In this technological age, the importance of knowing to code cannot be overemphasized. Along with reading, writing and arithmetic, learning to code is increasingly becoming crucial for a child’s overall literacy development.
Computer coding is a part of everything and is everywhere in the world around us.
It is not just important in technology-related fields, it is vital in manufacturing, healthcare, and farming; virtually any industry you can think of has a coding component. The question that parents should be asking is not “why?” but “how?”. How can I inspire my child to learn to code, when should I start, and what are the many benefits?
Children are innately curious and love to explore; they love to discover, to pick things up, examine them and to keep asking “why?” It is the parent’s job to encourage children’s interests and help them develop life skills by starting early and making it a fun experience.
Coding is extremely easy for children to grasp and thus, after a brief introduction and some exploration, rudimentary skills can be mastered. This basic knowledge will help children interact with the technology around them, rather than passively consume it.
Technology is evolving at lightning speed and the set of skills a child develops from learning to code will be there for a lifetime. Coding teaches logical thinking and strengthens both written and verbal skills. Children who learn to code better also understand how to organize their thoughts better and visualize abstract concepts.
Children develop creativity by experimenting and making mistakes. They learn through coding education that there is more than one way to do something. In creative environments, there are no right answers and no guidebooks. Children learn through coding that knowing how to ask the right questions is sometimes more important than having the right answers.
Through the discipline of coding, children seek validation from their peers and tend to work in groups. They learn to collaborate, to give and receive criticism in a positive way, and to incorporate feedback in what they are doing.
From coding games starring characters from Doctor Who and Frozen to after school programs, schools should encourage kids to learn how to code. It makes sense, since STEM jobs are on the rise, and nearly any job in a typical office setting in the future will involve technology.
For parents looking to increase their children’s exposure to coding, there are many great programs available online and at local libraries, museums, summer camps and learning centers to supplement what children are exposed to in school. Some of the online resources to teach kids coding include:
Kids Ruby was created to teach kids actual Rub code; it is a downloadable program that will give kids hands on experience with Ruby.
Hackety Hack is the next step for kids who have graduated from Kids Ruby.
Robot Turtles is a board game alternative to computer games and apps, Robot Turtles is for ages 4 and up and brings programming to life; just get the turtle to the matching colored jewel on the board.
Made with Code by Google was released by Google to help with the gender gap that exists in STEM. Through in-person parties, a number of online resources, and summer camps, Google is inspiring young girls everywhere to tap into their inner programmer.
Code.org, a non-profit online organization brings science to more schools and encourages underrepresented students to pursue a future in technology and science. It offers a number of tools, resources, tutorials, and more to help anyone learn to code.