Teaching Children to Code
- Apr 08, 2015
It has been said that anything that has not been made by nature has been designed by someone. But at the heart of those designs resides the ever-continuing codes, striving to make our lives easier. And it is people like you and me who craft these codes with love and care.
However, it is a common notion that coding is generally done by the twenty-something, white-shirted, bespectacled, serious-looking people. Let me tell you here that not only are you mistaken, but also massively misled. Did you know that your kids could be the next coders? If they are interested in drawing, or baking a cake, or shooting hoops, they are surely going to like coding. Let's explore why.
What coding is all about
Coding is nothing but writing out instructions according to a few etched-in-stone guidelines to make things work. And the best part is, programming brings life to your ideas. Isn't that wonderful? For example, let us take up that Angry Birds game that you so like to play on your phone. Now, that didn't just fall out of the sky, right? One fine day, somebody (in this case a team of coders) put their heads together to write down a bunch of algorithms and syntax that put the idea into action. It is like grammar, you learn the rules and then put it to use. In programming, you think of what you want and how you want it to work and then you use the rules that you know to produce a series of codes that would fit your bill.
How to start
The fundamentals of coding are present in every child. A child develops curiosity since a very young age. This curiosity forms the basis of coding. More than anything else, coding is actually based on the 'How?' and 'Why?' of it all. For example, a few questions that may come to the child’s mind could be:
- How does the computer work?
- Why does the snake increase in length after every morsel it eats in the game?
Your kiddo has been asking you these questions already. Then why not put it to use? Instead of feeding him the easiest possible answer, tell him the actual secret in an easy way. Since he is too young to understand the basics of an actual code, you could try these methods:
- Try assembling Lego blocks into something innovative; he would find it magical.
- While baking with him, explain what each ingredient does in building up that delicious chocolate cake. This would help him understand the functions of codes.
- Play video games with him, and don’t forget to tell him why that Lamborghini hit the by-lane.
- Next time you are on the beach, teach him how to build a sandcastle.
- You could also try assembling a computer with him while explaining the parts and their functions.
These would build up his basic knowledge about coding, rouse his interest, and not make him bored at all.
Various online tools for coding
In this tech-savvy world, every child is aware of computers and mobile phones. Therefore, the market has come up with novel software and apps for children to learn new things. Following are a few that have upped the ante quite a lot:
- KidsRuby: A fun programming game for the kids
- Alice: For making simple video games and movies with programming
- Scratch: A game employing visual programming language for kids
- Move The Turtle: Creating computer programs with graphic commands
- Cargo Bot: An outstanding puzzle game
- Tynker: App built to teach programming to children
There are many other apps that you might find compatible with your phone or computer that would help in programming.
Why teach them coding?
Computers are everywhere and anywhere you look. Even your mundane, office-documents-filled laptop is like a candy to your child. She wishes to know how that wireless mouse can make the ball on the screen, green. She wants to type her new-found knowledge of the alphabet and draw the beautiful butterfly that she saw hovering above the bougainvillea bush in the porch. With those adorable questioning eyes, she wants to know how everything works. And that is exactly why you need to teach her coding.
Coding has been made simple and easy to quite an extent with the new apps available on the Internet. Knowing how things work and designing new ones will give kids a great thrill. At a later stage, coding might help them procure a lucrative profession as well. Coding for children has made an uproar in the news as well. All you need to do is, introduce your kids to coding. Their curiosity will do the rest.
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