Coding at a young age gives children and teenagers better future opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for software developers is $103,560, with demand expected to grow by 24% per year from 2016 to 2026. This is significantly faster than the national average for other occupations.
Unfortunately, even schools that actively offer coding classes, do not adequately prepare students. They either fail to incorporate the necessary languages to jumpstart your child’s career or simply do not have as many tools and resources as supplemental programs. Scratch, Code.org, and Tynker are commonly used in schools.
Scratch is a good, free way for children to learn coding concepts without having to use real programming languages. In its later modules, Code.org has some decent exercises that introduce Scratch-like visual block languages and even some basic text coding. Tynker also employs a visual block approach, with text-based coding introduced in later modules.
These coding for kids programs are the preferred tools for schools because classes can be proctored by teachers with limited or no engineering backgrounds and are still enjoyable for some initial time by kids! Sooner than later, however, many children start clamoring for more advanced content. Because, for ‘REAL’ coding, students need to use real text-based languages to create their own games, apps, and web pages in the next level of content. And the programs must give them independence on the platforms.
Teachers and Parents must be patient and tactful in order to help a child learn to code. That’s the THUMB RULE. It also necessitates some effort, from Teachers and Parents, such as selecting an age-appropriate coding language and providing interest-based resources to encourage them. Here are seven ways for kids to learn to code:
1 – Encourage your child to master age-appropriate coding languages before progressing to complex ones.
With adequate motivation and parental support, children can do wonders at a tender age. Select an appropriate coding language for the child’s age group. This is very critical. Though there are many block-based and text-based programming languages available for children, it is important to carefully understand the specific framework that is appropriate for your child’s age group before beginning to teach them to code. Some programming languages use simple commands to help children aged 8 to 16 understand the fundamentals of coding.
2 – Enable them to see what’s in for them.
At this age, children would be far from being bothered about their future prospects, job, position, status, or be able to perceive what they might get out of doing a coding course. Treat kids like adults, when they start to code. By this I mean, give them a lot of freedom to do as they please; let them play around with their algorithms when coding, add something, or delete something and see the results! All this may not sound useful but the child is gathering valuable information through this. Allow them a lot of independent hands-on experience with source code. Refrain from taking charge and resolving minor issues for them. When you take over the mouse or keypad while a child is stuck, they lose interest. When children come up with creative solutions on their own, they tend to retain more information. The best way to teach coding is through trial and error while guiding them through the steps and approaches to support their learning.
3 – Magnify the fun element in the language to learn it as ‘playing games’ not a burden.
Games are an excellent way to get your child started with coding. These games are designed to introduce various coding concepts in a fun and engaging manner. Coding games for kids remove the fear of failure, allowing the child to learn programming without fear of failure. These games are intended to aid in the development of the thought process required to solve problems using a programming language. Most importantly, because young minds have a short attention span, learning to code should not be boring. To lay a solid foundation for future coding, children must enjoy the learning process. You’ll need to give them plenty of time to enjoy and experiment with code.
4 – Learning to code via visual cues may help a child learn faster
For children to remain engaged, coding should be more than simply following text instructions; it must be something they run to do! A child feels more drawn and engaged when he/she is heard and their ideas are valued. Children love to talk about their interests and are on cloud nine when their decisions are accepted and implemented
So another great way to learn to code could be to use a visual-based coding language to help kids make their coding journey enjoyable. It would pep them up and enable them in visualizing the algorithms they employ.
5 – Let coding help children see and feel the same ‘craze’ they have when zooming past for video games.
Let the kids learn in the way they learn best with! Early-stage children learn through logical games that simulate how programs work. It could even be a video lesson to explain what programming is. At a later stage, kids can read and understand the instructions for using real programming languages to learn to code. Customized learning always helps better to grasp coding skills. You will not only encourage their interest in coding, but you will also assist them in learning the practical application of coding in real-world applications and problem-solving. This type of learning will feel rewarding to them and will be viewed as a fun activity. If you choose wisely, it will be both enjoyable and educational for your child.
6 – Allow kids to merge their interests with coding
Coding is primarily interest-based learning; thus, it is critical to allow children to incorporate their ideas and code. They might want to make a video game, an interactive story, a program, or a short video sequence, and it is great! To keep learning engaging and fun, this is by far the best approach to follow keeping their interests in mind.
7 – Use simpler command names instead of technical jargon that they won’t understand at their age.
For children, it is best to use less technical jargon at first because it will all go over their heads. The best way to begin is to show some programs and what they produce. Before explaining any concepts, encourage basic practice. Because children may not understand the concepts of encapsulation and abstraction at first, let them play with the code first and then introduce these concepts later.
Finally, Coding has grown in popularity as a second language for both children and adults. If parents have no experience teaching programming to their children, it may be difficult for them to do so. Fortunately, there are numerous resources available to assist parents in bridging that gap and providing an excellent learning experience for their children.
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