How and why to teach your kids to code

With the world becoming increasingly digital, the need for our future generations to understand coding is important. 

Often described as the reading and writing of the future, coding has been a recently proposed as a new subject for the educational curriculum.

Put simply, coding - or programming language - is a set of instructions that tells any device that has a computer when and how to do specific things.

While it seems complicated, programming languages are actually designed to make talking to computers easier. Computers usually work by using binary code, which uses a combination of 0s and 1s to perform a task.

Coding allows us to use simplified commands and abbreviations to translate these 0s and 1s into a language we can understand and manipulate. We can then use these languages to tell the computers what to do.

There are many different types of coding or languages. Python, C, C++, Visual Basic, Java script and Ruby are good examples of these languages. In fact, there are numerous different types of code, all of which allow programmers to do different things.

Why is coding important?

Pretty much anything that runs on electricity requires coding to work. Anything from your computer’s browser, apps on your phone, Facebook or any website, relies on code to do the things it does. 

With the world becoming increasingly digital, the need for our future generations to understand coding is important. 

As technology continues to progress and become more advanced, the need for people to code for these devices will also grow.

This is why many people feel coding is so important and believe it will become a must have skill for the future work force.

When is a good time to teach your kids to code?

Many countries around the world have seen the opportunity to get in on the ground floor and have started teaching children in schools how to code.

As computers have slowly started to integrate themselves into all aspects of our life, it is imperative we ensure we are training people who will create programs for this technology in the future.

How to introduce kids to coding

While waiting for coding to become part of the school curriculum, there are other ways to get your children to code from the comfort of your own home.

Apps

There are some great apps designed to teach the initial skills that are involved in writing code.

  • Robot HackersThis is an app that will help your child learn the basics of coding. It  uses battling robots to break the coding down and make it easier to understand.

  • Lightbot – This is a puzzle game designed to help your little one gain a better understanding of coding. Your child learns to solve problems by entering programming code to move a robot around and solve puzzles.

  • Lightbot Jr – Lightbot Junior is available for younger children. It is designed to be easier to use and involves less complex puzzles.

  • The Foos – The Foos also helps children learn to code through playing games. It is based on research from MIT and teaches the basics of programming structure.

Websites
 

There are a number of websites that can help your child progress on their coding journey. They might even help teach parents a thing or too.

  • Code Academy – Code Academy is a company that specialises in teaching people how to code. With codes ever changing and new languages popping up constantly, a site like Code academy is a great tool to ensure your child is on top of the latest coding trends. 

  • Khan Academy – Khan Academy covers a number of different coding-related topics that you can learn from the comfort of your own home - from building a website to creating your own programs and everything in between.

  • Code.org is dedicated to teaching people of any age to code. With courses for Primary and High School that cover all different types of code, it can be a great site to ensure your child’s learning develops with them.

Ensuring we have children skilled to code from an early age might enable the next generation to create, design and adapt existing technology to drive us forward into the digital future.