Coding is sometimes described as dull and frustrating, even by those who do it as a hobby. Often the regular coding resources just aren’t suitable for kids. You can’t expect most 13 year old’s to read through a 500 page book to understand the fundamentals of programming.
Kids, especially those nowadays respond better to interactive and simplistic methods of teachings. This has led to a rise in coding resources designed specifically to introduce kids to the world of programming in a fun and engaging manner.
In this tutorial we will discuss 3 different resources through which you can introduce your kids to Coding in a fun and interacting way.
The Problem with Classroom Learning
When it comes to coding taught in schools, there are several problems involved. For one, there is no overall curriculum (most of the time atleast) that has a marked sense of progression from primary to high school. So every time you are taught coding, it’s done from the beginning. This includes university, where you are taught from the very beginning. This reduces the time available to focus on actually moving past the basics and onto more advanced content.
In short, we can conclude that so far, the education system we have is not very suited to teaching programming (before university).
Online learning on the other hand, is private. You go at your own pace, and can move much faster than you would in a classroom setting, where the pace would be pretty slow, to accommodate everyone. Furthermore, coding isn’t taken seriously for young kids, making it even more inaccessible for younger students.
Putting that aside, the number of online resources for coding are numerous. Even in a classroom setting, online resources are used, as it’s the best way. I could go on longer, but we are here to discuss Online coding resources for Kids, not debate between Online and Physical classes.
1# Scratch (Free)
I’m going to start off with Scratch as I’ve personally have had a pretty good experience with this. I started using scratch at a very young age when it was introduced to me in School. This was also where my programmer journey began. I quickly mastered scratch, finishing off by creating several fully fledged games. From there I moved on to actual programming languages, my knowledge from scratch helping me through the basics.
Scratch will teach you about loops, variables, conditional statements, functions and just about everything that comprises of the core concepts of an actual programming language. Of course, it does so in a simpler way and does half the coding for you, making it an ideal resource for kids.
Instead of having to write code, Scratch gives you “blocks” instead, which you drag and drop onto or into each other to create a program. This saves you from the headaches of misspellings or syntax errors in the code.
As a side note: In 2015 there was another version of Scratch released called Scratch Jr aimed for kids of the ages 5 – 7. Unlike the original Scratch it’s also available as an app. While I recommend the main Scratch software, you might find the Scratch Jr version a good coding resource for younger kids.
Code.org is an online website, designed to teach coding to young and enthusiastic minds. Built specifically for younger audiences, it has simplified many things to make it more accessible (from it’s login system to it’s drag and drop style of coding).
The site’s two core components are the Hour of Code and Code Studio. The Hour of Code stages drops you into a visual programming environment where you have to drag instruction blocks to form a solution to a puzzle that typically involves moving a cartoon character around the screen. A fun and engaging way to build a kid’s interest in programming.
The Code Studio is backed by curriculum like lesson plans, unplugged activities, and videos that teach concepts that are then reinforced through programming stages. These unplugged activities do not require the use of a computer, which is good as it reduces the amount of time spent behind a screen.
It’s not just for students either. Teachers can also seek guidance (to better teach and share information) from special forums and resources that have been set up.
An online teaching platform with over 50,000 students, Codakid offers two modes of teaching. You can choose between a series of self-paced courses, or private 1-on-1 Coding Classes. CodaKid offers a free 14-day trial for both programs, so you can test the waters before putting any money on the line.
CodaKid takes its students through interactive and engaging lessons, such as coding fun 2D games. It even allows you work with several popular 3D games, such as Minecraft and Roblox. Later on, you even get to move on to 3D Game Engines, and create your own cool games in 3D!
It also features a variety of programming languages, listed below:
CodaKid also offers a dedicated customer support option, allowing you to easily get help if you are stuck somewhere. Response time is generally within an hour.
CodaKid is a bit more costly than your average option out there, but it’s also more effective and worth the cost, as many of it’s students and their parents testify. You might want to go for the All-Access pass, which gives you access to all coding resources, courses, projects and games for your kids. This ensures you get the most bang for your buck.
Tips for Parents
Fun and Motivation: Coding is a really useful skill, but it’s a skill that not many are able to really pick up naturally. Especially for children, who have no other motivators to pick up a hobby like coding (such as money or a job). For them, it has to be something fun and engaging.
If you try to force them into Coding, you will likely create the opposite effect. Encourage them gently, introduce it to them in an engaging manner but don’t push them too hard. If your child isn’t showing any interest, you should consider changing your approach.
Interact with them: Any easy way of making coding a more engaging activity, is to participate with your child. Code alongside them, give them project ideas and be their source of motivation. Praise their work, and they will feel more motivated.
This marks the end of the Coding Resources for Kids Article. Suggestions or contributions for CodersLegacy are more than welcome. Any questions you may have regarding the material in the article can be asked in the comments section below.