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  • Helping Our Kids Learn to Code While They’re Young

    Helping our kids learn to code can be fun, entertaining, and a terrific way to ensure their future success in our increasingly online world.

    Coding is a growing must-have skill for kids — and everyone agrees. When we help our kids learn to code we ensure their future success.

    India made coding mandatory for children in 6th grade and above to keep them competitive. Nowadays, people are looking at this seemingly unobtainable skill and wondering if they can learn it.

    Technology plays an increasingly crucial role in society, and code is the building block of the future. If you want to have your kids ready for the challenges of tomorrow, coding is the key. Here’s how to learn coding at a young age and help kids build a good, effective knowledge base they can use forever.

    Why Kids Need to Learn How to Code Early

    You may not think of yourself as an expert in technology, but you likely know how to operate basic technology. You likely can type, use email, navigate apps, and search the internet. Even if you don’t, you probably know someone who does.

    Because we use these tools every day, we’re comfortable with them. Even embedding videos is much easier now compared to a few years ago.

    Kids, however, do it better.

    For them, technology is as simple as using a body part. They’ve grown up in a world with smartphones, tablets, and computers. Technology is becoming more and more ubiquitous with every generation.

    When parents introduce their kids to technology they barely understand, they can easily use them regardless of their expertise. Coding should be easy for kids because it forms the most basic technology they use.

    Coding is a huge part of developing 21st-century skills and can give your child a leg up on their peers. Learning to code is like learning a second language. It forces the brain to think in new ways. It teaches students how to break down problems into steps and approach them systematically.

    How Coding Develops High-Value Skills For Children

    Children as young as seven years old learn to program and use it to create everything they want, from simple timer systems to video games.

    While kids are not at a stage where they’re learning code to supercharge their career, they can still use coding to build their passion projects.

    In a way, learning to code is knowing how computers think. Computers follow predictable, logical steps to reach a goal. Young coders understand the logic behind a computer’s program, making it easier to understand any other computer-related topic.

    Coding is also a collaborative effort. By working together as a team, children can learn how to collaborate and communicate. As children create apps, websites, and more, they’ll feel more confident in their abilities.

    A project also takes a lot of persistence and discipline. By setting goals and reaching them, children learn an essential life lesson with every completed project. Soft skills are an important educational building block for children, and coding helps them grow.

    How Can Kids Learn Code Early

    There are several ways for kids to code early, depending on how old they are and what skill level they have. There are various resources online, from javascript learning guides for kids to full-fledged online classes. Here are a few options.

    Online Resources for Kids

    Online resources are a great option if cost is your primary concern. There are dozens of free resources that teach the basics of programming. These courses usually teach a specific language, such as Javascript, Python, or Ruby.

    YouTube is another great resource for free online tutorials. There are thousands of courses and guides available. Since everything is customized, it’s easy for viewers to find exactly what they’re looking for.

    Many video courses are interactive and easy to follow. They start with the basics and work up, ensuring the kids have a good grasp of each one before moving on. There are quizzes and exercises, and students can record their computer screen as they complete the lessons.

    These videos are perfect for beginner programmers and even older ones. These are perfect for older kids who can follow instructions without getting bored.

    Scratch Coding

    Scratch is a programming language and online community designed especially for beginners. It uses a simple drag-and-drop interface, making it easy to create animations and games. It can be a bit difficult to navigate at first, but there are plenty of examples in the community.

    Developed at MIT, it is a graphical interface that makes it easy for even the youngest ones to start learning how to write computer programs. Each “sprite” in the program represents a specific character or object.

    In these games, the sprites move, dance, talk, and interact with objects on the screen. The games are easy to build and fun for the kids.

    Because it’s not as technically complex as other languages, it is the perfect starting point for young learners. It introduces fundamental concepts such as sequencing, user input, and loops.

    Game-Based Coding

    Game-based tools are excellent for younger kids who are still learning and need some motivation. They combine game playing and learning, and kids love them.

    One of the first tools for this was Tynker. This platform uses the game Minecraft to teach different programming languages. Students design their own world and then “mine” it for resources and construct buildings and vehicles.

    As they learn new commands, they mine for the materials they need and build increasingly complex structures. It is a great way to motivate and engage elementary-aged and middle-school-aged kids and teach them how to problem-solve and work as a team.

    Online Classes

    Another way to learn to program is through an online class. If your child has homework or school, this can be an excellent method for them. There are many options, some specifically for children to learn the basics and others for older children or adults.

    The age range varies, as well as the level of difficulty. Some classes are focused on building apps for smartphones, while others focus more on website creation. The quality of these classes depends on the quality of the teacher. Some are better than others, so it’s essential to do research before signing up.

    These classes are great for those who want a comprehensive introduction to computer programming. There are hundreds of online courses, ranging from 1-day workshops to degree programs.

    The Bottom Line

    The world is changing. As we continue to digitize, our children will need coding skills to survive. From business to healthcare to national security, every job today requires some degree of computer and information technology. Teaching kids how to code early can help prepare them for a bright future ahead.

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