Kids like interesting things and will be glued to anything that catches their attention and makes them happy. In the past, they played with all kinds of stuffed toys and dolls, but now they have new ways to find their happiness. This new interest is in programming – a word that many people have wondered what it actually means. Not to worry, a simple definition of programming will be given here. Programming refers to creating sets of instructions that make the computer perform a particular task for you.
Programming makes use of design and the concept of building to create a program that is to be executed by the computer. It involves analysis, algorithms, checking for accuracy. Programming for kids is when they are introduced to the broad world of computer languages. This means the more languages they learn, the more they will be able to create different experiences and products for themselves. How exciting! They can create games, web pages and websites or a product to be used by a company to ease their operations. The possibilities are endless and making your kids programming-savvy will be giving them to power to explore adventurously with different programming tools.
Benefits Of Programming For Kids
They learn computational thinking
– when kids are able to learn to write code; they develop cognitive skills and other problems solving processes. This involves learning to recognize abstract things and learn the pattern of recognition that makes them present problems in a different way. All these processes enable them to solve problems in different ways and creates a unique way by which they think.
Your child will learn to use logic
– This involves the formulation of orderly procedures before you get an outcome. You express, iterate, condition and produce logical statements that help you in the coding process.
Kids learn how things work and create one themselves
– Coding is able to teach the kids how to build and identifies what causes and effects make things work. They adapt these processes in learning how to code and create different things.
Kids are able to experience creativity in a fun way whilst creating things
– Kids like technology and the way it allows them to magically create things. Their ability to do this provides them with a natural reason to be motivated. Therefore coding encourages kids to become imaginative and use the resources they have wisely. Creating new things makes them confident that they are achievers.
Kids are able to demonstrate their Math prowess
– Kids coding shows the practical application of Mathematics in what they do. Coding statements contain math expressions that need to be solved before you can move forward.
Programming allows the child to discover the passion
– Programming is increasingly growing and becoming one of the exciting professions for kids. The presence of Ai (artificial intelligence), data mining, robotics, machine learning has come to stay. Kids who are exposed to them early in their lives can develop and discover more about it when they want to know what to do in life.
Programming for kids also lets them become active listeners in problem-solving
– kids are able to practice listening well, even from their tutors and provide the best solution and receive good feedback for improvement.
Technology Is The Future Of The World
Some people have been greatly skeptical about why there is so much hype when it comes to programming for kids. In the days past, it was thought that programming was only for the geeks and the nerds, but now, it is in high demand all over—the most sought after companies employ a lot of tech giants every year. Everywhere you pass, there is a need for a developer or programmer. It is estimated that companies need developers in different areas. 2 out of 3 jobs are found in healthcare, design, business and other areas. The rise of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) is also steering a lot of kids to pursue lessons in and out of class in these areas.
The demand for tech-inclined people is going to increase by 21% by 2028 in the US, for example. Therefore it is a natural stage for a parent to keenly be interested in looking into programming for kids. They know that a solid foundation can lead to a better career, and non-IT graduates do not earn more than IT graduates. The world is gradually going IT-crazy. Even Apples CEO, Tim Cook, has said that coding should be required in public schools all over the world.
Kids should also learn it so much that it becomes their second language apart from English. About 91% of parent wants their kids to be more learned in computer science. The demand for teaching kids to code now is higher than the supply. However, there are different ways that programming for kids is structured now, even if kids will not learn it in the school environment.
Parents Say Programming For Kids Should Be A Key Exposure
When it comes to parents and introducing their kids to programming, there are varied views. Some have said yes to welcome these lessons in their child’s life, and others have been the naysayers. However, generally, some also say kids should be exposed to programming. This is because they have seen what it can do and the tremendous amount of resources that are now available for it. They are, however, mindful of the fact that the process should begin slowly so that kids do not feel coerced to learn a lot of things at the same time. They are certain that programming should be taught to kids by experts and not possibly English or History teachers unless the person is very apt. They believe that any opportunity to give the kids a step in the world of programming is most welcome, and their skills in this field should be developed. Programming for kids today should be listed in at least part of the skills that kids should acquire but with guidance on how to go about it. They, therefore, believe that kids should encounter some form of programming from the ages of 5 onwards to their teens and beyond.
Programming For Kids In Different Programming Languages Are Classified
Classification of the different programming languages that your child will meet in their course of learning is important. It ensures that they will be able to make sense of whatever they learn in the journey of programming. Introducing them to any of these classifications of languages in programming will depend on the purpose for which the program will serve. Programming languages can therefore be classified into the following:
Machine languages: these are programming languages that are interpreted directly by the computer’s hardware.
Assembly languages: these are programming languages that are written over corresponding machine languages
High-level languages: are languages that are machine-independent
System languages: programming languages that are designed for low-level tasks like process management
Scripting languages: they are high-level languages
Visual languages: non-text based programming languages
Programming For Kids: Some Common Starter
Programing for kids means they will get great skills in their development. The basics of programming are good for any child to know, but there are a vast number of languages. Which one should I choose for my kids? Many parents and tutors have asked. There are a few that can be used in order for them to start their journey to becoming programming pros. Some are:
Python reads like speech and you do not have to add a lot of comments to add to the code. Python will teach them the skills of thinking basically like a programmer. In Python learning, they have a few obstacles in learning the programming language. They learn how to put together programming ideas and then how to transfer the ideas into instruction that the machine will be able to interpret. A lot of the different functionalities a basic code requires are already built into Python. Learning is made easy for kids
The programming language of ruby has the easiest reading structures for beginners. The code that kid programmers will type in onto ruby is self-explanatory. This is good for kids who are still learning the basics of programming. The kids will learn these concepts in order to write good scripts. Ruby has been used to create the likes of the Twitter platform and makes it easy for the kids to get a real-life project to relate to it.
Learning Java to introduce programming for kids can be a bit more difficult than Ruby and Python, but it is not entirely unachievable. If you want to create kids’ websites and apps and do not know where to start from, you can think of Java. It has been around for about two decades. You can create with them anything from the ground up using Java. Java is like C and also C++ but it has more functionalities, and students are able to make more robust programs from it.
There are varied opinions as to letting kids start off programming with C++ because this program is like that typical math class. It can put kids off from learning code once they discover this. But however, once the student is able to understand the basic programming with it, it can be a fun and exciting journey. The most successful programmers as we have today all started in some form with C or C++.
Programming For Kids Can Be Done Online
Another online resource in programming for kids is CodeMonkey. This is a fun and, at the same time, educational game environment for kids to learn code when they have no prior experience. The kids are able to complete award-winning courses and navigate through the programming world easily. It has received an award for Best Educational Online & Digital Program for Kids in 2019. The task is to help the monkey to collect bananas through different tasks. Which child would not want a playful interface such as this? Kids are able to play to their satisfaction and would have learned either Python and other languages by the time the game is over.
Spice Up The Childs Programming Sessions With Robotics
Some tutors and parents are hesitant to teach their kids programming. Why? They think their lives have come to an end; they will be able to do nothing but be stuck with the kids for hours and hours, unending behind the screen. Well, good news! That might just not happen because there are different approaches when you want to involve kids in programming, including introducing them to robotics. Different robot models train kids in programming when they are a bit older. For them to build and control something is a fascination that they are not able to get over. Young tech-enthusiasts love robots. You can get robots like Dash, which is compatible with iOS and Android devices.
Kids are able to watch the virtual code they input into reality with Dash. It is able to sense, interact and respond to its surroundings, making learning fun. Coding will allow the bot to move on its wheels and interact. Lego has also ventured into programming by providing kids with the Lego Boost for ages 7-12. There also exists the Lego Mindstorms for ages 10+ to make programming achievable for most kids. They employ drag and drop blocks of coding and it allows you to build different robots. To control what they have built, it can be done from a tablet, smartphone, or computer. Thus enjoying their play, they are able to learn how to code and to work with robots and using their skill to build something from the ground up. Lego Mindstorm allows you to create more than 5 different characters from the pieces of Lego that they will give and control it from a tablet. How cool does that get? Very cool for most kids.
Microcomputers Can Help In Programming For Kids Lessons
On the journey to allowing your kids to learn programming, kids can be introduced to the likes of microcomputers, including Raspberry Pi and Arduino. Kids can get into the hardware side of computing. These microcomputers are small and light and you can try a lot of different things on them. It can cover a wide variety of projects like guitars, plant watering systems, home surveillance cameras. Microcomputers are typically for those 12 years and above though the younger ones can also try but with a lot of guidance. You can also introduce them to Bitsbox which is given for kids 6-12 who have no prior experience in coding. The child will get monthly coding projects at different levels of difficulty. Each month’s task will teach them a different concept in computer science like operators, conditionals and loops. The app they created will be downloaded onto their devices for viewing and exploring. Kids can, therefore, learn programming with microcomputers.
Kids Future & Programming
In sum, programming for kids as a skill they need helps them to think about how processes work. Their minds are drawn to the steps that are needed to make the process. The most important thing is for the child to learn the basic concepts behind programming. Also, you may try all the above methods to make your kid choose a career in STEM. However, if they do not, it does not mean you failed. They have to build their lives and live them, but the elderly have a role in providing them with the best foundation.
Programming for kids is not always about pushing them into tech careers. The first reason for introducing kids to them is for them to think and help them develop stronger skills. They should be able to think outside the box and also to solve problems. The more challenges they face, the more their creativity will be tested. If they can create a robot to move to their commands the undoubtedly, they will learn that there is nothing that they cannot do. Hence programming is indeed valuable for kids to have as part of their growing process.
Tips On Programming For Kids
Whether you are a pro at developing and programming, you would still need some tips on how best to introduce programming for kids today.
Use Scratch for younger kids, Python for the older.
Scratch originated from the Massachusetts Institute of technology. It a free tool teaching programming for kids. As a programming tool, it runs on modern web browsers. Kids between the ages of 8-13 benefit from the fact that Scratch has a simple graphical interface. It uses drag-and-drop features, and it is good for kids with no typing skills. Teens and pre-teens are to be introduced to Python. Python is recommended for them because it uses simple syntax and its code is easily readable with a large coding community that can help you with some frequently asked questions.
Show them the source code of the programs and not only concepts.
Apart from reading, teaching programming for kids will mean that you have to get them into hands-on skills. Python encourages kids to experiment to find out the next instruction to give. Programming for kids and the time spent with them should be geared at them writing more code as compared to talking to them about the concepts. Tutors will best get their students to learn programming when you sit with them and describe the kind of code they should write. That is more beneficial than just giving them concepts on loops, variables and functions. Look for online resources to help your kids know the source code of their programs.
The use of games creates fun in programming for kids.
There are a lot of common video games for young coders. They include Flappy Bird, Minecraft, Angry Birds and others. They make the best game projects from their own concepts. The games that they love can be a good place to start off programming with them. However, choose simple games so that they are not overwhelmed or never finish.
Allow them their space to explore
This includes keeping your hands off their keyboard and mouse. It is good to share knowledge with them but you have to allow them to learn hands-on skills. Allow the kids to drive! Resist the temptation to jump in on typing onto the keyboard. You can pinpoint what you want to show them instead of doing it all yourself. Let them have their time and practice it more on their own. They will find out that programming for kids is fun.
Let kids have their own computers.
Even if you’re teaching a group, give each student their own computer. Programming skills are best learnt with the hands-on practice rather than just watching someone do it. Raspberry Pi kits, for starters, are affordable. However, in getting their pc’s it is advised not to go in for Chromebooks and iPads because Python, for instance, cannot run on them. You can get some cheap laptops if you do not have somewhere to store the regular desktop computers. They can take turns in using these pcs if their number is more than what is available. But above all, programming for kids should be done with enough resources so that some will not be left out of the learning process.
Skip computer science
Running into the deep end with kids is ok, but they are there for fun and not to be confused with jargon. Some areas that you would want to take out from your programming for kids classes include SQL databases, data structures, recursion, object-oriented programming. Just go with the simple ones in the beginning; when they have advanced gradually, then you can add more complex processes to their learning. For starters, do not go into deep technical detail. Get them excited to explore.