Programming Apps for Kids: An Introduction to Creating Apps

Published by UCode Research

Your child has recently gotten into programming and is wanting to create an app. We are sure you are wondering, “Can you even do that?” The answer is yes. Kids can start developing their own games, apps, and webpages from the very beginning. 

 

We hope we can make this process a little either for the both of you, so here are a few differences between app building for kids and adults, app-building guide based on your child’s skill level, and a ten-year old’s app developing advice to other kids. 

 

A Guide to Differences Between App Building for Kids and Adults

 

4 Key Differences Between App Building for Kids and Adults

  1. Kids love a good challenge or conflict. Adults are busy and want to accomplish things quickly and efficiently, but for children, a good challenge is all part of the game and gives them a greater sense of accompaniment once they figure it out. Resolving a challenge head-on helps kids develop skills such as:
    • Predicting how others are likely to react to their behavior
    • Controlling their own emotions
    • Communicating clearly
    • Seeing other people’s points of viewCreatively resolving disagreements
  2. Kids want feedback on everything. Children thrive off feedback, and it encourages their learning experience. Apps that offer this kind of engagement tend to be the most successful. 
  3. Kids are more trusting than adults. Kids are not always able to predict or understand the consequences of their actions ahead of time, so designers need to safeguard programs for children. 
  4. Kids develop faster than adults. Kids’ brains are moldable, and they can memorize new information very quickly. Because of this, follow a two-year age range on programming strategies. A younger child may need more precise instructions, and an older child will be able to pick up and learn as they go.

 

4 Similarities Between App Designing for Kids and Adults

  1. People expect consistency. Elements that get in the way or animate spontaneously or don’t contribute to the overall goal can frustrate kids and adults alike, and cause them to abandon a game or an app. Both kids and adults need a consistent design pattern to follow, or they will become frustrated and quit. 

  2. People need a reason to use an app. People thrive off having a purpose, which applies to programming. If there is not a clear purpose or use, they will quickly get bored or frustrated. 

  3. People do not want to be shocked. People expect things to work a certain way, and they get frustrated when they do not. 

  4. People enjoy a little something extra. Surprise elements in programming are so fun and engaging. Kids and adults both love this. 

 

How to Teach Kids to Make Apps Based on Their Skill Level

 

Beginners

If your child has no prior experience, they will want to start out with a programming tool. This will help teach them the fundamentals, terms, and build a foundation. There are even tools that do not require reading skills if your child is younger. Having a fun, interactive platform will help keep kids engaged and excited about learning. 

 

Intermediate

For kids with some experience, they will want to move away from the beginner programs to have a little more freedom over their creations. If they are not quite ready to create from scratch some help them more than others and allow them to create without being entirely on their own. 

 

Advanced

Most kids will not be able to code from scratch for a while, but we thought we would give you some information for the child prodigies. 

 

If your child is ready to code from scratch, here are a few things they will need: 

 

  • They need to have a good understanding of Object-Oriented Programming (OOP); knowledge of a programming language like Java or C++ is highly recommended.

  • They will need a Mac computer.

  • They will have to pay to join Apple’s iOS developer program before you can submit an app to the App Store.

  • They will need to download XCode Apple’s Software Development Kit (this is free).

  • They will need to learn the Cocoa framework, which is an Apple-specific development environment.

  • They will need to learn Objective C.

 

This will help get you started, and if they get stuck, there are plenty of resources and online chat rooms where they can talk to more experienced programmers. 

 

A Child Programmer’s Advice to Other Kids

 

Meet ten-year-old child programmer, Yuma Soerianto from Melbourne, Australia, who was invited to Apple Worldwide Developers Conference and achieved mini-rockstar status. 

 

"I only learned coding (the skill to make apps) from online," he says. "I never had the chance to talk to someone who could teach me coding, so it's a privilege to be here and learn from someone I can talk to."

 

He started coding at age 6, Yuma says, because his school didn't have "enough challenges to satisfy me." He was interested in tech, "how things worked, how apps worked, so I started coding games." 

 

Dad Hendri says Yuma does most of the work on the apps himself. "He codes the apps and decides on the layouts and functionalities," he says.

 

"I give him some of the images to be used in the apps. I want him to focus on the fun programming part and not be discouraged by doing too many tasks!"

 

For coding help, Yuma looks for online assistance on Google "whenever he is stuck," his dad says.

 

Yuma may sound like an adult, but he knows a good prank when he sees one. He says he gets asked this question in every interview: "What do you want to be when you grow up." His jokey response?  

 

To USA TODAY, it's "Become a train." To the Sydney Morning Herald, it's "I want to be Batman."

 

But seriously, his goal is to make apps that “can revolutionize the world. I want to fix problems."

 

His message to other kids--get coding now. "If you don't start coding, you might lag behind."


 

Conclusion

We hope this information and brief guide will help you get your child started in computer programming in a way that will be fun, exciting, and create an environment for success. 

 

Remember, all kids learn in different ways and different paces, so be patient with them and choose resources that work with them and not against them. Find a project they will enjoy working on, like building a LEGO robot, a drone, or an animated game. Giving them a task they can get excited to see the outcome will help motivate them. 

 

When they’re ready to dive in, get them started with one of Ucode’s many programming courses for kids. We have curriculums for kids aged 6 to 17 across several different languages, setting them up to be able to tackle whatever this ever-evolving industry has to throw at them!

 

In our technologically advancing world, this vital skill could benefit your child in the long run by helping them have access to better colleges and higher-paying jobs. 


 

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