Guest Post by Hannah Kayla
We are constantly surrounded by technology, which permeates every aspect of our lives. Children grow up using this technology and learn so quickly that at times it boggles the mind how they can so ingeniously operate devices when adults can seem like complete Luddites. Why not take it one step further and teach them the inner workings of technology, primarily what powers it all: code.
Everywhere we look, there are digital solutions to problems, and while we previously mentioned on Kidpressroom how chess can make children smarter, coding teaches valuable problem-solving skills, helps them understand the evolving digital world, and builds digital confidence.
How To Make Computer Coding Fun and Not Intimidating
It starts with a paradigm shift from the abstract concept of coding as an arduous and thankless job toward the opinion that coding is done by smart people who create amazing things. Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux operating system, is quoted on Who is Hosting This as saying that programmers write code because it’s fun to program, not because someone is telling them to do it.
Moreover, coding prepares kids for better jobs in the future and teaches them to think critically for themselves. As such, there are a variety of websites, games, robots, computers, and other learning devices that make coding fun for kids as young as two years old.
Computer Coding Websites for Children
Websites like Kids Ruby and Scratch are free, basic coding sites which make learning to code a fun activity. Both are rudimentary with a visual interface allowing children to see what the code they write does. While Kids Ruby asks kids to input code, Scratch makes it simple by displaying color-coded blocks that can be dragged and dropped around the screen.
Alice is a middle-school-level coding website, with an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface, which allows for virtual environment creation. Alice makes programming easy and can help children with the art of game design as well as the transition to text-based language.
For older children, Lego Mindstorms combines the fun of a brick-building game with building physical robots complete with motors, sensors, and a remote control that The Hacker Chick says allows your kids to program it to do whatever their imaginations dream up. Raspberry Pi is a small, credit-card-sized computer that allows you to hook up a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. It allows kids to easily learn coding through special versions of the popular Minecraft game, allowing them to program it directly.
These are but a few ways that parents and educators can make coding fun for kids to give them a jumpstart, change them from consumers to producers, and give them a better understanding of the digital world around them.
Coding at a young age will also help prepare kids for well-paid jobs in the future in computer science and related fields, which are expected to rise significantly in the future. Maryville University notes how in 2016, the median annual pay for software developers was $102,280, while over one million computer-science-related job openings are expected by 2024.
With schools integrating computer programming in their classes to prepare kids for the future, parents can do the same to give them a head start by combining some of these fun methods into their daily activities.