When teaching a child something they normally don’t think about, things get a little interesting. You’d be surprised how much you’ll deviate from what you originally set out to teach – and no, it isn’t frustration. It’s imperative to ask children what they want to create, and if they show interest in the tech field, you have another thing coming. Here’s how to teach your child to code.
Related: How To Homeschool Your Child
If you’re a developer, you might have noticed that coding is becoming increasingly popular among young kids. A lot of parents in Pakistan – Lahore, Islamabad and Faisalabad – are encouraging kids to give coding a try.
Are you willing to share your passion with your children and help them learn how to code? Children won’t be as excited as trying to become the new Messi of football or Wasim Akram of cricket. However, it would be a fun activity for them, and rewarding for everyone!
Talking Codes And Concepts | How To Teach Your Child To Code
Given the subject’s technical reputation, programming is a hands-on skill that requires practice, and a lot of hard work. If you plan on teaching your kids directly – using source codes – writing code goes a long, long way.
Sit with your kids, describe the code they must write line by line, and make them solve simple problems.
Starting a new program is exciting after learning about variables, loops and functions. In this case, your first job as a parent is to instil an element of technical creativity in your child.
- Show them how to work well and build automatic reflexes.
- Given the growing need for developers at old/emerging companies, this requirement gives you all the more reason to provide your children with a basic understanding of how a programme works.
- Give your children the right mindset to follow their dreams by inserting tech somewhere in the mix. Don’t pressure them!
Whether you’re a software developer, or have no coding background, here are a few tips to get your child started with programming. Get in!
Follow Their Ideas | Encourage Practicality!
Creativity is often a kid’s main asset when it comes to writing code. It feels more compelling to follow an original approach and defining limits that help children understand what they’re capable of.
Don’t make the mistake of doing things a certain way just because you’ve always done it that way at work.
Your kid(s) might surprise you here!
Kids between ages of 8 and 13 will benefit from a simple interface that doesn’t have too many tools to choose from. It’s always good to start with a few tools to help understand the platform better. Try Scratch – a free programming tool that was built for kids who prefer a soothing visual style.
Scratch’s drag-and-drop code blocks snap together. Pieces of code that don’t make computational sense won’t fit together, making syntax errors literally impossible. Scratch is great for younger kids who haven’t developed typing skills.
Adapt Your Teaching Style | Speak The language Your Child Feels Familiar With
According to a little survey that we did, children can learn how to code at a surprisingly young age. They won’t need to have prior knowledge of computers – don’t ask too much of them!
The right time is when they start to show a strong interest in tech. The internet tells us that 7 is the ideal age to start to learn the logic behind coding and electronics. At this age, children already begin learning how to read and write – they can also manage to create something special with programming.
If your teaching stance is aimed at 5-7 year-old kids, there are multiple online platforms to choose from. But, if you intend to use real languages, wait a bit. For instance, 9 or 10 is a fine age to start learning Python. More importantly, the age that a child is interested in learning is an ideal starting time for learning how to code.
If your kid wants to learn, even if they’re too young, start with logical games that emulate the way a typical program works.
Games Are A Fun Way To Begin With | How To Teach Your Child To Code
For many young coders, making video games is a common starting point simply because it’s fun. For inspiration, refer to games like Angry Birds, Minecraft, Flappy Bird, and Color Switch.
Bear in mind that games your kids love might not make great programming projects when they’re just starting out. Many games require teams of developers, artists, and designers to make something visually appealing to begin with. Beware of high-level app production; beginners can get overwhelmed with heavy level-designing and artwork!
It’s more satisfying to complete a simple game than to start and never finish a massive project.
Tip: Avoid a dedicated game creation/maker software with children. For instance, ScratchJr typically tries to present simplified programming environments. Don’t teach through applications that tend to water down programming aspects. Your children don’t need to worry about doing something like configuring pre-existing software!
Avoiding Too Much Technical Jargon | Simple Communication Is The Ultimate Tutor!
Do you remember your school days? We think most of us always had a teacher who used SO much jargon, that whatever they taught flew straight over our heads.
It’s the same for your kids. They don’t care for your lesson about design patterns or data structures. As we mentioned earlier, it is imperative to show them the source code and how it works. At the same time, keep the vocabulary usage to a bare minimum.
Let Them Play! | How To Teach Your Child To Code
Playing is a nice reward for children, because it serves the right purpose.
Kids love to create their games and, sometimes even more, watch other children play them. The kids will change their projects according to the feedback their friends are giving them. Without realizing, they’ll create complex and interesting games through that iteration process.
We know what you’re thinking, and we understand, but please don’t. A gaming session^ shouldn’t always be about testing. You’ll have to take off your teaching hat from time to time and just let them play their games. Allow them kids to be silly if they feel like it.
By doing that, you’ll show them that coding is fun and the process is rewarding, from beginning to end.
Last Word | Skip The Computer Science
If you are a software developer, you might be aching to share your ‘mysteries’ in the field.
Some topics you should hold off on from the start:
- Object Oriented Programming
- Design Patterns
- Data Structures – excluding lists/arrays, binary trees
- Things beyond HTTP requests
- SQL and other DSL stuff.
Hold it for a few years if you can. When they’re ready, you’ll know!
Well, there you have it guys! This was all about how to teach your child to code. If you have any questions, leave a comment in the section provided below.