Math, English and Science used to be the three pillars of education. Now, technological developments mean that ICT is another key component, which expands to challenging sub-topics such as coding.
The thought of introducing coding to kids a couple of decades ago would have been unheard of. After all, this is a specialist subject and one that would have only been introduced at the university level.
The pace of the world means that this has turned on its head. There are now all sorts of initiatives to teach coding to kids, and as a parent, today’s article will show you how you can play a part in this.
Understand the basics of coding yourself
If you’re going to introduce coding to your kids, you must understand the basics yourself. This way, you can be more hands-on with what they’re doing and help them out when they get stuck.
There are plenty of great online resources that can quickly get you up to speed. Codecademy is a great place to start, as is the Coding for Kids section of the Raspberry Pi website.
This isn’t about you starting a new career; it’s about you understanding the basics so you can help your children grasp the initial concepts.
Make it as interactive as can be
The best way to learn is by doing, and the same applies to coding. When teaching coding to kids, make sure it’s as interactive as possible.
This could mean using Scratch, a visual programming language that lets kids create their own games, animations and stories. Or, it could mean visiting something like Today at Apple at Covent Garden, which runs various coding sessions that can whet the appetite of little minds.
What’s the worst thing you can do? You could argue it’s loading up a text editor with reams of commands across the screen. This is the side of coding that children don’t need to see, at least for now. It needs to be far more interactive.
Combine it with any passions they may have
Another way to make coding more interesting for kids is to tie it in with their passions. For example, if they love making videos, they could use coding to create the special effects they want.
The same goes for music, art or anything else they may be in to. When coding is combined with things they’re interested in, it becomes far more engaging, and they’re more likely to stick with it.
Use games to make it fun
Following on from the previous suggestion, games can be another great way to introduce coding to kids. One popular option is to use Minecraft, the world-building game that’s beloved by children and adults alike.
There are several tutorials that show you how to mod Minecraft with code, which can add a whole new level of excitement to the game. You could even use game-based coding tutorials to introduce other concepts, such as variables and logic.