Coding + fun = entertained and educated children

We have all been subject to our children’s endless questions – the hows, the whys, the ifs and the buts. And as technology evolves, so too does our children’s inquisitiveness. “How does that game console work?”; “How does the computer know where you’re going on holiday?”; “How do robots work?”

These often amusing questions reveal our children’s interest in computer science, and as parents, carers and educators, we should ensure that we keep this spark alive, and feed their bright young minds.

So why is coding so important for child development?

Learning about computer science can lead children onto promising career paths, but aside from this obvious benefit, learning to code can be a character building experience.

It can help children to think rationally, using reason and applying analysis to solve problems. The processes involved in coding will also enable children to develop a sense of anticipation, helping them to prepare for potential problems they may encounter. But aside from the logical and analytical elements, coding can also unleash children’s creative powers. By having the possibility to create something with little limits, children are able to imagine a world of virtual fun of which they are the authors.

According to Tynker.com, a creative computing online platform, there are several reasons why children should learn computer science, one being the confidence boost seen in children who learn to code. By being able to showcase their work to friends and family, who don’t always themselves know how to code, they will take pride in their achievements. Coding also supports other mainstream subjects such as maths, science and reading, as kids will be able to apply their new skills at school.

Steve-Jobs

So where do you start?

As parents or educators, introducing your children or pupils to coding and programming should be the first step. Encourage them to try out the fun tools available – remember, coding can be fun and they should see it that way, too. In the early stages, it’s best to have a go at the many free resources at hand and then invest more time (and money!) in more specialised, in-depth tools and programmes.

If you are an educator, remember that you don’t need to have any experience or knowledge yourself, just letting your pupils know about coding and programming can be enough to spark their interest. Here is an educator how-to guide. To promote your efforts, telling your colleagues about the importance of computer science in school will also go far. Why not suggest coding and programming during creative week programmes? Or as an extracurricular activity?

There are many resources out there to help parents and educators incite children into coding, below are some of the best we’ve found.

  • RoboMind, a coding academy, aims to teach children about artificial intelligence by allowing learners to understand programming basics through the creation of a robot on a two-dimensional grid.
  • If your child seems to take to artificial intelligence, LEGO also provide several apps to learn about programming real robots, these LEGO robots are assembled by the kids and programmed to their desires and imagination. Find out more here.
  • Code.org is another organisation dedicated to spreading their computer science knowledge. They provide several tutorials on their website in fun and engaging animated environments such as Star Wars, Minecraft and even Frozen. As children are familiar with these characters, they can immediately relate to them and interact with the story and what they’re learning.
  • CoderDojo is a coder club dedicated to little ones. They are all about sharing coding joy through their communities scattered around the UK and encouraging children to start their own programming projects. CoderDojo will be hosting Coolest Projects Awards 2016 in Dublin, Ireland on 18th June 2016 to award bright young programmers, innovators and creators. Find out more here.
  • If you’d like some more ideas to get your kids into coding, makeuseof.com have published a list of 10 helpful tools.

These little steps are key in helping our little ones develop into future innovators and who knows, maybe the next Steve Jobs!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *