Computer programming for kids is a hot topic given the importance of the digital landscape today and the impact that it will have on our future.
Think about it, children of today will be responsible for the greatest technological advances of tomorrow, so why not equip them in tech-literacy from as young an age as possible?
The truth is that even if your children have not shown a direct interest in computer programming for kids, the momentum that it is gaining means that you could set them up for future success by exposing them to as much coding for children resources as possible. In any event, the analytical nature of coding for kids, much like mathematics, means that it is a subject that will always benefit both their development and their future.
Today, most jobs include digital elements, which means that coding for children improves their employability later in life. Not unlike writing and reading, more and more opinion leaders are beginning to regard coding as a core competency that can help young students interact with the world in which they live.
What Are the Best Programming Languages for Kids?
Computer programming includes many different coding languages, each serving its own unique purpose. On the whole, there are programming languages for computer functions, procedures, scripts, and objects. But unless you have been exposed to basic coding or programming for kids, even that will sound like gobbledygook.
The simplest way to think of programming languages is to imagine them to be similar to all the different foreign languages in the world.
While you might choose to study a less widely spoken foreign languages like Macedonian or Hungarian, the logical options tend to be to learn more popular languages like Mandarin, Spanish, and English.
This is not dissimilar to programming languages: there are some used by many and those that have a much more niche purpose. As such, thinking ahead on behalf of your child means exposing them, at the very least, to the most popular programming language for kids.
Another useful comparison between foreign languages and programming languages is that the adaptable brain of a child tends to pick them up with greater ease and speed than the average adult. Coding for children goes a long way with young minds that soak up information like sponges.
In our view, when it comes to programming language for kids, there are four main players: Java, Python, Scratch, and Lua.
Python is a language for scripting which many consider being one of the easiest to learn and therefore a great option when it comes to programming for kids. Python was at the forefront for some of the world’s most popular social networks, including Instagram and YouTube. To its credit, it is also behind many of Google’s initiatives.
Python is also popular with most kids for its ability to create video games!
There are heaps of online programming for kids resources to help them come to grips with the language of Python and its user-friendly interface.
Scratch, which has a very visual tool kit is a great programming language for kids. It enables kids to create code, not through writing matrix-like lines, but rather through the dragging and dropping of colourful blocks.
Scratch is a worthwhile programming language for all multimedia needs including sound effects, animation of characters and simple games.
If Java rings a bell, it may be because it is one of the most popular programming languages available and is also suitable when teaching coding for children. Java can lead to rewarding and lucrative careers and is an excellent choice for a child who is showing an interest in coding.
One of the benefits of setting your child up to learn Java is that given the language’s popularity, you can have the reassurance that it will serve them well one day. Java is the programming language behind Twitter, Gmail, and the well-loved kids game, Minecraft.
Lua is one of the most complex of all coding for kids programmes, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the extra effort. In fact, children who have expressed interest in video games or robotics will probably get on well with this language.
Lua is famous for being behind the extremely successful ‘Angry Birds’ app as well as the Roblox gaming platform.
While Lua is not recommended as entry-level coding for kids, it is a great step up once they are ready for something more challenging.
Coding for Children
It would be ill-advised to throw your children headfirst into the world of computer programming for kids without the proper guidance or structure. As a potentially overwhelming subject, it could cause them to lose motivation before they have even got going.
Not unlike learning maths, languages, or music, it’s important that they do not go in cold, but rather that they are guided through a step by step process by a qualified expert
In most instances, taking a course or programme in coding can ignite a child’s interest and keep them motivated to persevere and advance.
But what are the best computer programming courses for kids?
Minecraft with Mods
Everyone knows that kids just love the game Minecraft.
This blocky game lets the player construct forts, fight enemies and even have fun with friends. As a game, it has been a huge success with young gamers since its release many years ago. This is why Minecraft with Mods, which is a coding course that uses the landscape of gaming namesake is an excellent option to spark an interest in coding.
Scratch Coding is a helpful course for getting to know the Scratch programming language. It takes the user through a language that uses a visual interface and then asks students to create everything from games to animation.
Code Combat teaches youngsters text-based coding through the medium of Role Playing Games (RPG’s).
In this coding for children course, users are required to lead their character through a series of jobs and missions with thought-provoking coding challenges. The 39 levels cover everything from variables to loops.
Coder Kids is a top computer programming for kids course that offers coding camps that take place both online and in-person. It’s a comprehensive course that aims to bring your child up to speed on the Scratch programming language record time.
If you’re interested, you can watch their free introductory video, ‘Introduction to Scratch Coding.’
Coding for Kids: Online Resources and Websites
Apart from enrolling in a programming for kids course, it is also useful to have a host of good online coding resources to keep up your child’s motivation handy too. There are many websites and free tutorials and even programming toys to keep them interested and involved.
The wealth of resources available online can go a long way to keep coding enjoyable, and to provide guidance when inevitable challenges occur.
Here are some popular websites and online resources for the enthusiastic coder to try:
Lightbot is an outstanding gaming platform that offers young coders the opportunity to tinker around and hone their programming skills.
The game addresses several important elements when it comes to programming for kids such as sequencing, overloading, and recursive loops.
Another reason why it is a good coding for children option is that it offers several code-teaching apps that are compatible with various Windows, Kindle, Mac, and other Apple devices.
Cargo-bot is another fun and simple game that’s easy to get to get to know while covering the basics of programming for kids at the same time.
To play, the child needs to solve puzzles, program a bot and deliver cargo using the Codea programming language for kids.
Swift Playgrounds is a free coding resource platform that teaches the fundamentals of the Swift programming language. There is a visually impressive 3D environment that your kid can explore with a character they’ve created and coded themselves.
You can work on everything from basic commands to complex functions with this platform, and even more advanced things like creating games and apps.
CodeSpark Academy, an app for both Android and iOS is full of simple, fun activities. If you’re looking for great introductions to coding for children, this app is suitable for children between the ages of 5-9 who want to try programming in a fun way.
Tynker is a complex online coding resource that also has a comprehensive coding for kids course. as
With Tynker, young, aspiring coders can create apps and games, play around with Minecraft mods, and have fun with the wealth of games designed to teach programming language for kids at any level of experience.
There’s also a paid subscription option for Tynker, which allows the user access to a wide variety of additional resources like a private server on Minecraft where they can try out their mods.
With no precise curriculum, children are free to drop in and out of Tynker which makes it a good supplementary resource for more formal computer programming for kids options.
And who knows, anything could happen to your world when you start to look into a programming language for kids options, you could end up with an idea to take on the developers of Minecraft! Good luck.
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