Computer programming was once thought of as something only very smart people learned, but as our world is advancing, it is becoming a necessary skill for everyone to learn. Thankfully with its increase in the necessity, the learning techniques have also improved, making it not only possible but also fun for people of all ages.
There are now plenty of resources online to help your child learn coding, helping you quickly learn the basics, and within a few weeks, you could be creating simple games, apps, and webpages!
Also, starting out with an easy to learn language will help you build a good foundation as you delve deeper into programming.
Here are a few benefits of teaching a child to code, different types of languages, and nine of the best beginner languages that may be best for your child.
Benefits of Teaching a Child to Code
Today children are being taught younger and younger to code, with our own beginner’s coding courses starting for kids aged 6. The younger they are introduced, the deeper their understanding of it will be as they progress into more challenging languages. Of all the skills your child could learn, this one could completely change the course of their lives forever.
Here are a few benefits of teaching your child to code:
- Improving their logical thinking: Coding is all about thinking logically to solve a problem.
- Strengthening their verbal and written skills: Coding will help improve their verbal and written skills because they are learning to break down instructions and write them in a language the computer understands.
- Fostering creativity: Coding fosters creativity by allowing children to bring their imaginations to life.
- Helping them improve their math skills: Math may seem pointless to youngsters, but coding brings it to life. Most kids do not have the opportunity to see the math used in a practical way. Once they see all they can create, it will make math class more exciting.
- Improving their academic performance: Studies show kids who are involved in computer programming are excited about learning, are more disciplined, and excel in academics.
- Helping them become more confident problem solvers: Coding is problem-oriented, meaning kids will learn how to look at a problem, break it down into smaller achievable parts, and find the solution.
Three Different Types of Languages
As you start deciding what language your child should begin with, consider whether the language is compiled or interpreted. A language that is compiled will be harder to understand and may leave beginner coders frustrated and ready to quit.
Here are the three types of languages, and what type is best for beginners.
- Compiled Programming Languages: A compiled language has to be “compiled” before it can be run. If even a single piece of syntax is incorrect, the whole thing will crash. For beginner coders, creating flawless code is uniquely, therefore, leading to many crashes. Not all compiled languages are off-limits to beginners; BASIC is relatively easy to learn and will have kids feeling even more accomplished when they are completing perfect code.
- Interpreted Programming Languages: Interpreted languages interpret as they go. They are responsible for a lot of what happens on the web because compiling all of the codes would not be possible. Languages like JavaScirpt can be compiled or interpreted, making it more versatile.
- Object-Oriented Programming vs. Procedural Languages: Object-oriented programming is what professional programmers use, but a beginner may want to start with a procedural language. The main difference is that procedural language follows an if-then pattern- if you do this, then this will happen. An object-oriented language is built by objects that connect and interact with other parts of the program. It is more challenging to understand and execute, but if your child becomes a career programmer, this is a skill they will need.
Now that you know the difference between types of languages, let’s look at a few of the most popular beginner languages.
8 of the Best Beginner Languages for Kids
- JAVA: This is a well-known object-oriented language, and many kids are already using it if they have played the popular game Minecraft. This language is perfect for beginners because it is fairly easy to learn, but also builds upon as they learn more. It is ideal for game and app development. We’re proud to be able to offer a Java Fundamentals Course for Teens who are relatively new to coding!
- Swift: This programming language is perfect for beginners because it does not require a lot of actual code writing, but instead teaches the fundamentals through a drag-drop code. This is a learning tool though designed for beginners, and they will eventually have to move on to a language that allows them to learn to write their own codes.
- C++: Many consider this a foundation language that uses a compiler-based approach. It is simple and effective, and perfect for kids who are interested in learning to code machines like robots and game and app development.
- Scratch: This beginner programming language helps kids build a good foundation using drag and drop boxes to develop games and apps. It has tons of tutorials, making it easy for kids to learn as they create.
- Blockly: Similarly to Scratch, Blockly also uses a drag and drop bock design to help kids bring their creations to life. It is designed for kids ages 10+ and introduces many different languages that will benefit kids as they continue learning.
- Python: This serious programming language is actually perfect for beginners because it uses plain English versus tricky symbols and numbers. It is very versatile and allows kids to create games and webpages with the help of artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. Like Java, we offer a Python Fundamentals Course for Teens to get them started, but we also have Learn Python for Kids for children aged 8 to 10, and Intermediate Python Coding for Kids aged 9 to 11 to help them get started with Python while they’re young.
- Alice: This object-oriented language also uses a drag and drop approach by using building blocks to create animations, 3D models, and camera motion.
There are so many options to choose from as you decide what language may be the perfect beginner language for your child.
Remember, every child learns differently, and one may be better than the other based on their interests and what they want to create. The age of the child will also highly influence which programming language you will choose.
Younger children may want to start out with a drag and drop program, especially if they are not old enough to read. If your child is older, it may be beneficial to ask them what they would like to create and go from there. Getting your child excited about the possibilities of bringing their imagination to life may spark more interest.
Most importantly, for kids, keep it fun. There are tons of fun games, apps, videos, and books that will supplement your child’s online courses without them even realizing it. Give them the resources they need to thrive, maintain interest, and have access to help if they get stuck.