I think you’ll agree when I say:
Learning to code is a KEY skill for kids in today’s world.
Yet while we can teach our kids what we already know, such as reading and math, if we can’t code ourselves we can’t help our kids learn to code.
Or can we?
It turns out you don’t have to be a coder to help your kid learn to code. By giving them the right tools that are both fun and educational you are providing them everything they need.
In this post, we share tutorials, games and hands-on tools that have been built by organisations including Google and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
I hope you now agree that you can help your kid learn to code. But if you’re not convinced why they should learn to code, you may appreciate these five benefits for your children:
1. Computer code is a language. And like any other language such as Italian or Mandarin, it’s best learnt young.
2. It stretches their brains and teaches them how to think logically, which will benefit them in other school subjects such as Math and Science.
3. You’re empowering them. It allows them to control robots and machines, turn their ideas into reality and solve complex problems. Instead of consuming they will be creating.
4. They will become fluent with technology.
5. The world needs more coders. There are more and more jobs becoming available that rely on computer coding. By teaching your child to code you are setting them up for a prosperous future.
6. It’s fun! Learning and creating is intrinsically enjoyable. The ability to code turns computers into playgrounds.
Okay. Now we know it’s possible to help your children learn to code and why it’s important, let’s check out the five best resources to help them learn.
The MIT Media Lab wanted to help young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century. To fulfil that dream, they created Scratch.
Scratch is designed to help students with little or no coding experience to dive headfirst into programming. Kids get to program their own interactive stories, games and animations. Essentially, the games and programs are made up of building blocks which replicate the structure of actual computer code.
Scratch has become one of the most popular tools for kids. It’s fun, educational and free.
Check it out at: https://scratch.mit.edu/
Code.org are a non-profit dedicated to expanding access to computer science, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented minorities. They organise the annual Hour of Code campaigns which has engaged 10% of all students in the world.
They have hundreds of games that teach coding skills. But more than that, they worked with some kid’s most loved brands such as Disney. This means your kids get to choose from games like Star Wars, Minecraft, Frozen, Hot Wheels, and Lego.
Check it out at: https://code.org/
Once your kids begin to master the skill of coding, they will want to test their skills in the real world. While they may not be ready to build a website or an app, there is an ideal website that allows them to see their coding abilities applied on real websites.
Thimble, which is part of the Mozilla Learning Network, is an online code editor that makes it easy to create and publish your own web pages while learning coding languages. Kids can choose between starting a project from scratch or editing an existing project.
Check it out at: https://thimble.mozilla.org/en-US/
While we love all the online options, at Yellow Octopus we recognise that building computer parts with your own hands gives you a much deeper understanding of how computers and code works.
Our DIY kit allows kids (12+) to not only build their own gaming console, but to code their very own games.
Check it out at: https://www.yellowoctopus.com.au/diy-gamer-kit
By high school, only 0.4% of teen girls plan to major in Computer Science. Google, who employ many of the world’s best female coders (who are among the world’s best in their own right) found this unacceptable.
In response, they launched Made With Code. It features a number of exciting projects that help kids learn to code, but they are designed to appeal specifically to girls. Projects include; Code For Equality, Accessorizer, LED Dress, Music Mixer, and Dance Visualizer.
Check it out at: https://www.madewithcode.com/
When learning the guitar, once you master one song you want to learn another. Coding is the same. Once your kids master the games and tutorials above, they will be hungry for more.
In preparation of that time, here’s a list from Common Sense Education that rates and ranks the best apps and websites for learning to code.