Do you want to teach your kids coding but don’t know where to start? Coding is a great skill for kids to learn, as it helps them develop logical thinking and problem-solving skills.
There are a few different ways you can go about teaching coding to kids. You can use online resources, such as Code Academy or Scratch, or you can purchase a coding book or kit.
If you’re using online resources, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, choose a resource that is appropriate for your child’s age and skill level. There are many great resources out there for kids of all ages and abilities.
Second, make sure to set aside some time each day or week for your child to work on coding. It’s important to be consistent so that your child can make progress.
If you’re using a book or kit, make sure to read the instructions carefully before getting started. These resources usually come with step-by-step instructions and exercises for kids to complete. Help your child work through the exercises, and don’t be afraid to ask questions if something doesn’t make sense.
Teaching coding to kids can be a great way to help them develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. With a little patience and consistency, your child will be coding in no time!
Before we jump into the strategies, let’s take a look at some of the chief benefits learning to code gives your child.
Why Teach Your Kids How to Code
So, why should you bother teaching your kids how to code in the first place? After all, couldn’t they learn about it in college if they were interested?
Well, they could, but coding teaches several important skills that go well beyond the world of computers.
7 Benefits of Teaching Your Kids to Code
1. Develop logical thinking and problem-solving skills
When kids are learning to code, they are essentially learning how to solve problems. They have to think about what they want the computer to do and then figure out how to make that happen through code. This helps them develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills that they can use in other areas of their life.
For example, let’s say your child is trying to code a computer game. They’ll have to think about what actions the player can take and then figure out how to code those actions. This requires them to think logically and solve problems in order to get the desired results.
Some great way to give them inspiration (and also help them understand gamer pain points) is to have your child play old text-input-based computer games.
These often have several bugs and errors which your child can try to solve using their coding skills. Not to mention, understanding gamer pain points will help them know what they need to put into their own games to make them great!
2. Learn to persevere through difficult tasks and frustration
Coding can be frustrating, especially when things don’t work the way you want them to. But this frustration can actually be a good thing, as it teaches kids how to persevere through difficult tasks. They’ll learn that even if something is hard, they can still figure it out if they keep working at it.
This is an important skill for kids to learn, as life is full of challenges and obstacles. If they can learn to persevere through the frustration of coding, they’ll be better equipped to handle other difficult situations in their life.
One great way to help your child persevere is to encourage them to take breaks when they’re feeling frustrated. It’s important for them to take a step back and relax so that they can come back to the problem with fresh eyes. This will help them approach the problem in a new way and find a solution.
Another great tip is to have your child work with someone else who is also learning to code. This way, they can help each other when they get stuck. Working with a partner is a great way to stay motivated and keep learning even when things are tough.
3. Boost their creativity and imagination
When kids are coding, they are essentially creating something from nothing. They have to come up with an idea and then turn it into reality through code. This helps boost their creativity and imagination, as they have to think outside the box to make their idea come to life.
For example, let’s say your child wants to create a computer game where the player has to catch falling leaves. They’ll have to come up with a creative way to code the leaves falling and the player catching them. This will require them to use their imagination to come up with a solution.
Encouraging your child to be creative when they’re coding is a great way to help them boost their imagination. You can do this by asking them open-ended questions and giving them the freedom to explore different solutions.
4. Learn to think like a computer
In order to code effectively, kids need to learn to think like a computer. This means understanding how computers take in information (in the form of code), process it, and then produce an output (such as an image on the screen or a sound).
This is a valuable skill for kids to learn, as it helps them understand how computers work. It also gives them a better understanding of how to communicate with computers. For example, if a computer doesn’t do what they want it to, they’ll need to figure out why and then adjust their code accordingly.
5. Build confidence and self-esteem
Coding can be frustrating at times, especially when things don’t work the way you want them to. But when kids are able to figure out how to make their code work, it can give them a great sense of achievement. This helps build their confidence and self-esteem.
It’s important for kids to have confidence in themselves, as it helps them believe that they can achieve anything they set their mind to. Coding is a great way to help kids build this confidence, as it’s a skill that requires them to problem-solve and think critically.
Encouraging your child to persist through the frustration of coding is a great way to help them build confidence and self-esteem. Congratulating them when they figure out how to make their code work is also a great way to show your support and encourage them to keep going.
6. Help them learn to work collaboratively
When kids are coding, they are often working on projects with other people. This helps them learn to work collaboratively, as they have to communicate and cooperate with others in order to get the project done.
Working collaboratively is an important skill for kids to learn, as it’s an essential skill that is used in many different situations in life. For example, if your child is working on a group project for school, they’ll need to be able to work collaboratively with their teammates in order to get the project done.
Encouraging your child to work collaboratively when they’re coding is a great way to help them learn this important skill. You can do this by having them work on projects with other people and helping them to communicate and cooperate with others.
7. Teach them how to debug
Debugging is an important part of coding, as it’s a way to fix errors in code. When kids are debugging, they are essentially trying to find and fix errors in their code so that it works the way they want it to.
Debugging can be frustrating at times, but it’s a valuable skill for kids to learn. It teaches them how to problem-solve and find creative solutions to problems.
Encouraging your child to debug their code is a great way to help them learn this essential skill. You can do this by having them debug their code with you or by having them debug someone else’s code.
When kids are coding, they are essentially trying to communicate with computers. In order to do this effectively, they need to learn how to speak the language of computers. This means learning how to write code that is effective and efficient.
Coding is a great way for kids to learn how to think logically and solve problems. It also helps them develop their creative thinking skills.
Encouraging your child to code is a great way to help them develop these important skills. You can do this by providing them with resources and opportunities to code.
How to Teach Your Child To Code
Now that we’ve discussed some of the benefits of coding for kids let’s talk about how you can teach your child to code.
1. Start with the basics
Coding is all about giving computers instructions to perform specific tasks. The most basic coding instructions are called “commands.” Just like in real life, we use commands to tell computers what to do. For example, the “print” command tells the computer to print something out (like text on a screen or piece of paper).
Other basic commands include things like “move forward,” “turn left,” and “turn right.” These commands are often used in what’s called a “loop.” A loop is a set of instructions that gets repeated over and over.
You can think of a loop as a set of instructions that gets executed like this:
- Execute the first instruction in the loop.
- Execute the second instruction in the loop.
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 until the last instruction in the loop is executed.
Loops are a powerful tool that we can use to make our programs more efficient.
2. Use a visual programming language
There are many different programming languages, but not all of them are well-suited for kids. For example, some programming languages require you to write a lot of code just to perform simple tasks.
Others can be quite difficult to read and understand, even for adults.
That’s why we recommend using a visual programming language when teaching kids to code. Visual programming languages are designed to be easy to use and understand. They often use graphical icons to represent different commands, making it easy to see what your code does.
One popular visual programming language is Scratch. Scratch was developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and is used by millions of people all over the world, including kids, adults, and even professional programmers.
Scratch is free to use and comes with a built-in tutorial that can teach you the basics of coding. It’s also easy to find online resources and tutorials for Scratch if you get stuck. You can check it out here.
Another popular visual programming language is Blockly. Blockly is used by Google’s App Inventor and has been used to create millions of mobile apps.
Like Scratch, Blockly is free to use and comes with a built-in tutorial. You can find out more about Blockly here.
There are many other visual programming languages available, so feel free to explore and find one that you and your child enjoy using.
3. Use online resources and tutorials
There are a ton of great resources available online that can help you teach your child to code. Here are just a few of our favorites:
- Code.org is a nonprofit website with hundreds of hours of coding tutorials and exercises for kids of all ages.
- Khan Academy has a great collection of resources for learning computer science, including tutorials on programming in Processing.
4. Join a coding club or class
If you want to take things a step further, you can sign your child up for a coding club or class. These classes are usually offered through community centers, libraries, or schools.
Coding clubs and classes can give your child a chance to interact with other kids who are interested in coding. They can also help your child learn at a faster pace and retain more information.
If you’re not sure where to find a coding club or class in your area, a quick Google search should do the trick.
Coding clubs and classes aren’t for everyone, so don’t feel like you have to sign your child up for one just because. Some kids may prefer to learn on their own or with just a little help from you. It’s really up to you and your child to decide what works best for them.
5. Encourage creativity
One of the great things about coding is that it allows kids to be creative and express themselves in new ways. As you’re teaching your child to code, encourage them to be creative and experiment with their programs.
For example, if they’re using Scratch, they can create animations, games, or stories. If they’re using Blockly, they can create mobile apps. The possibilities are endless!
6. Ask your kids why they want to code
Before you start teaching your child to code, it’s important to ask them why they want to learn. This will help you understand their motivations and tailor the learning experience to their needs.
Some kids may want to learn to code because they want to create the next big video game or app. Others may just be curious about how computers work. There are no right or wrong answers here. It’s just important to know what your child is hoping to get out of the experience.
Once you know why your child wants to learn to code, you can help them set realistic goals and expectations. For example, if they want to create a video game, you can help them break down the steps they need to take to make that happen.
Teaching your child to code can be a fun and rewarding experience. Coding is a great way for kids to express their creativity and learn new skills. By following these tips, you can help your child get started on their coding journey.
Common Mistakes Children Make When Coding
Now, sometimes kids make mistakes when coding. This is not a big deal, and it’s actually a good thing! It means they are trying new things, making mistakes, and learning from them.
Here are some of the most common mistakes children make when coding:
1. Not reading the error message
When kids see an error message, their first instinct is often to ignore it. But error messages are actually really important! They can help kids figure out where they went wrong in their code.
Encourage your child to read the error message carefully and see if they can figure out what went wrong. If they can’t, that’s okay! They can always ask for help.
2. Not using comments
Comments are lines of code that are not executed, but they can be really helpful for explaining what a certain section of code does.
Encourage your child to use comments in their code so they (and you!) can remember what their code does later on.
3. Not using proper indentation
Indentation is important in coding because it helps make the code more readable. It also helps kids keep track of which lines of code are part of a certain section.
Encourage your child to use proper indentation in their code, so it’s easier to read and understand.
4. Not testing their code
It’s important for kids to test their code before they move on to the next thing. That way, they can make sure everything is working the way it’s supposed to.
Encourage your child to test their code often so they can catch any mistakes early on.
These are just a few of the most common mistakes kids make when coding. As your child continues to learn and code more, they will make fewer mistakes. And that’s a good thing!
How to Teach Teenagers To Code
Many of the above points will apply to your teenager learning to code. However, teenagers’ brains are more developed than younger kids, so they can handle more complex concepts and move on from basic concepts more quickly.
Here are a few tips for teaching teenagers to code:
1. Let them experiment
Encourage your teenager to experiment with their code. They should feel free to try new things and see what happens. This is how they will learn and grow as coders.
For example, if they are working on a project and they get stuck, encourage them to try a different approach. They might find that their original idea was actually the better option, or they might discover a new way of doing things that works better for them.
Either way, they will learn from the experience and be better coders as a result.
2. Encourage collaboration
Teens are often more social than younger kids, so they may be open to collaborating with others on coding projects. This is a great way for them to learn from their peers and develop their skills.
If you know other teens who are interested in coding, encourage your teenager to work on projects together. They can also join online coding communities and collaborate with coders from all over the world.
3. Help them find mentors
Mentors can be a great asset for teenage coders. They can help answer questions, give feedback on projects, and provide guidance.
If you know any adult coders who would be willing to mentor your teenager, reach out and ask if they would be interested. Most coders are happy to help others learn and grow in their field.
You can also encourage your teenager to find mentors online. There are many online coding communities that connect coders of all levels, including mentors and mentees.
4. Encourage them to keep learning
Learning should be a lifelong activity, and that includes coding. As your teenager masters the basics of coding, encourage them to keep learning new things.
There are always new programming languages to learn, new concepts to explore, and new projects to build. The more your teenager learns, the better they will become at coding.
Encourage your teenager to read coding books and articles, watch coding tutorials, and experiment with new code. The more they learn, the better they will become at coding.
How to Help Your Child If They Are Struggling to Get It
If your child or teen is struggling to understand coding, there are a few things you can do to help them.
1. Use the right resources
First, make sure that they are using resources that are appropriate for their level. There are many great coding resources out there, but if the material is too difficult, it will only serve to frustrate your child. Make sure they are using resources that are designed specifically for kids or beginners.
2. Encourage them to keep trying
Don’t give up if they don’t get it right away. Coding is a complex skill that takes time and practice to master. Encourage your child to keep trying, even if they feel like they’re not getting it. Remind them that everyone struggles at first and that they will get better with time and practice.
3. Encourage them to look at a new coding language
Sometimes, a child may be struggling with a particular coding language. In this case, it may be helpful to encourage them to try another one.
There are many different coding languages out there, and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Encourage your child to experiment with different languages until they find one that they are comfortable with.
Practicing or learning a new coding language doesn’t mean that your child should give up their original language altogether. Rather, working with a different language can help your child learn to look at computer language from a different perspective. This, in turn, can make their original language easier to understand.
4. Encourage them to take breaks
Coding can be frustrating, especially when your child is struggling to understand it. It’s important to encourage them to take breaks when they feel overwhelmed. This will help them avoid feeling burnt out and frustrated. Breaks will also give them time to reset and come back to the material with fresh eyes.
Encourage your child to take a break after they’ve been working on coding for a set amount of time. Maybe they can work for 30 minutes and then take a 5-minute break. Or, maybe they can work for an hour and then take a 15-minute break. It’s up to you to decide what will work best for your child.
5. Help them find a coding buddy
One of the best ways to learn anything is to teach it to someone else. This is also true for coding. Helping your child find a coding buddy (someone they can teach their new skills to) can be a great way to help them learn.
Not only will they be reinforcing their own understanding of the material, but they will also be teaching someone else. This is a win-win situation!
If you don’t know anyone who would be interested in learning from your child, there are many online communities that can connect them with other coders. These online communities can be a great way for your child to make friends and learn from other coders from all over the world.
Encouraging your child to find a coding buddy is a great way to help them learn, but it’s also important to make sure that they are still getting enough one-on-one time with the material. Make sure they are still doing their own independent work, in addition to teaching someone else.
6. Help them find a coding mentor
If your child is struggling to understand coding, one of the best things you can do is help them find a coding mentor. A mentor is someone who is willing to help your child learn and can offer guidance when needed.
This is different from a coding buddy, who is more focused on teaching than mentoring. There are many ways to find a mentor for your child. You can look online, in coding forums, or even in your own network of friends and family.
If you know someone who is already a coder, they may be willing to act as a mentor for your child. Once you’ve found a potential mentor, reach out and ask if they would be interested in helping your child learn to code.
Having a mentor is a great way to help your child learn, but it’s important to make sure that they are still doing their own independent work as well. A mentor can offer guidance, but they shouldn’t be doing the work for your child.
7. Ask them about their motivation for learning to code
If your child is struggling to learn to code, one thing you can do is ask them about their motivation for learning it in the first place. Why do they want to learn to code? What are their goals?
Once you know their motivation, you can help them find resources and materials that are more aligned with their goals. Sometimes, we get lost in the details of learning something new and forget why we wanted to learn it in the first place.
Asking your child about their motivation for learning coding can help them remember why they wanted to learn it in the first place. This can be a great way to help them stay focused and motivated.
In addition to asking your child about their motivation for learning to code, it’s also important to ask them about their goals. What do they want to be able to do with coding? Do they want to build websites? Create apps? Once you know their goals, you can help them find resources that will help them achieve those goals.
8. Encourage them to document their journey
One of the best ways to help your child learn coding is to encourage them to document their journey. This can be in the form of a blog, YouTube channel, or even just a simple journal. Having a place to document their thoughts and progress can be a great way to help them learn.
Documenting their journey will help them track their progress and see how far they’ve come. It can also be a great way to share their knowledge with others.
If they have a blog or YouTube channel, they can help other people who are just starting out on their own coding journey. Sometimes going back and looking at their documentation will help them see solutions they didn’t see before.
9. Help them brainstorm solutions
If your child is having trouble with a coding problem, one thing you can do is help them brainstorm solutions. This involves thinking of all the possible ways to solve the problem and then choosing the best one.
Brainstorming solutions is a great way to help your child learn, but it’s important to make sure that they are still doing their own independent work. Make sure they are still working on coding projects, in addition to brainstorming solutions.
In addition to brainstorming solutions, it’s also important to encourage your child to think outside the box. Sometimes the best solution to a problem isn’t the obvious one. Encouraging your child to think outside the box will help them develop creative thinking skills that they can use in all areas of their life.
10. Help them look from a different perspective
Finally, if your child is having trouble with a coding problem, one thing you can do is help them look from a different perspective. This means looking at the problem from another point of view, such as from the perspective of the computer.
Teaching kids how to code can be a challenge, but it’s also a lot of fun. These six tips will help you get started. With a little patience and effort, you’ll be surprised at how quickly your child picks up coding.
Top 10 Best Coding Resources
The best way to teach your child to code is to provide them with resources and opportunities to code. There are a number of resources that you can use to help your child learn to code.
Here are some resources that you can use to teach your child to code:
- Code Academy
- Khan Academy
Each of these resources has something different to offer your child. You can use one or all of
these resources to help your child learn to code. Experiment and find what works best for your child.
Remember, the best way to teach your child to code is to provide them with resources and opportunities to code. With these resources, your child can learn to code at their own pace and in their own way.
The Bottom Line
Teaching kids to code can be a fun and rewarding experience. It’s a great way for them to learn about logic, problem-solving, and creative thinking. And it’s a skill that they can use for the rest of their lives.
If you’re interested in teaching your child to code, there are a number of resources that you can use. Code Academy, Code.org, and Khan Academy are all great places to start. Experiment and find what works best for your child. With a little patience and effort, you’ll be surprised at how quickly your child picks up coding.
Coding is a crucial skill for kids to learn in today’s world. Use these tips to start teaching your child how to code.