almost everywhere in our daily lives. It is no surprise that more and more people are looking to learn this skill and Coding language.
Due to the use of technology in our daily life and as a new skill, Parents would like their kids to learn Coding and think the Coding for kids program should be part of the school curriculum. They also look for different after-school coding programs or online classes with a good curriculum and structured coding lessons.
Nowadays, new technologies, software and the normalization of online learning allow educators to teach computer programming to young children. They learn from block-based drag and drop Coding and transition to text-based Coding. Kids are also becoming more comfortable with the extra classes taken via online academies and programs.
Following is the guide to discussing Coding for kids’ benefits and why it is essential to start lean to code from a young age.
Table of Contents
What is Coding or Computer Programming for kids?
Coding is writing or giving instructions to a computer or machine to perform a specific task in the language the computer understands. The writer writing or giving instructions is called a Programmer or Coder. These instructions are written in executable scripts using different computer programming languages like Python, C ++ and Java.
Computer programming – Coding is communicating with a computer or machine to create and build games, apps, websites, computer software, machine learning algorithm, Artificial Intelligence, Robot coding Etc. To do these kinds of tasks, we have two different kinds of computer languages.
Low-Level Language, which is harder to understand for humans, and High-Level language, which are easier to understand. Kids should start learning block-based (draga and drop blocks) program, which is developed using high-level languages and first build their programming foundation and concepts. Once the foundation is built, they should transition to a high-level coding language.
Should Kids learn Coding? Is Coding Good for Kids?
We are using many different devices in our daily life and depend on them. Engineers and programmers build them and code them. To use it properly, we need to know what kind of programming is available for these devices. We do not need to dive into the technical details, but we can use the programmed functionality by pressing buttons etc.
Programming – Coding is a new language and should be learned as kids learn English or Math. The purpose of learn to code is not to become a programmer or coder but familiarise ourselves with coding and develop an understanding of how things work. E.g. Surgeons are using Robots to do some surgeries. These Surgeons get training on how to use these robots and what are the programming feature available. They also give some options to program or customize the robots per their needs. So, it is beneficial for the kids to learn code early.
Does Coding Improves Problem Solving, Logical & Critical Thinking?
Programming / Coding for kids promotes problem-solving, reasoning, logical thinking and critical thinking.
Many studies, including the MIT study, highlighted that coding could improve cognitive development. These studies also found a correlation between coding and cognitive skills.
Kids are taught to break the complex problem into smaller pieces and then think through to solve the problem systemically and logically. Once the solution has been discussed, then they start coding. This process improves their logical thinking and critical thinking.
When kids learn to code, they follow a process to solve the given problem. They follow a similar approach as they solve other problems like identifying the problem, analyzing it, coming up with a solution, and testing it.
Problem-solving is a critical part of learning to code programs. When kids/programmers write the code, they often realize it is not fulfilling the requirement. So they need to debug, troubleshoot and many times, the code needs to be re-written. Kids follow the process and get comfortable with it. It improves their problem-solving skills, and they apply this process to solve other problems.
How Coding Improves Focus & Creativity
Coding is a great way to improve children’s focus and creativity. The problem-solving and critical thinking process helps them to think logically, systematically, and creatively. While doing programming, they concentrate on a single task, improving their focus.
Computer programming is often mistaken for a technical profession, and people may forget that it involves creativity since there are so many steps when writing code. However, programmers know that it is anything but linear. Although coding can be methodical, we must be creative when solving problems. When we are programming from scratch, creativity is necessary.
Coding allows kids to think about problems in new ways, leading to more creative thinking. The analytical skills that coding teaches can also help with problem-solving in other areas of life outside of coding.
Consider children that know how to code- they can develop apps, games, animations and websites. They can create interactive content by writing down lines of existing code or snapping blocks together, but the blueprint for the program comes from a writer’s imagination.
Coding improves the focus of the child. Let us take an example to develop a simple calculator app which can add, subtract, multiply and divide. Kids need first to write a code for the screen which shows these functions and then write a code to do the above functions. They also need to ensure that the code is producing the correct output. If they are not focused, then the program will have many bugs.
Each child expresses their creativity different way. Some sing or play instruments, some like playing games and get better every day and some kids code.
How Coding Develop Confidence?
When kids learn to code, they usually start learning block-based programming/ block-based coding, which is easier to understand and develop their logical thinking. They also understand the steps of completing the coding tasks. They start developing their confidence that they can code anything. For example, when making a video game, they must write a code to make a character move forward, backwards, and dodge falling objects. They also program the video game screens and backgrounds. It builds not only their confidence but also their focus.
Once they learn and get confident in block-based programming, they can switch to text-based programming. Text-based coding requires more focus and precision. Each computer language has its own grammar/syntax, which kids need to learn before starting code. (There are many online free resources available to start, and you can also choose coding classes.). After learning the language’s syntax, they can start writing the code for a different app which they want to make. As they progress, code becomes more complex and challenging, and their knowledge and confidence increase that they can run and debug their code. It teaches them patience also.
With this process, kids are more likely to think about the problem and how to solve it. They become confident in their decision. Kids learn that failure is the first step to success as they face repeated failures and bounce back to complete the tasks. This confidence allows them to achieve their goal in many different areas of their life.
How Learning Coding Can Impact the Future of Children?
Programming is the foundation of the digital world. Innovative thinkers and entrepreneurs need to understand how computer programming works to be able to innovate and create new technologies.
Technology is part of our daily life, and we depend more on it. Since the Pandemic, the demand for coders has risen exponentially. Learn to code does not mean that your child will choose Coding as a profession. It means you are preparing your child to correctly understand and use the technology in their field.
Soon, Artificial Intelligence will be part of our daily life, and learning coding will allow Doctors to use the technology more effectively and diagnose the illness much faster. Painters will be able to create digital arts easier and creatively. AI will help to predict more financial models, and the list goes on. Coding will give a definite advantage over their peer while looking for jobs.
Some facts and forecasts for 2023 and onwards
- The demand for computer science majors will increase by 22% between 2022-2030. It is much faster than the average demand.
- Programmer salaries start from 50,000 to 60,000 per year, and experience programmers can make between 80K to 100 K per year quickly.
- Most of the jobs require candidates to know a minimum of one of these computer languages Python, Java, Java Script and C++.
Learning Coding is a skill that has become increasingly important in the modern world. It has become an essential skill for every student to learn. It is not just about learning how to make a website or app. It is also about learning how to think and solve problems that relate to technology. Learning how to code can help people find jobs they love and provide better opportunities for themselves.
It is a new language that many schools have started teaching Coding as a subject. Now the teacher has tools and platforms designed for kids to learn to code systematically. The reason for the coding classes is to familiarize students early so they can use technology better. If your child likes Coding, there are many after-school coding programs where you can enrol your child for advanced learning. Most employers prefer people with some coding background regardless of the industry.
As AI will be widely used in every aspect of our life, including industries. Technology understanding and Coding are the significant part of it to work efficiently in your desired field. It will become a new language and will be necessary to learn. If the child has coding skills, it will be easier for them to navigate their fields.
When Can a Child Start Learning Coding?
Every child is unique and has a learning style. Kids can start learn to code as early as 5 years old. Coding is not only writing a computer program using computer language, but it also requires solving the problem step by step. Once they know how to solve the problem, they can start writing the code. A simple puzzle can be used to start teaching coding. The child’s steps to solve the problem will develop their logic, problem-solving and critical thinking skills. It is the first step of learning to code.
As per Jean’s Piaget theory, cognitive development and intelligence change as a child grows. A child’s cognitive development is
not just about gaining knowledge; the child must develop a mental model of the world. He suggests that there are 4 different stages of child development. A child learns the Symbolic system better during 2-7 years of age. So, using block-based programming will be the best suite able for them.
I have been asked many times that my kid is young, and he/she might not be ready for the coding, or we do not want to introduce coding prematurely. I understand their concern and suggest that they can wait a
bit and start introducing the child to free online coding. See if the child develops the interest, and then they can enroll them in coding classes.
Another thing, if a child is too young and cannot count the numbers and read a bit, it will not be easy to teach them coding concepts like conditional statements, loops, functions etc. We cannot also teach the text base programming to a young child. Kids should be introduced to text-based coding once they start reading things correctly or after 7 years of age.
As technology is becoming part of our daily life, learning coding is becoming a new norm, and it is a new language. It should be learned as
a subject as kids learns English and Math. Learn to code takes time, so be patient with the child. It is a process which takes years to develop a good grasp of different programming languages.
Many studies show that children can learn different languages when they are young. Many different apps and online platforms offer block-based coding block coding for the kids in a fun and colourful environment. Once kids start developing their interest, then you can look to enrol them on coding classes.
Now many different governments have started making the coding part of the school curriculum. They have allocated funds to train existing teachers to integrate coding and computational skills into the teaching, hire new technology teachers, support school boards to purchase new digital tools etc. The goal is to introduce and improve all students’ coding skills to prepare them for the future job market.
How Can You Get Your Child Interested in Coding
I have been teaching coding to the kids for a long time, and I have seen one major issue with the Parents if they belong to the IT field or work as computer programmers or coders, then they want to teach their young kids’ text-based programming, which requires much focus, and it is bit complex in the start. They expect the kid to become an expert in a short time like them. The other kind of parent wants their kids to become experts in a few coding classes after enrolling them on the after-school coding program. Please remember that coding should be learned as a subject as children learn Math and English, and it takes a long time to introduce them to different coding concepts and computer languages.
If you want to enrol your child in coding classes, you can do proper research on kids coding programs offered and then enrol them after doing all your due diligence. Gems Learning Institute offers an excellent coding program. They offer online and in-per coding classes and teach computer programing systematically and logically in a fun environment.
If your child is already interested in game development, app development, web development, coding and learning Python, then
you need to find the right coding kids program per their needs and knowledge and enrol them in that program so they can learn in a structured environment.
If you would like to introduce coding to your child or create an interest in computer science/ STEM programs, there are a few different ways to get them interested.
Combine computer programming learning with their Hobbies and Interests.
Young kids get attracted to the fun and colourful environment and want to play games, etc. You can apply the same approach to start teaching coding to the kids. Following are some resources that can help you to start teaching and develop a child’s interest in coding.
Model Building Blocks Kits
Different model building block kits available in the market can be used to build models. They also have features to program these models using their app. Lego is one of the best ones. They have education Lego kits for different age ranges. They also have an app which can be installed on a tablet or phone and have instructions on how to program the Lego machinal parts. It is easy to use, and kids learn coding concepts through building the models..
Nowadays, many different kinds of robots are available to start learning to code. In my experience, kids love it when they move a robot and complete a task. You can look into wonder workshop Dash – Coding Robot for kids, Lego robotics kits and Sephro robots. These robots allow kids to build their basic understanding of the coding concepts. You can also look for Robotics program for kids to have structured learning.
You can introduce kids who love drawing or painting to Scratch, Mblock and Google blockly app. These programs are free to use and kids-friendly coding platforms. Kids can create and animate characters, create stories and make games using a block-based programming language. Once kids become familiar, then you can look for the coding classes for kids programs to enrol them.
Video Games/App Development
Every child loves computer games. Why don’t we try to teach them to create their own game? A few free coding platforms are available, and one of the best is code.org. They also have an introductory lesson which helps parent or teacher to learn their self and start teaching kids. Many parents inquire about Minecraft programming as their kids love playing it. There is a Minecraft education version available on the monthly prices where kids can learn to code and create their worlds.
Parent can learn coding with their children
Some kids are naturally shy, and they need someone to be with them whom they can trust to take the first step in any new thing they will try. Like when there was a first swimming class for my child, he wanted me to be with him in the pool, and now he swims excellent. To build the child’s coding confidence, you can start learning to code with them. If you are not good at technology, it gives you a chance to learn new things.
Community Coding Lessons
As Aristotle said, humans do not live in isolation, and It is proven true as we came out from lockdowns in the near past, and the lockdown drove us crazy when we could not meet other people. Find out if local coding communities offer coding lessons, an hour of code or institutes that offer private group classes. Enrol them in these programs as they will make friends and have a fun learning coding environment. They will also develop a coder friends’ network where they can go to discuss the coding problem and come up with a solution after discussing the issue with them.
What is the Best Way to Teach Coding for Kids?
Since the Pandemic started, technology has become a major part of our life. We have a lot of online resources available to learn to code ourselves, and many schools or after-school programs offer Coding for kids programs. There are many platforms available now where kids or adults can learn independently, but the self-learning path is slow and quite frustrating. Most people do not understand the main coding concepts and do not learn systemically. There are many other good options available to start learning to code. Look for the institutes which offers a good Curriculum and systematic learning.
- Join hour or code or coding communities.
- Group or one-to-one Lesson/ Find an experience Coding Tutor.
- Online coding classes.
- Many institutes offer hybrid classes, so If a child cannot attend the in-person class, he/she can join the same class through zoom, etc.
Now schools have started teaching Coding in school, which is suitable for kids; however, you can supplement their lessons by enrolling them on excellent online coding courses or In-person coding courses as per your schedule.
Given the current global health crisis, it is safe to assume that most kids have now adjusted to online classes and self-paced study. Ergo, most (if not all) of these options should not be too far out of their comfort zone.
If your kids’ current school curriculum already has Computer Programming or Computer Science classes, you can always supplement their lessons with online coding games or online coding courses. You ideally want to pick an option that appeals to you and your child’s wants and needs (like schedule, content, teaching structure, and affordability).
How to Choose or Find the best coding courses for kids?
As learning coding is becoming a new norm, many after-school programs offer coding programs. Here is a quick list to consider the best coding course for your child
The traditional way of choosing the program
As we enrol our kids on other activities like swimming, music, and other classes, the same concepts apply to finding or choosing the proper after-school coding program. First, research and see what they are offering and what kind of curriculum they have. What is the structure of their coding curriculum? If they offer in-person classes, you may want to visit their center.
If there is only an online coding class option, do a video call to understand all the above things and ask questions about their staff and system. Only enrol your child in the program if you are satisfied.
One of the crucial aspects is that you talk to people in your circle and see if they know about the program or the institute. What is their view? If the after-school program is located in your neighborhood, then visit them. The online review also needs to be reviewed.
Free and Paid Program
If you would like to try out coding for your child, then some free online coding platforms are available, like Scratch and Code.org, etc., to try out. If your child likes coding and wants to learn more, then it is time to find a good program and enrol him/her in it.
Now a day, many institutes are offering free trial coding classes. You can also avail this offer and take the trial class to see if that interest your child. If he/she is interested, then enrol him/her in the program. Please ensure that you keep the child in the program for a while as there is a learning curve, and any other subject takes time to learn coding concepts.
The best way of learning computer programing is a hands-on approach. It is one of the essential parts of the best online coding course curriculum. They also provide hand-on exercises for homework to reinforce the concepts learned in the class.
Private Coding Classes
Getting private or one-to-one coding classes for your child is also a good investment if it fits your budget and schedule. Before starting coding tutoring, you must ensure what is covered in each class and what goals will be for these classes. This way, kids can learn at their own pace and lessons are customized according to their skills.
Again, many coding academies offer online coding or in-person classes. It is tough to choose as they all have different costs and teach different computer languages. Some are offering cheaper, and some are expensive. Regardless of the cost, you need to determine if your child learns better online or in person as a first step. Then check their curriculum as to what they are teaching. What are their vision and coding teaching style? Do your due diligence as you do for other programs before enrolling your child in the program.
Purpose of Learning Coding
Technology is an integral part of our society. All the technology is built on Coding. Attending Coding classes does not mean you have to choose I.T field or become a computer programmer. It means that you are providing your child with an opportunity to understand technology better and use it as required to be more efficient in completing tasks. Like Surgeons are using robots and adjusting the program as they require. Artificial Intelligence models predict more solutions to an illness. Painter uses technology to create digital arts.
What is the best programming language for kids?
We must first understand that younger kids learn more with visual tools, and if it is a game environment, they also have fun learning. We should start teaching them first with visual or block-based programming. Scratch can be used in this stage to teach simple programming concepts. They will make games using Scratch and learn concepts like sequencing, loops, variables, conditional statement etc. They will also be able to see the output immediately, giving an incredible feeling of achievement. Slowly and gradually, we can transfer them to text-based programming. One of the issues we might face is that if the child is too young, he/she may not be able to type and fully understand the complexity of the text-based language.
In the initial stages, we can use the block-based coding tools; however, older kids may get bored and want to move the text-based programming.
However, while this approach is suitable for kids 5 to 7 years of age, older, more experienced kids may soon feel bored or uninspired by the limits of block coding. They may soon want a taste of the “real thing,” and the “real thing” is text-based coding.
Python is a versatile language. You can use it for different tasks, and it is used in many industries. It is mostly used in mobile app development, Artificial Intelligence and machine learning. Kids can learn the Python concept more easily and write code to complete different tasks.
It is easier and more suitable for the kids. We use it to build the website and a text-based language.
It is mostly used with HTML to style/design the website.
One of the best block-based programming languages that remain one of the best ways to teach coding for 5- to 7-year-old kids.
Coding is a new language, and learning it can benefit kids, teens and adults. We depend on our smartphones and computers, and AI will soon be part of our daily lives. Learning coding will help program the devices and tools we use daily and at work.
Do you want your child to learn how to code? Contact Gems Learning Institute and get a free In-Person coding assessment in city of Mississauga and Oakville cities. Online coding assesment is available for everyone. It is one of the excellent in-person or online coding programs.