Coding is a skill that will be needed more and moreover in the coming years, so the earlier you can get kids into programming, the better. Thankfully, learning how to code doesn’t have to be boring and feels like work. Here are six great ways to get kids into coding.
1. Take Part in Hour of Code
Tens of millions of students get into coding every year via the fantastic international Hour of Code movement. The organization’s activities are accessible to kids in more than 180 countries. The goal is simple: to show that anyone can learn the basics of coding. There are plenty of fun courses to introduce kids to the basics of computer science. As students play an Hour of Code game, they get to learn what coding is and how to write basic code. The many fabulous courses include Beaver Achiever, in which students use block coding to help a beaver complete tasks, and Dodo Does Math, in which students write real code while solving math problems and helping a dodo to find her missing eggs.
2. Create Content from Scratch with Scratch
The programming language Scratch is specifically designed for kids so they can create interactive stories, animations, and games. Kids can modify stories and games that others have written or create their own. The content can then be shared with others. Scratch isn’t only a fun and easy-to-use coding tool. The platform also allows kids to interact with one another in a vibrant online community.
3. Create Mods for Games
As kids get into coding more and expand their skills, they can try out their coding skills by building mods for video games with real-world programming languages like Java. For instance, many kids enjoy playing the popular Minecraft game and there are already lots of mods available for it. Those mods get boring over time, though, so it can be an exciting and fun exercise for kids to build their own mods. They could use code to create custom swords, food, armor, and much more.
4. Encourage Exploration
Getting kids into coding isn’t only about using readymade apps and courses. It also has to do with your guidance and encouragement. When you make coding a fun thing for kids to do and you approach it all with gusto and excitement, kids will naturally become interested in learning how to code. One of the best ways of helping kids to become interested is to encourage exploration. Allow them to think, “What will happen if I do this?” so they can experiment and work things out for themselves, while also providing helpful guidance now and then.
5. Demonstrate How Creative Coding Is
Kids love creating things. So, to get them interested in coding, demonstrate how coding is all about creativity. Sure, it is about science, math, and problem-solving as well, but coding is essentially about making things come to life; whether that be a drawing, a game, a story, or any other content. Emphasize the creative aspect of coding, while keeping it fun, and the kids are sure to embrace the activity.
6. If at First You Don’t Succeed, Cater to a Kid’s Individual Interests
If you have tried to get a kid into coding and they have shown little interest the first time around, try again with the focus on the individual kid’s passion. After all, coding can be used to create a vast array of different content, so encourage the child to try out ideas that they find interesting before he or she writes off coding altogether. As long as you make coding fun and allow kids to explore activities according to their passions, it should not be problematic getting the kids into coding.