What is Coding for Kids? The Ultimate Guide for Parents
Coding is the method of giving computer instructions to perform a specific task. You may also hear coding referred to as software programming or computer programming.
Code lays the groundwork for our world's technology, from microprocessors in everyday items like refrigerators and water heaters to sophisticated programs that run our cars and buildings.
What is Coding for Kids?
Coding for kids is how we teach kids about coding and programming. In kid-friendly terms, coding is using a set of instructions to communicate with computers. There are different coding languages and they all have different rules and uses, but they all give computers instructions on how to do specific tasks.
Why Should Your Kids Learn Coding Now？
With an increased focus on technology in our world, understanding code allows children to go past just knowing how to use technology. It lets them create and invent technology. Learning about coding builds their computational skills, analytical thinking, and even their confidence. For kids, it’s the difference between knowing how to navigate a website or play a game and building a website or game on their own. Worldwide, schools are introducing coding in their classrooms, and students are being taught the basic concepts of coding from an early age. There are so many reasons that coding is important to learn, and the benefits extend beyond the computer.
The workforce is shifting and individuals with skills in computer science and computer programming are highly valued and sought after. The earlier children learn to code, the better their chance at success.
Learning to code has become an essential element of a child's education and a great way for them to express their creativity and imagination.
Kids practice decomposing problems by making them smaller, sequencing them, and then solving them. While kids are writing their code, they’re also forced to solve errors that come up with their program, called debugging.
Also, every game has game logic that kids practice logical reasoning in coding. With every project, they build on these skills and transfer them to other challenges and situations.
The college application process is highly competitive. Every student has good grades and extracurriculars. Knowing how to code will prepare students generally and an APCS preparation course can help students feel even more confident they’ll pass the class and the test.
There will be plenty of well-paid jobs that directly or indirectly involve coding, but benefit from coding knowledge and experience. For example, kids interested in biology can use their coding skills in bioinformatics.
3. Coding develops concentration, perseverance, and self-confidence
Since coding is mentally challenging, it naturally allows kids to practice and develop their ability to focus. It can sometimes take hours to accomplish a single task in a program. During this time, they will need complete mental focus to try and solve the problem. Kids need to concentrate on the syntax to avoid bugs.
While learning to code, kids meet small milestones that add up to a large accomplishment. This happens over and over again as they build on their coding skills. They become better at coding and this positive feedback loop boosts their self-confidence.
When it comes to coding, not every solution is simple or straightforward. Debugging why the code didn’t work or work as expected takes a lot of perseverance. Often the first fix tried won’t solve the problem. When this happens kids have to repeat the debugging process, sometimes several times, until they find the best solution.
4. Scratch coding teaches strategic thinking
In coding, we use functions to control an action. That function is used on multiple pages that make up the whole website. So, what happens if you change that function? How would it affect the website? Strategically thinking, when we change in one place we also need to understand its implications everywhere else.
5. Coding gives kids a way to express their creativity
While there are guidelines for best practices, you will see that almost every developer you speak with will have a different solution to the same problem. There’s really no right answer, so coders must think for themselves and get creative.
3 Reasons to Learn to Code Now
Reason 1: The demand for coders is high
Reason 2: It teaches you to think logically
Reason 3: Provides a skill that will be relevant for many years to come.
How to Explain Coding to Kids?
There’s a lot that parents can do to introduce children to coding. Even if you don’t have professional experience as a programmer you can get them to learn the basics. Below are simple tips for explaining programming to your kid. You can go even further depending on your particular skill level with coding.
Tip 1 – Introduce Coding Concepts to Kids
Introduce your child to the concept of coding. Some kids might already be familiar with coding and know a little about what it means. Others may have no idea what coding is or that it’s too complicated for them to understand. Talking to children about how code is just a set of instructions for a computer can help make it something that’s understandable to them. Make sure to emphasize that kids just like them are learning to code too.
Tip 2 – Explain How Coding Connects to the Real World
Connect coding to things that interest your kids. Some kids will jump at the opportunity to learn how to make a computer do what they want it to do, but other children will need help connecting code to their daily lives.
Does your child love watching videos on YouTube? Talk to them about how coding can teach them how to make their own website to share their favorite videos. For kids who love to play video games, coding is a natural way for them to progress to making their own games. Budding entrepreneurs can use these skills to create an app or website for their business ideas.
The possibilities are endless for what kids can do with their coding skills once they learn the fundamentals.
Tip 3 – Learn Coding Basics with Block-Based Programming
Use block-based coding languages to introduce the basics. As mentioned earlier, block-based coding languages are easy for beginners and a great place to start for younger children. Scratch is the most commonly used block-based coding language and is free to use.
Thousands of games exist on Scratch already, so you can show kids the possibilities of what they can create before diving into building a game themselves. Remixing a current game is also a great option. Kids can see exactly how to create a game and then turn it into something new.
Tip 4 – Study Common Coding Terms for Kids
Introduce some common coding terms that apply across languages. Knowing some key terms and what they mean is a great way to set your children up for success as they continue learning new skills. There are dozens of different terms used in programming, but here are some good ones to start with.
Decomposition is the process of breaking large tasks into smaller and more manageable chunks. It can really help to make coding easier for developers — and it also makes it more organized!
An algorithm is a list of instructions on how to solve a problem. In coding, these solutions are written by programmers and execute automatically to perform tasks.
A sequence is an ordered list of commands that tell a computer what to do. You can use sequences for looping and storing data in coding.
Programming loops are a sequence of instructions that are carried out repeatedly until a certain condition is reached. Loops are used to make programs more efficient and effective.
Branching is a technique that the programmer can use to create choices in code. They’re used for making code adaptable & responsive to input from the user.
Decompose is a process of breaking a large task into smaller, manageable tasks to make coding easier and more organized. This will help developers save time and effort.
How to Start Learning Coding|Learning Tips for Kids
1. Choose which coding language you want to learn first.
2. Take online courses.
3. Watch video tutorials and play coding games.
4. Read books and ebooks.
5. Use tools that make learning to code easier.
6. Check out how other people code.
7. Complete coding projects.
Coding robots can lead kids to finish all of the steps above at once!
Coding Robots Picked For Your Kids
1. Codey Rocky
Codey Rocky is an interactive emo robot with 10+ electronic modules to achieve emotional expression. It creates your own Codey Rocky with LEGO bricks, laser-cutting parts, and colorful paper. It is designed to help kids learn block-based and scratch programming.
2. mBot Ranger
mBot Ranger has 3 robot building forms to explore: robot tank, self-balancing robot, and racing car, which can conquer all terrains like flat roads, grassland, gravel, and sandy beach and supports Scratch and Arduino C programming. Kids can learn coding from beginner to expert.
3. mBot Mega
mBot Mega is an omnidirectional remote control car that supports 360° rotation and side drifting which is perfectly matched with Scratch. It is an ideal STEM kit for kids to learn electronics, engineering and coding. Kids can explore learning coding fun in mBot Mega's multiple functions: obstacle avoidance, line following, and remote control.
3. mBot Mega
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