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Coding for Kids in 2020: Everything You Need to Know

Coding and programming are terms that we don’t often attribute to kids’ curriculum. In fact, most adults see coding as daunting and try to avoid learning about the subject. And rightfully so, after all, learning coding is quite literally like learning an entirely new language.

However, a new subject of any kind can appear difficult as long as you aren’t introduced to it well enough. With coding, kids often find themselves in a quandary about whether coding is for them or not, what can they do after they have learned to code, and most importantly how can they go around learning coding in the first place.  

Any subject that you are not familiar with needs to be learned about before it is learned. What that means is you need to understand what you are learning, have a plan about how you can learn it, and then gain some expertise in it. 

After all, every subject is a new subject and can be daunting until you get to know about it and learn it. 

What is Coding for Kids

So what does coding for kids mean? How can kids learn a subject that essentially deals with long lines of texts and the alphabet? The answer is gamification. There are multiple coding languages that are specially designed in a fun and gamified style so it would be attractive to kids. These languages take the basic idea of coding and apply them to visually captivating and interactive frameworks so that kids get their foundational knowledge of programming without feeling disheartened by long lines of texts on a black screen. We also need to understand that this new trend of coding for kids is not a fad but yes some organizations are commercializing it to unwanted levels.

How Can You Get Your Kids to Code

The first thing you need to do is introduce them to the world of computer applications. Allow them to use the computer at home to carry out certain tasks or let them play around with the PC. Once they have understood the basics of computer operation you can teach them about how computers communicate with each other and how programs are made. 

Get them to complete simple tasks on Scratch or other gamified versions of the language. Tell them what goes where and how can they go around creating their own applications. The goal is to move forward with computer knowledge, regardless of how slow the process is. 

Why Every Kid Should Code

Coding is the new norm that is taking the industry by storm. We are living in a world of rapid technological development. Most of our daily lives are spent on the internet, using apps, games, and other features to both get our work done and pass some time. It can be said without a doubt that the upcoming generation will be even more dependent on technologies. While people all over the world are aware of this, STEM education stats show that STEM jobs still go unfilled. 

Coding is the need of the hour. In the coming 5-10 years, coding will be one of the most demanded jobs out there. Moreover, apart from the employment factor and the need of the hour, coding also encourages creative thinking and problem-solving skills that can be greatly beneficial for kids. Parents now face the daunting task of choosing the right Coding classes for their kids.

Benefits of Coding

Let’s take a look at why coding is so important for kids to learn and what benefits it offers:

  • Coders get a competitive advantage when applying to college or jobs: When you are a coder, you automatically have a competitive edge over your peers.
  • Coding makes you aware of your surroundings: When it comes to the technology surrounding us, we have no idea about how they run. Our smartphone, for instance, is a complicated device that runs on a thousand parts conjoined together, both in terms of hardware and software. When we know to code, the way we interact with such devices change and we tend to learn something new every day.
  • Coding is fun: Once you have learned the basics of coding, there are infinite possibilities in front of you. You just need to let your creativity flow and you can create apps, games, websites, and many other programs. 
  • Coding helps develop real-world skills: When you learn to code, you are not only able to create programs but also improve upon your creativity, problem-solving skills, persistence, and communication. Since coding has no final lesson, you are always learning and trying to implement new things together. It makes you more creative in your approach. Coding also helps you improve your concentration and makes it easier for you to find solutions to complex problems. Moreover, you also learn to collaborate and communicate with your peers who are also into coding, which further improves your social skills.

Coding Definitions

Before one gets into coding, it is important for them to learn about a few common words concerned with coding. 

  • Programming: Programming is the process of setting up certain commands for the computer to carry out. Now since computers don’t understand our languages, we have to instruct them in their own languages, which are plenty. It is almost like teaching a toddler some basic stuff so they have a gist of the language that we all communicate in. Computers are not limited in their understanding of language as human babies, but it is us who take some time learning the language of computers therefore programming can be a slow process. With computers, instead of talking to them, you will have to write long lines of alphabets mixed with numbers and symbols, collectively known as codes. 
  • Programming Language: A programming language is a language that computers understand. Just like any other language, programming languages have rules and guidelines around them about their utilization. Programming languages are made up of their own vocabulary and set of rules. Each programming language has its own syntax and semantics. 
  • Scratch Programming: Now that we have learned about programming and programming languages, let’s take a look at the first programming language that your kid would come across when he begins to learn to code. Scratch is an MIT-developed visual programming language that was developed especially for kids. It is a drag and drops programming language that kids can get a hang of soon and create interactive stories, comics, and more with it. Instead of using long lines of code, Scratch uses simple coding blocks and cartoon stripes so kids can better understand what they are doing without feeling hassled.

Which Coding Languages are Best for Kids

For kids, there are several programming languages that cater to their puerile nature and at the same time teach them the basics of coding. Let’s take a look at some of these languages:

Scratch and Other Visual Programming Languages

Scratch and other visual programming languages are great for getting kids interested in coding because of how interactive and interesting they are. 

Although these kinds of languages don’t teach syntax and symbols, they are necessary for laying down a ground on which children could build up their programming careers. 

Scratch and other visual programming languages are simple in their approach. The simplicity of dragging and dropping commands and seeing them come alive on the screen makes Scratch one of the most preferred languages for kids out there.

Lua

Lua is a little more advanced than Scratch and other visual programming languages. It is a great option for kids who want to kick start their programming careers after having gained the basic knowledge of coding.

Kids nowadays are more interested in video games than anything else and Lua can help cater to that interest by giving kids a platform to program games. Lua is also a highly demanded computer language, which means an abundant availability of jobs down the road. 

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