We live in an ever-increasingly technological World, one that for an Adult can seem confusing at times.
Fueling excitement about technology in our children is extremely important. If your child can learn to program at an early age, imagine the head start it will give him as he approaches the job market in a world of tech.
There are many tools available that enable computer coding classes for kids to take place anywhere access to a computer and the internet is available.
It does not matter how old your child is. It is never too late for him or her to learn about computer programming.
6 Easy Ways Your Kids Can Learn to Code
Lets look at the 6 of the most useful coding tools for kids. Each tool can be used by a child, either as a beginner or with some previous experience. It does not matter what level they are at.
Tynker is one of the easiest way to learn coding concepts – something that powers computer coding classes for kids in thousands of classrooms all over the World. The way this platform is set up enables children to quickly learn code in an engaging manner. Learning the fundamentals of programming concepts as they animate characters, control robots and publish their very own apps.
Tynker is easily one of the better known tools of its kind, thanks to it being in 50,000 schools and being used by over 32-million children Worldwide. Based in the USA, Tynker is website-based, so no custom software is necessary, plus there is also an iPad app. Your child will have lots of fun creating puzzles and games using step-by-step tutorials.
Compared to some of its competitors Tynker is relatively new however, for its simplicity it certainly is one of my favorites. Similar in design to that of Scratch (I’ll talk about that one next) but with a focus on teaching programming not just programming alone. I prefer its UI and the fact that it has a large array of different ways in which a child can learn these for me make it a must try tool!
Designed by students at the World renowned MIT in 2003, Scratch was one of the first programming languages created for children aged between 8 and 16 years old. Like Tynker above, Scratch is free to use and can be found in computer coding classes for kids all over the World. What it offers is a way to learn basic programming skills in a visual way. So if you’re interested in getting a child to code, or even want to take a look yourself. It has everything you need to get started.
Getting started with Scratch is simple, all it requires you to do is enter a new work-space and start to build games, apps, animations and other fun interactive programs using the drag and drop method. Pieces of code are represented by what looks like jigsaw pieces and a user can either drag and drop in any order or follow a set pattern to create something to learn how it’s done.
Designed for children aged between 9 to 11, Hopscotch is considered by many to be a great tool for beginners and offers similar controls to the likes of Tynker and Scratch. However, this is where the similarities end, and if you are considering using it for computer coding classes for kids, you may after a short period want to consider something less basic.
Running only on the iPhone and iPad is what holds it back. Yes it does offer children the ability to develop their own games, animations and stories and other interactive programs. But it is limited and a child may need to move onto another platform to advance.
However, as a tool for beginners it’s easy to start with and lets kids experiment with coding and teaches them logical thinking. As for options, there are a few that may intimidate new users. And I personally think there is a lack of tutorials, which is an important factor of any tool.
Like Hopscotch, Kodable is another standalone app for the iPad, and is used in thousands of computer coding classes for kids across the United states. To start with Kodable is free and offers children the ability to learn to code before they can read! Being focused on fun learning is what this app is all about, and it has been specifically designed for children from age 4 and above.
To start a child’s coding journey with Kodable is easy! The app offers 30-puzzles all which are based in the World of a character called Smeeborg. In which a child has to guide a family of crashed aliens called the fuzzfamily around a set of Technomazes using programming. As the child moves the characters through the mazes, they collect coins and earn stars, which unlocks further tasks for a child to program their way out of.
However, far from being a game, Kodable is a great tool for teaching kids how to learn the basics of coding. One huge negative for me is that after the first 30 mazes, the app does require the purchase of add-ons to make it complete.
Different from those above RoboMind teaches children how to program with the specific end result being a robot following the commands incorporated into that program. So if you have a child who loves robots, there’s a good chance they will enjoy being able to tell one what to do. And the great thing about this programming tool for kids, is the fact that it requires no previous programming knowledge to get started.
For practicality reasons, the moving of the robot is done within the software of RobiMind, in which the child makes the virtual robot move around a two dimensional area, and uses programming to get it to complete various different tasks. Doing so, children are able to learn the basics about artificial intelligence and then move onto more advanced robotics programming using LEGO Mindstorms.
Whilst using RoboMind, children get to learn more about computer sciences, logical thinking, problem solving and how it directly effects the real world. ROBO, itself is a programming language developed with a small set of rules and its creators believe it can aid children when it comes to learning other languages later in life.
This useful learning tool will enable you and your child to learn about object oriented concepts, using programmable scripts. In some aspects it is similar to both Scratch and Tynker, in that it has media enriched visual tools. These tools have been designed with a number of goals in mind. Which are to teach children how to think logically, be creative and obviously gain an understanding of basic coding. First developed by Apple, Etoys is a universally recognized tool and as such has been used in the One Laptop per child project.
So there you have it, five of the best coding programs for kids available today. I chose these tools because of their popularity with children, parents and teachers who use them. However, there are many more available for you to choose from. Some which are free and others that require a monthly fee after a 30-day trial period.
If you’re a teacher or parent looking for a programming tool that offers both structure and can be used in computer coding classes for kids. As I see it, you have two outstanding options from the five I chose above. One of the two is Tynker, because it’s just so easy to use and creates a fun learning environment for parent, child and teacher alike.
My second choice has to be Kodable, with its organized help sections and interactive tutorials. It really does focus on helping a child not only code, but understand how each and every part of their code effects the final outcome. Yes, initially it does seem more of a game than a helpful programming environment. But I can assure you, that if thousands of schools are using it within computer coding classes for kids, then it along with Tynker are both well worth taking a look at.