When, Why and How to Get Started with Coding for Kids

Jennifer Buttner

jenniferb

April 27, 2021

When, Why and How to Get Started with Coding for Kids

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Have your kids expressed an interest in learning to code? Coding may sound boring, and you may not understand it, but for many kids, it can be fun, challenging, engaging and could also open a door to a brighter future!

If you are wondering where is a good place for your child to get started, here are some tips on when, why and how to get started with Coding for Kids.

Coding for Kids Decoded

How many times have you heard that children should be learning how to code but you really just don’t get it? They’re just kids, right? Every time you open a paper, they are talking about the lack of IT graduates, and promising a golden future for anyone with these most vital of skills.

Or maybe you have a son or daughter at home that is really interested in learning about IT and you can’t help, you don’t even understand what they are talking about?

If you’re not too sure what all the hype is about or if you just want to be able to point your child in the right direction, read on.

Why They Should Get Started?

Of course there will still be firemen, nurses and teachers in the future, but it is true that having IT skills will open up new opportunities for your children. Technology is becoming important in all manner of careers, so there will be more, and better jobs, for those that have these skills.

IT skills are also global skills, travelling easily from country to country, and leading to more opportunities for those lucky enough to have them.

Dispelling Myths about Kids and Technology

Coding for kids - Mykidstime

Before continuing. it’s worth sorting out a couple of myths about kids and technology!

1. Being able to discover something in seconds on your phone or being great at playing games are not IT skills. That’s simply using technology. Having IT skills, means being able to create content not just use it. In other words, learning how to create your own website, games, animations, 3D digital models, apps and so on.

2. Being good with technology doesn’t mean they will not have any friends! Programming is often more about collaboration, problem-solving and teamwork than you might realise.

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When Should They Start Coding?

Just like learning a language, the earlier you start, the better.

Some suggest that 8 years of age is perfect, but if your child is younger or older than that, don’t worry, kids pick things up quickly, so whether they are 8, 12 or 15, they will be able to make a start.

And no, they don’t need to be a genius, in fact, they don’t need any previous experience at all, just make sure that you sign them up with a camp/classes with a solid reputation and qualified teachers.

Good Online Resources for Coding

STEM

If you are looking for online resources,  here are some good sites and apps (in our opinion), and yes, they are all free!

#1. Scratch Programming

Every child should learn Scratch, it’s a great introduction to programming concepts, and it’s drag & drop editor allows for quick results, without having to learn a whole new language.

Kids love the fast results – they can use it to build their own games, screensavers & animations. There is a huge online library of projects and a very active forum for help from other creators.

Suitable for children from 7/8 years up.

#2. Codecademy

Once you have mastered Scratch and want to get into programming languages, Codecademy should be on your list.

This is one of our favourite online sites for those who want to learn how to program. From the fundamentals of HTML & CSS through to more advanced courses in Python, Javascript, jQuery, PHP, etc, it will teach you the basics & hold your hand along the way.

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Online learning for kids

#3. Khan Academy

With over 2,400 videos and online tutorials Khan Academy offers a number of courses including how to create webpages with HTML & CSS, creating games, drawings & animations with Javascript or learn all about codes & ciphers in the ‘Journey into Cryptography’.

Lessons are more advanced than Codecademy, so probably best suited for older students, where there are also lessons in Maths, science, economics, arts & humanities.

#4. W3 Schools

Boy on laptop for online safety for kids - Mykidstime

W3 Schools is an information website for Web Developers.

Again, it has tutorials in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, SQL, and JQuery. It includes quizzes to test your skills and offers online certification to prove that you know your stuff.

#5. Lightbot App

lightbot app

Be warned, this game is addictive, but it’s great for problem-solving, it encourages kids to think logically, and it teaches programming logic (not that the kids will realise).

There are options suitable for ages 4-8 years and 9+ years. Lightbot is also a great, east way to keep your kids entertained while you do the groceries/drive the car/wait in a queue, but don’t tell them we said that!

There’s a Free Lite version available with 18 Levels iTunes and Android. Or get the full version: iTunes and Android.

#6. Cargobot

Cargobot is another game that teaches programming concepts.

It’s a simple idea. Players need to program a robotic arm to move crates to a designated spot. Sounds easy, but it’s never as easy as it sounds!

The beauty is that the game itself was developed using Codea, a programming language specifically designed for the iPad, so kids can see an example of what is possible — and what they themselves can create — using programming logic.

Available free on iTunes.

#7. Tech Camp, After-School or In-School Programmes

Easter Camps Kids Coding

While websites and apps are a great way to learn about coding, there is a lot to be said for a Tech Camp, Afterschool Club or In-School Programme, where trained and qualified teachers will walk them through lessons step by step.

Experienced instructors will handle all the “But why?” and “How do I?” questions. There is also the social aspect to consider as at a summer camp or computer classes, they will make friends with kids who have similar interests.

When, Why and How to Get Started with Coding for Kids

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Published On: April 27th, 2021 / Categories: Technology / Last Updated: April 18th, 2023 / Tags: , , /

About the Author: jenniferb

Jennifer Buttner
Jennifer, has 1 son and admits to munching a Cadbury’s Turkish Delight now and again.

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