A Parent’s Guide to Coding for Kids
Open up a world of opportunity for your child by introducing them to coding and computer programming from a young age. Kids are insatiably curious and eager to learn and play, and computer programming opportunities lean into their curiosities, engage creativity, and foster life-long problem-solving skills.
Coding programs are increasingly popular for children ages five and up. While educators in some school districts have made it possible for students to explore technology and develop coding skills from a young age, there are many programs and camps available outside of the classroom.
Kids with a wide variety of interests will find it fun to learn how to code, and if you start while they’re young, you’ll be amazed by what they’ll learn.
Should My Kid Learn How to Code?
Simply put: Yes! When children have the opportunity to explore technology and learn how to code, they are advantageous in other facets of their education. Not only will they get first-hand knowledge and coordination in using computers, but they’ll also have a creative outlet.
Teaching kids coding also provides an opportunity for them to develop excellent problem-solving skills. Young children are sponges, and if they get used to the problem-solving process in coding, there’s no doubt they’ll be able to transfer those skills to other areas of their life.
As a child develops programming skills, they may find that they’re interested in developing games, characters, apps, and tools. They’ll begin to see how technology works together, write their own scripts, adapt their own codes, and produce something that makes them proud. Give them the building blocks they need, and see where their curiosity leads them!
Signs Your Child May Love Learning to Code
If you’re not sure whether or not your child will enjoy coding lessons, remember that it appeals to various interests. Your child might love coding concepts if they:
- Have an inherent interest in technology, whether through computers, tablets, or gaming systems
- Enjoy challenging educational games, like puzzles or problem-solving activities
- Use drag-and-drop coding toys, like Code-a-pillar
- Participate in games that engage programming skills, such as Minecraft or Robot Wars
- Can follow detailed instructions or enjoy free play with building toys such as LEGO
- Gravitate to creative outlets like art classes and cooking classes
Of course, even if your child doesn’t express a strong interest in any of these things, they might latch on to coding as a new hobby. Learning to code is something a child could do independently or with a friend or parent. As kids learn more about the basics of coding, they’ll find many creative avenues to explore.
The Benefits of Learning to Code
Understanding how computers work is a foundational building block for many paths in life. Just think how many people you know that don’t understand the basics of coding or that coding is what’s used to make applications and programs. To some degree, they’re at a loss.
Technology is ever-changing. Providing young children with the confidence they need to learn and adapt to new technologies continuously will empower them throughout their lives.
Your cool coding kids might someday develop their own coding language, create new technologies, or use their skills as a programmer to engineer unique solutions in life and in their careers! You can’t even predict where newfound coding skills will take them: They may become qualified for jobs in the future that don’t yet exist.
Children who learn how to code often:
- Develop strong problem-solving skills
- Build resilience
- Engage creativity
- Explore imaginative free play
- Excel in STEM studies
Coding Classes for Kids: Investing in Their Future
Hey parents, it’s hard to remember that your kids will have no memory of an “unconnected” world, one free from complexly connected networks, mobile technologies, and plug-ins and apps. Not only do they not recall a time that wasn’t Wi-Fi reliant and cloud-based, but they really don’t have a good opportunity to learn about current technologies until we as parents provide them the tools and training.
Exposure to technology and knowledge of coding skills and computer programming are almost prerequisites for education—many schools have coding programs for students as young as five. By investing in technologies that your children can learn, you’re also investing in more opportunities for their future and giving them the chance to be a step ahead at navigating inevitable changes in technology throughout their lives.
You can’t deny that the time to learn is now. So stay apprised of child-focused learning philosophies and help make the most of your kid’s learning experience.
Introducing Kids to Coding
Explore the world of coding concepts with your child. Many schools offer programs for five-year-olds, and there are countless coding camp opportunities for children in grades 2-5 and into middle school and high school. Experiencing the different levels of coding and script-writing from a young age is the best way to help integrate problem-solving skills and creativity into their lives.
Some things you can do to help your child learn about coding:
- Increase their exposure to age-appropriate video games and apps, such as Minecraft
- Experience coding with them: If you haven’t coded before, there’s an added benefit in that your child can see how an adult navigates problem-solving challenges
- Find coding opportunities to match their interests or preferred devices; many kids love learning on the iPad
- Talk about after-school programs and summer camps offered by theCoderSchool
Many think that an independent child will thrive in the world of coding, but that’s not always the case. Coding is a learned skill and is enhanced by peer instruction, active teachers, and hands-on projects and tasks. Programs at theCoderSchool offer kids the option to choose between private instruction with an individual Code Coach, or in a low-ratio classroom setting.
Finding the Best Coding Class or Camp for Your Kid
There are many things to consider as you explore coding classes and camps for your child. Some kids are vocal about the learning experience they want to pursue. For example, they may want to learn how to program a website, design a game, or build a robot. Others may be looking to take their existing knowledge of computers to the next level by exploring the newest programming languages and learning how to apply them.
When you’re choosing a program, consider:
- Your child’s age
- Interests, such as video games, websites, robotics, etc.
- Social skills. Some children learn best one-on-one tutorials, while others thrive in a class-based environment with peers.
- Learning style. Rigorous coder camps are good for some kids, but others learn best with a program that grows more gradually with their interests.
- Availability. Afterschool programs and online resources are readily available for those needing flexibility.
Coding Programs That Get Kids Excited About Learning
Scratch Coding Classes
Scratch classes are a fun way for kids to learn more about computer coding and basic programming. Primarily a visual language, Scratch is an entry-level coding language designed to introduce kids to the world of coding.
While it’s pretty simple to learn, it’s beneficial for several purposes and also primes kids for more challenging languages such as Python, C++, or Java. This is a good place to start if your child is interested in video game development or app creation.
Video Game Coding Classes
If your kid has an interest in video game development, these classes are the right fit. Turn your kid’s hobby into a fun, useful skill and allow them the opportunity to build their own interactive stories, challenges, and incredible visual effects.
In these camps and courses, your child will learn about variables, loops, conditionals, and if/then logic for coding games. In addition, they’ll be introduced to video games designed just for coders and get the base knowledge they need to continue into more advanced video game coding.
Minecraft Coding Classes
Students with existing knowledge of Minecraft will thrive once they work within the Minecraft Education Edition’s Code Builder tool. Far from a “boring” syntax coding course, the Minecraft teaching platform gives kids a glimpse into a virtual world and allows them the opportunity to learn and code together in a social and collaborative environment. They’ll build and edit worlds, create objects, and act as a free agent exploring and adapting their environment.
Minecraft coding provides some gameplay opportunities, plus lots of problem-solving and creative thinking challenges. It’s a great place to start your kid if they don’t have any coding experience, especially if they already have a love of Minecraft.
Robotics camps might be the right fit for a kid who has shown interest in coding and wants to take it to the next level. Just a few decades ago, this coursework was only available at the collegiate level, but now it’s readily accessible for kids of all ages.
Students love building their own robots and adapting their custom code to make their robots work. Many programs even conclude with a competition to allow students to demonstrate how their robot works and show off their coding skills!
Robotics camps foster collaboration and problem-solving skills while encouraging creativity. If your kid would enjoy the opportunity to build their own physical robot and code it to follow specific commands, you should pursue camps in your area.
Find a Children’s Coding Class Near You
Give your kid a jumpstart down a STEM career path with classes that provide foundational knowledge in coding. Your curious, creative kid will thrive in an environment that introduces computers and technology and reinforces problem-solving skills at a young age.
TheCoderSchool provides coding classes and camps that make it easy for school-aged kids of all skill levels to explore the magic of computer science and programming. With locations across the United States and flexible courses, including virtual learning, in-person classes, or private one-on-one lessons, we strive to provide new challenges and opportunities for the next-gen to take their curiosities with technology to the next level.
Find a class near you and get in touch with the educators at theCoderSchool today if you have any questions.