How to Explain Coding to Your Child
The fundamentals of coding aren’t complex no matter how intimidating they seem. Coding can easily be interpreted to teach kids about computer science and software development.
Start simple when you’re talking to your child about the world of coding. Explain to them that coding is a way of laying out instructions for a computer in a language that the computer can understand. Just like how people communicate to one another using a common language, coders have learned how to communicate information and specific directions to a computer to make things happen.
There are many ways to introduce your child to coding using toys, tutorials, or in-person and online coding courses, but no matter what you choose, remember that it’s always best to start with the most basic programming languages and concepts.
Why Should Kids Learn Coding?
Understanding how computers work is a foundational building block for many career paths in life. When kids are introduced to it from a young age, awareness of how coding works can empower them to learn and adapt to new technologies.
Even students who don’t pursue a software development or computer programming career in their adult life can benefit from the transferable skills one learns through coding activities.
Kids who code can:
- Develop strong problem-solving skills
- Develop logical thinking skills
- Engage creativity
- Explore imaginative free play
- Excel in STEM studies
How Can My Child Learn Coding?
Coding resources are abundant. Many schools offer programs for kids as early as kindergarten, and there are countless coding camps for kids in grade 2 and up.
Enrollment in courses and camps makes it easier for kids to experience challenging coding activities in a structured environment.
If your child has the opportunity to explore coding at school, they may be interested in taking what they learn to the next level.
What can kids learn to code?
Coding games for kids make it possible to learn the basics in visual programming, video game design, website development, robotics, and more. There are even activities that help kids learn programming in order to build their own computer!
Once they get the hang of coding and understand what they can do, kids love to share their games and animations with others on social media and in online communities. These communities can help coders see what’s possible and spark creativity.
Online tutorials and immersive camps make it possible to explore a wide range of opportunities. Start by introducing your kid to the fundamentals of coding, and allow them to learn different levels of coding and script-writing that suit their interests.
What Is the Best Way for My Child to Learn Coding?
There are many resources available to help kids learn about the basics of coding.
For toddlers and elementary students, there are many hands-on toys and coding apps that introduce computer science concepts. Activities like Code-a-pillar, Miko 3, and Sphero Sprk make it possible to integrate coding concepts into ordinary play, and promise to make learning fun.
Coding classes for children as young as age five introduce code blocks and related variables, loops, conditionals, and if/then logic needed to program games and activities. Courses and activities vary with age and experience, but whether your child would benefit from one-on-one instruction or a group setting to be with peers, there are many ways to help them foster the critical thinking skills needed for advanced coding challenges.
Some popular camps cover:
- Scratch: A visual, entry-level coding language that primes kids for more challenging languages such as Python, C++, and Java. This is a good place to start if your child is interested in video game development or app creation.
- Minecraft: This popular coding platform gives young learners and older kids a glimpse into a virtual world, and allows them the opportunity to learn and code in a social and collaborative environment.
- Robotics: Students can build their own robots and adapt custom code to make their robots work. Many programs even conclude with a competition to allow students to show off their coding skills!
Different Coding Languages for Children
There are over 700 different coding languages used by computer programmers and software developers around the world. Different languages serve different purposes and are used for a wide range of applications, but all exist to provide instructions to a computer.
Beginners, including children, are encouraged to start with drag-and-drop visual block programming options like Tynker and Scratch. This approach teaches fundamental concepts that demonstrate how a coder can control cause-and-effect with simple changes without even typing or applying complex syntax. Block programming makes it easier to understand the significance of programming loops and sequences, and debugging. It’s a great starting point!
From there, young programmers might express interest in coding for different purposes. Maybe they’re interested in making an app for their smartphone, or want to take video game coding classes in an immersive environment. Coding challenges can flex to satisfy many curiosities, so once your child understands the basics, you can easily encourage them to continue applying what they know through other coding languages including:
With experience brings competency and confidence in learning new languages and algorithms. If you teach kids the fundamental skills at a young age, they can continue to build on that knowledge and apply coding to new and different applications as their interests grow.
Find a Coding Class Near You
TheCoderSchool makes it easy for school-aged kids of all skill levels to learn about coding. With locations across the United States and flexible courses, including virtual learning, in-person classes, or private one-on-one lessons, we work hard to provide foundational coding skills and challenge kids as they grow.
Find a class near you and get in touch with us today to learn more about our camps and programs.