Programming is fast becoming a standard subject in school curriculums. Kids are attending coding camps and classes. It’s becoming essential to learn so why not give your kids a head start and introduce them to the world of programming from a young age.
If you’ve got younger kids or are wary about too much screen time, you can introduce them to programming using different educational resources. Card games and board games for kids are perfect educational tools to teach programming as they help explain the basics of programming and coding, while also being fun!
So, what is programming?
Computer programming is essentially writing a group of instructions that a computer can process and execute. It may sound advanced, but really, it’s just a way of communicating with a computer to make a task go faster. Programming is made up of different coding languages, and, like any language it’s easiest learned while the brain is still a little sponge, absorbing all it sees and learns.
Why is programming important?
Its popularity and future
Programming and coding are important to learn during childhood as they’ve become essential 21st- century skills. In college admissions, knowledge and experience with programming has already shown to improve one’s application.
Programming isn’t all about function, it’s also helps boost the creative process. Children are able envision what they want and use programming to create it. Places such as coding camps and classes often focus on the importance of creativity once students have learned the basics.
Expanding problem solving and logical thinking
As your kids are faced with some complex problems, they have to use programming to overcome issues and challenges that may occur. These problem-solving skills go beyond the computer. Increasing your problem-solving skills at a young age can help kids in the future with problems that may occur in their lives.
Logical thinking is another important reason why programming can benefit your child greatly. Logical thinking has been linked to boosting a child’s academic skills. By assessing what the program needs, finding the best code, and debugging any issues, programming develops logical thinking.
How to introduce them to programming
Although there are many different techniques and tools to introduce kids to programming these are the top four ways that encourage, teach and entertain kids.
There are loads of board games targeted at kids to help them learn board games in fun, stress-free environment. A highly recommended board game is Robot Turtles. In this board game aimed for kindergarten aged children, players work to write code using code cards to unlock new levels.
Code Master is a brilliant programming game and doesn’t require a computer. It a logic game that looks to focus creating the building blocks of basic programming and coding. Each player gets an avatar that travel around the world navigating the game board. The great thing about Code Masters is that there is 60 different levels so your kids can increase the difficulty, being more challenged each time.
Another highly reviewed game is Robot Wars. It’s designed for kids seven and up, teaching various programming skills in one game. Kids learn to debug, sequential logic and robotic movements. Players seek to move their robot through a warzone zone using instructional cards.
Board games are a fantastic introduction to programming, using real-life cards and game boards to help physically teach programming and coding. Once they’ve mastered these skills digital games are the next stepping stone.
One of the most popular games is Scratch. It’s free and easy for kids to navigate. Designed by professors at MIT, the game has stories, interactive elements and animations. This is where creativity is really encouraged while also teaching problem-solving skills and computational thinking.
If your kids are a fan of LEGO, LEGO Mindstorms is a great transition from real-life play to digital. It’s a puzzle game that looks to increase logical thinking skills by commanding their robots through unique challenges. Kids learn to program while being timed giving it a fast-paced exciting element.
Programming is already important to children’s education and various parts of our lives. It’s used in many different career fields. From building robots to space exploration, your kids are most likely going to interact with programming in their futures.
Also, it is important to make sure you educate yourself about the different coding languages to understand what tools will be best to introduce your kids’ programming. Choose the most suited coding language, the best educational games, and show your kids how amazing (and beneficial) it’ll be to start programming today!