Teaching children how to program computers is becoming high up on parents’ priority lists, but sadly, most schools do not offer it. Parents are seeking out online programs to teach their children programming, and are probably overwhelmed and wondering how to choose the best course for their child.
We will break it down for you so you can confidently decide on a class, learn ways offline to teach your kid coding, and see why it is so essential they are started at a young age.
Choosing a program for your child may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be!
UCode offers a variety of course options for all age groups, and even a course for parents so you can learn how to best support your kids as they learn! Also, please remember, programming is a skill you build upon, so no matter what age your child is starting, you may want to check out our programs for students new to coding.
The youngest program we offer is our Introduction to Coding Course for ages 6-8; this course will introduce your child to the fundamentals and get them started on the basics through fun videos and exercises. (view course guide)
The next level course, Learn Python for Kids, is geared for kids ages 8-10, and was designed with the help of Cornell faculty. This unique course uses virtual learning robots to introduce your child to the basics of Python. This course will help build a strong foundation as they move forward. (view course guide)
The Intermediate Python Coding for Kids Course is for ages 9-11 and builds upon their foundation from the previous course. They go from Block Python to Native Python while developing their thinking skills. (view course guide)
Once your child has mastered these courses, check out our advanced programs!
Python for Kids: Python Fundamentals, for ages 15-17, is for teens looking to add another element to their college resumes. Python is becoming a standard in the industry, and your child will be ahead of the game with these skills. (view course guide)
Java for Kids: Java Fundamentals, for ages 15-17, teaches your teen a programming language that is used across many different platforms. This course starts in Native Java using an IDE and is suitable for teens with no prior experience. (view course guide)
We hope this will help you on your journey to picking a course for your child that will teach them everything they need to know!
You may be wondering how you teach something like programming concepts offline, but there are many fun games and activities that will bring these concepts to life in a way even younger children can quickly grasp.
Coding with a deck of cards: Lay out your cards, place your robot on the cards, and program him to get to the finish line to get a prize.
Glow in the dark game: Get a variety of colored glow sticks, make them into circles, and let them out on the floor. The “programmer” (you) will call out colors and have the “computers” (your child) race to each color. Get your child to use the coding languages as they perform the task.
Lego maze: This is a fantastic STEM activity that will help your child visualize what the computer does when they program it. First, you want to blindfold your “robot” (your child), then lay out legos in a maze-like pattern on the floor, guide your little robot to the start of the maze, and then have your robot follow specific instructions to guide them to the finish line without stepping on a lego.
Chalk and water: Kids love water and chalk, so we know they will love this fun activity. Draw out a 6x6 square on your driveway, color in certain squares, have your child direct you using code language to lead you onto the colored squares. When you step into the colored square, your child then gets to squirt you with a water gun.
Don’t just assume coding is too complicated for kids because, as you can see, there are a variety of ways to make it fun and easy to understand!
Remind them to practice, practice, practice. Write and rewrite the codes; this is one of the best ways to learn. Encourage them to challenge themselves by trying more challenging codes and making projects personalized.
Overall, let them have fun with it, share their work with others, and get excited about trying new things!
Sure, kids love games, and thanks to games, millions of kids have learned how fun and exciting coding can be, but it is just the beginning, and they will sooner than later fall short. They will teach kids the input-output relationship, logic flow, and other basic concepts, which is awesome but not everything.
Because these gaming programs are teaching to code within their platform, your child may be able to build the coolest world ever in Minecraft, but that does not translate to the real world. This is just an example, but it applies to every game structured learning program out there.
If you choose to introduce coding games to get them interested, they can be beneficial, and well games are fun. They should be used as fun and not relied on in place of a more structured learning experience with a live teacher and writing code that will truly give them a well-rounded foundation.
Understanding how our world is evolving, computer programming jobs are becoming the number one source of stable income. If your child graduates from high school or even college with computer programming skills, they are likely to earn 40% more income than their classmates.
Learning coding from a young age will give them a serious head start in life, and the best part is kids actually love to learn it!
We hope this answered any questions and concerns you had when it comes to figuring out if computer programming is right for your child.
Introduce them and see if this is something they would enjoy learning about. Figure out how your child learns best and stick to that. Let them ask tons of questions, get plugged in, and discover all the fun things they can create! So what are you waiting for? Get started with UCode Programming Academy and give your kid the fun headstart they deserve!