Has your kiddo always been interested in computers? Do they enjoy tinkering with their devices or seem to fix technology issues before you even understand the problem? Bless this generation; they understand it all so quickly! A lot of children interested in computers often find great enjoyment from coding. Also known as computer programming, coding is the “code” that underlies every program, icon, and the interfaces on our devices. Coding is the process of designing and building a program to accomplish a certain task.
Not only is coding fun to learn for techie kids, but it will eventually be a very sought-after skill for a future career. As our world develops to rely more on technology, computer programming skills will continue to be incredibly necessary. It is estimated that over one million coding job positions will become available by 2020.
However, there are more reasons to encourage your computer whiz kid to take up coding. As a homeschool elective, coding is excellent for STEM, and it helps your kids learn to think logically. Programming encourages kids to approach all topics from an analytical, problem-solving mindset. It supports an attention-to-detail perspective, which will carry into how they approach both life and other school subjects.
5 Great Ways Coding Strengthens Critical Thinking
Coding is a great option for building critical thinking skills. Critical thinking involves approaching a problem or situation analytically and breaking it into separate components for more efficient problem-solving. Critical thinking also involves being able to adequately express yourself and being mentally flexible. Computer programming does an excellent job encouraging kids to think of creative solutions which naturally stretches the mind’s flexibility. In coding, every situation is unique, which is what makes it helpful for challenging the mind as well as our approach to problems and solutions.
If you are considering a computer programming course for your techie child, there are many potential benefits. Specifically, here are five great ways that coding can help encourage your child to think logically.
- Coding teaches that mistakes do not equal failure. Coding is one of those activities where mistakes and second, third, or fourth attempts are merely par for the course. In fact, they are to be expected. Consequently, coding teaches to give yourself grace, not to fear mistakes, not to equate mistakes with failure, and finally, that practice makes perfect.
- Coding teaches creative problem-solving. Multiple attempts at fixing an issue are common, and it helps kids learn to try various techniques until the solution is achieved. As Steve Jobs claimed: “Coding teaches you how to think.”
- Coding teaches the same process used in critical thinking. One of the biggest ways programming strengthens critical thinking is by utilizing the exact same process. Coders must try, make mistakes, and try again, until reaching the solution. Just by learning how to code, students will be learning the same patterns and steps of critical thinking.
- Coding complements literacy. It is, in actuality, a language, and one of the most accurate languages in existence at that. Programming translates instructions into a language for a computer to perform a certain desired result.
- Coding teaches there is more than one right answer. In life, it’s not always black and white. Coding encourages students to maintain the mindset that there may be another way to reach the desired solution. This perspective could easily spill into other subjects and even friendships with other people for a more accepting and open mind. Finally, coding helps students become more aware of how technology works, which is important since it affects nearly everything in our daily lives.
5 Fun Coding Resources for Kids
Now that you’re convinced about the benefits of computer programming, where do you begin? Thankfully, there are a number of online resources for children! Some of these are free or low-cost, while others require more compensation. Similarly, a few are better for beginners, while others will help more intermediate learners delve deeper into the subject and sharpen their skills for further learning. Here are five great options to get you started!
- Codeverse. If you are located in Illinois, this could be a great option for kids ages 6-13. It looks like Codeverse has three different locations for “camps” and classes for teaching kids computer programming, app development, studio hacking, and creative design techniques.
- Scratch. Scratch is probably one of the most well-known coding websites for kids. It’s perfect for beginners and younger children alike. This website makes computer programming extra fun and encourages kids to design through stories, games, and animations! Intermediate learners would likely do well with a more advanced program, but this is a great option for learning the basics!
- CodaKid. With CodaKid, the computer programming courses are online-based. They offer a free trial, which sounds perfect for homeschooling families who are looking for a high-quality program but are anxious about investing in something that their kid might not enjoy. CodeaKida offers coding courses, “quests,” and challenges to keep kids engaged and having fun. Their program includes Minecraft courses, game programming courses, specialty courses, and more!
- Code.org. This website has been around for a while as a well-known resource for teaching kids to code. Code.org is dedicated to expanding access to computer science and therefore offers free curriculum resources and courses. Everything is open-sourced to help provide as much access as possible for students learning to code.