There is a massive variety of approaches to introduce children to coding, though the effectiveness of each may vary greatly based on the individual.
One of the most widely recognised to be effective is ‘learning with play’, which focuses on the child’s emotional experience while learning, and aims to associate learning with fun from a very young age. One of many examples of this style of learning are the interactive educational games such as Scratch and Blockly, a visual-based programming language centered around linking block-based chunks of code in logical sequences.
There are many web-based applications online that use a similar approach, by “gamifying” the learning experience and converting the process of teaching difficult concepts into a fun activity. These games can be directed at almost any age group, the most popular being Tynker and codecombat.com. These platforms have a proven track record of educating kids without compromising the enjoyable aspects of gaming.
Learning by example is an effective way to educate children in a fun and positive way, as children will often try and mimic the behaviour of adults. Having a dedicated teacher or mentor available to expose them to the basics of programming may spark their initial interest, and if a child is regularly exposed to a positive atmosphere where people enjoy working with code they will very likely follow suit.
Outside of the online sphere, there are many actions a parent can take to nurture the child’s interest in coding regardless of their own knowledge in the area. As a child’s closest advocate, it is important for a parent to know what resources are available locally to support their child’s interest in coding.