What is programming?
Programming means communicating with a machine using a language that it understands. We instruct machines to build websites, apps, games, and many more using program languages. “Programming” or “computer programming” is also referred to as coding.
What is coding for kids?
Programming for kids is an opportunity for them to reap their early-learning benefits and broaden their scope of success. Coding is not any ‘computer-science’ that only grown-ups can understand. Kids, in fact, are quite suitable for understanding the different concepts of coding. In the early days when kids are only learning how to read and write, coding is much easier for them to grasp, since to them it is ‘just another language.’
Why should kids learn how to code?
Coding is the future
According to several studies, by 2025, 3.5 million STEM jobs will remain unfilled and 71% of the new jobs in STEM are going to be related to coding. The demand for coders is already high and it is only likely to increase in the future. The ever-increasing push for digitization is gradually pulling the world towards a greater dependency on technology, where coders will have an important role to play. Hence, knowing how to code makes kids the right fit for the future.
Computer coding enables children to not only consume but also produce digital contents and other technology-related products. Instead of merely playing a video game or using an app, kids may imagine creating their own video game, or visualize what their own website or app would look like, which may help them shape their ambitions.
Enhances mathematical skills
When kids code, they break down complex situations into smaller components. Coding helps children visualize abstract thoughts, allows them to apply numbers to real-life situations, and makes math exciting and imaginative.
Enhances logical thinking and problem-solving skills
Children use the right side of their brain to solve problems through visualization. Computer coding requires humans to use the left side of their brain, which is also used for linear thinking, sequencing and rationalizing. Hence, Coding enables children to use both sides of their brain, which only makes them sharper.
Added Advantage in entrance exams
Knowing how to code comes with the added advantage of having an upper hand in many schools, colleges, university entrance assessments.
Most popular coding languages for kids
An overview of different programming languages for kids:
- HTML: HTML is the easiest and most widely used programming language. Kids learn HTML quickly because of its easy and fun nature. Most websites have interactive features. These features are coded using HTML and CSS. Thus, HTML is referred to as the starting point of coding.
- Scratch: Scratch is a visual coding environment with drag-and-drop functionality. It is considered to be the best programming language for beginners. Because of its straightforward and highly visual interface, it is one of the most well-known block-based programming languages targeted to youngsters in the age group of 6 to 10 years as well as new coders.
- Python: Python is a beginner-friendly programming language. It’s simple, to the point, and is a total pleasure to work with. It isn’t built on blocks, but Kids will learn some of the more sophisticated, yet essential, principles of coding as they play with Python. These include variables, loops, functions, statements, fundamental data structures (such as lists, maps) and so on.
- Blockly: Blockly is a visual, block-based programming language for kids which was created by combining different programming languages. Anyone can create a functional Android app using this extremely visible, clean-cut coding method. Blockly, like Scratch, eliminates the possibility of technical errors, allowing kids to concentrate on the main foundations. To keep kids interested and engaged, Blockly has a colourful, intuitive, and user-friendly design.
- C++: C++ is an excellent programming language to get young computer enthusiasts started. It’s a programming language that’s used to make software, games, websites, and other things.
- Alice: Alice is another free-to-use, block-based coding language for children developed by Carnegie Mellon University. Creating 3D animations, interactive narratives, and basic games become a joy to young minds using Alice. It is recommended for children over the age of 10, as it may push toddlers into trying real, text-based programming too soon.
How should kids get started with coding?
According to MIT, the best age for kids to start learning how to code is from age 5 to 7 years. Parents should encourage kids to start learning how to code through different logical games that will stimulate their brains. It doesn’t have to be a big step, to begin with, and parents don’t have to be the ones in charge of providing the coding instructions. As mentioned earlier, it should only be a small step in the early stages, and there is a wide range of tools available to help guide the parents throughout the process. With time and only with enough interest from the child, parents should consider taking it to the next level. The key factor to observe here is whether your child makes progress with each step of the journey.
Start the ‘Code-master’ journey
It is important for children to follow a constructive and systematic method in their journey of learning how to code, right from the beginning. With a vision of properly guiding the little Einsteins, 10 Minute School is proud to present: Programming for Kids, a course prepared by Prapty Rahman, who is the Founder of the Ministry of Codes & the Winner of the National ICT Award 2021.