The Hour of Code takes place each year during Computer Science Education Week (usually December 3-9) but is encouraged all year-round. Hour of Code aims to reach tens of millions of students in 180+ countries through a one-hour introduction to programming. These courses aim to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics in a short time frame. After successfully completing an Hour Of Code project, both parent and child are eligible to print a certificate of achievement. This can be a useful first step in a child’s journey in learning how to create software applications.
There are numerous steps a parent can take to continue this journey. The most obvious is by engaging in some of the many available online resources directed at both children and adults, such as Coding Dojo or Khan Academy. These sites provide tutorials on all aspects of programming, catering to all levels of learner – from total beginner level and up.
For children who remain fairly unfamiliar with the programming fundamentals, it is best that they adopt a coding language directed towards children such as Scratch or Blockely, which frame difficult programmatic concepts into games or fun challenges, through visual programming languages. There are also many basic robotic kits available that are directed towards kids. Robotics is a tactile approach to learning that offers an introduction to both coding and electronics. Popular examples of these are Dash and Dot and Robolinks Rokit.
Outside of the online sphere, parents should expose their children to as much computer science related activities as possible. They should help promote computer science education in their child’s school district by investigating which services or courses might be available locally.