Coding has been introduced as the new essential life skill for our children, a new literacy for computers, vital for an increasingly digital and technology-focused world - but what does it mean, and how do we help our children learn to code when it can seem so totally foreign to us?
Well, coding is the language and actions behind everything in our modern technologies like the website you’re reading this on, apps on your phone, as well as any computer. It’s the way that we communicate with this tech and instruct it to do as we design. With bring-your-own-device schools and the rise of online learning its important that our children grow and develop coding skills in order to be able to interact with new technology. Coding is a life skill that can also help develop their numeracy and literacy skills, as well as their creativity and problem-solving abilities.
It can be difficult to know where to start, especially if coding isn’t something you’re familiar with yourself. GoGoKids however has a wide range of solutions that can help you learn alongside your child, or let them take the initiative and direct their own learning. What’s even better is that many of these options provide a device-free approach to learning which means the kids can get a screen break over the holidays while still learning about coding!
Coding education can start as early as you’d like - for example see My First Coding Book. This book helps introduce 5-7 year old to coding basics in a way that makes it fun and engaging with bright colours, flaps, wheels and sliders. Its an excellent way to introduce young ones to coding and inspire an interest in the subject early on.
Even younger children - 4 years old and up- can get involved with coding through interactive problem solving games like the Code & Go Robot Mouse Activity Set. With this set, children can build endless mazes for their mouse Colby and use coding cards to help programme Colby’s path and help him find his way to the cheese! This game makes learning code fun for children.
Older children (8 and up) can combine interests in Minecraft or space exploration with learning coding skills with options such as the Code Master Programming Logic Game or the Coding Game Rover Control. Both of these games have a multitude of levels that increase in difficulty so they’re sure to keep young learners interested and challenged for longer. While having fun, children will also build on coding skills as well as logic, reasoning and planning.
It’s particularly important to foster an interest in coding and computer science in young girls, because women continue to be underrepresented in STEM careers. Encouraging an interest in coding is an excellent way to set up young girls for exciting and cutting edge careers in computer science and technology. Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding is a book that speaks directly to this goal, engaging girls’ imaginations and including activities after each chapter to ensure successful learning. Give a young girl in your life a leg up into the future of technology.
Helping your child enter the world of coding doesn’t have to be expensive . There are plenty of freely available online resources like Hour of Code which include activities incorporating things your child already loves like Minecraft, Harry Potter and even Barbie. Scratch is one of the coding languages that can be freely downloaded and which provides an entryway into coding. Books like Coding with Scratch Made Easy are affordable, and provide excellent guidelines and instructions to help children make the most of Scratch and optimise the learning opportunities it provides. Through this technology kids can even make their own games!
And when your coding prodigy is ready to take gaming to a new level Computer Coding: Python Games for Kids is a book that will help children build their own games in another coding language - Python. Key concepts from coding in general will be learnt along the way, as well as an understanding of Python in particular. With the help of this book children can learn how to incorporate sound effects and even include their own cheat codes while making professional-looking and personalised games.
For a comprehensive introduction to both Python and Scratch - Computer Coding for Kids provides an easy to follow and very visually engaging guide for children. This book makes for an excellent entryway into coding, but also builds on existing knowledge and includes more advanced and complex information to help develop their coding skills and understanding.
These tools aren’t just for children! Take the opportunity to learn coding with your kids - it’s a valuable skill that can be an attractive addition to your CV in the modern job market. Or, support your child’s coding comprehension and skills by asking them to share their knowledge and teach you. Coding is a new way of learning, but it's also a life skill in this modern world.