You may be wondering if it is too early to introduce your child to computer programming, and the answer is no. According to Steve Jobs, “Everybody in this country should learn to program a computer, because it teaches you how to think.”
Children are introduced to computers, phones, tablets, games, and videos at a very young age, and many schools are using computers in the classroom.
In school, they will learn how to use a computer, but few schools teach them how to program them, meaning telling the computer a set of instructions in a language the computer understands. Teaching children this at a young age will empower them, and the earlier we introduce them, the more comfortable they will be when they are able to put these skills to good use in college or a career one day.
Here are 14 reasons learning to code will benefit your child, and six ways to get them started.
Kids learn computational skills. Computer programming is essentially taking a problem, breaking it down into small parts, and creating solutions. This critical problem solving is an excellent skill to learn at a young age and can be applied to real-life situations.
Kids learn to use logic. Coding puts logical thinking skills to practice by producing a step-by-step procedure to produce the desired outcome. They will learn expressions, selection, iteration, conditional, and other logical statements and sentences.
Kids learn problem-solving. Just like in science, you will create a hypothesis to debug your code by adjusting parts of the code until you figure out the problem.
Kids learn how things work, and how to create something that works. Coding is all about creating by using cause and effect and adjusting parts to make it work.
Kids learn to anticipate and avoid problems. Errors happen a lot in coding; your child will learn how to anticipate them and prevent them so their program will not crash.
Kids learn structural thinking. They learn how to take small components that end in a big result.
Kids learn algorithmic thinking. Kids are already using this type of thinking in math, but in coding, they develop it further as they determine what steps they need to solve the problem. This involves concepts like repetition, sequencing, and conditional logic.
Kids learn perseverance. They learn how to work through a problem that has them stuck by figuring out what isn’t working, why it isn’t working, and how to fix it.
Kids learn creativity. Technology is fun and exciting for kids, and being able to create their own really brings the magic to life. It can bring their imagination to life and boosts their confidence when they make something really cool.
Kids learn skills that are necessary for the future. Learning how to program computers will be a skill that will serve your child well into the future. Even if your child does not want to be a career programmer, every field uses computers, and this knowledge will always pay off.
Coding shows math in action. If your child doesn’t love math, teaching them how to code may help. It is the practical application of math and shows them why it is necessary and beneficial.
Coding can help your kid discover their passions and help them decide on a future career. Coding is one of the fastest-growing professions. Our world is continuously looking to computers to solve issues, simplify workflow, and cut labor costs. Machines and robots can do almost anything these days, all thanks to programming. Your child can discover a passion for programming young and may decide they want to do it for their career.
Programmers can make a lot of money. There are teenagers who become very wealthy when they create a game, app, or webpage that takes off. The game, Flappy Bird, was created by a teenager who was earning $50,000 a day. You never know how this fun hobby could eventually change your child’s life.
Kids learn to think outside of the box. Kids learn from a young age that if they work hard enough, they can create anything they can imagine. Because of people doing the impossible, look how far society has come. Your child could have the next world-altering idea.
Unleash your child’s true potential, and get them started in computer programming!
Emphasize their creativity. Kids already use their creativity through drawings or legos, but what if they could create their own game, app, build a robot, or fly a drone? The possibilities are endless, and kids thrive off being able to use imaginations to create.
Encourage exploration. Kids love experiments, and the whole concept of I wonder what would happen if I do this. There are numerous age-appropriate tools to help your child explore, create, and play around with their ideas. A few free apps to get them started are Daisy the Dinosaur, Hopscotch, and Scratch. These games help get kids excited by letting them create and control their own characters, animations, and games.
Tap into your child’s passions. Do not focus on programming necessarily, but more on what they create through programming. Whether your child is interested in robots, webpages, sports, or games- there is something they can create through code. This will make it appealing and fun for them.
Make coding social. Once they get plugged in, they will start making friends who are also interested in programming. This will be an engaging way to bounce around ideas, problem-solve, and they will learn from each other. Thankfully, online communities are a huge thing now, and they can achieve this, whether they are learning to code in-person or online.
Find a mentor. Kids always look for people they admire, and this can help encourage them on their own journey. More experienced programmers love sharing their knowledge and teaching others things they have learned along the way. When your child gets stuck, they will be thankful to have someone more knowledgeable to ask for advice and direction.
Keep problem-solving fun. Programmers learn to love solving problems and choose their careers around what problems they will be solving. Encouraging them to be curious and enjoy creative problem- solving. They may not be super interested initially, but they may develop an interest as they get older and their interests change. Simply provide them with the opportunity to learn, explore, and decide for themselves if this is something they would like to pursue. Do not force it; if they love it, they will take the initiative and seek out more learning opportunities.
As you can see, there are a ton of benefits to teaching your child how to program that could change the course of their lives forever.
Our world is ever-changing, and technology is at the forefront. Start by introducing fun games and apps or find a project to work on together like building and programming a robot. Give them space to be frustrated when it gets hard and give them the resources to overcome the challenges they are facing.
Once you get your child initially interested, consider enrolling them in live, expert-taught coding courses specially designed for kids. Ucode offers coding courses for kids aged 7 through 17, and covers quite a few different languages!
Coding should be challenging, but it should be fun. The possibilities are truly endless!