Coding for Kids – What Parents and Teachers Should Know

Coding for kids is included in many school curricula around the world. It was initially thought of as a nice additional skill to learn. Over time, coding has progressed to be a core area in many institutions focusing on STEM. There are several reasons to teach coding and why it has grown in popularity.

8 Reasons Your Child Should Learn How to Code

Let us start with the reasons why your child should learn to code. At the end of this article, we will talk about why Java is a great programming language to learn for kids.

1. The younger, the better

Coding was seen as a skill that young adults were taught. This perception came about because it seemed difficult to learn coding. We must remember that this was before there were so many coding apps and platforms available. Today there are programming languages that cater to all ages, but most of the online courses are for kids ages 5 and older.

kid coding at desk

Students who learn to code at a young age have an advantage over many of their peers. The benefits of learning to code at a young age are noticeable in other subject areas, which can be unrelated to learning computer science. Many educators agree that coding for kids must start at a young age. Kids as young as 7 years old can learn to code, but you will find many coding apps, platforms, a coding game, and coding courses for ages 5 and some even younger. There are even those who say the younger, the better. At Khan Academy, kids from two-year-old can already learn basic coding.

2. Learning to code colors, patterns, and coding languages

Coding for kids is much more than learn to code in a new language to program objects and applications to do what you want them to do. In the case of coding for kids, many programming platforms have processes that stimulate color and shape recognition and pattern recognition.

Some coding courses use different colored shapes to symbolize certain types of commands. Sometimes the shape includes words and phrases about what they do in the coding structure. This is an excellent way of teaching children different shapes and colors, and programming languages, at the same time.

Besides shape and color, the structure of the bit of computer coding consists of shapes which have to interlock to complete a set of commands. Children need to have to ability to recognize how these pieces are put together. This is a great way of teaching kids to code pattern recognition.

Have a look at the world around us. Everywhere we look, we find different shades of color and patterns. When we consider this, the importance of being able to recognize shape and color is emphasized.

3. Problem Solving

All subjects at school have some content that involves problem-solving. Young children are required to think independently and have the ability to solve complex problems. Those who are unable to learn this skill often have difficulty to perform to their full potential at school.

Solving difficult problems can be learned and will be beneficial long after a student graduates from college. Wherever we look at adult life, there are always situations where we must provide a solution to one or another situation. This brings us back to the previous section about starting early.

Coding for kids is perfect for children to learn a skill that will assist them in all aspects of their lives. Solving problems is part of life inside and out of the school environment. Simple things such as tying a shoelace, playing dodge ball or crossing the road involve some problem-solving. Let us give them that edge and get our kids coding.

4. Breaking Complex Tasks into Manageable Chunks

Computer programming is an excellent environment where we can break down complex tasks into small bits of information. Any application or program has an end goal it needs to achieve. The code or structure of the application can seem complex when we look at it as a whole.

codes on screen

Computer programming or coding for kids is divided into small bits of information. Each piece has its function or purpose. This is where the term modular programming also comes from. Collectively each model works together to achieve the end goal of the application.

Environments that are available to teaching coding to kids are built the same way. Children start off and learn to code several small coding tasks. With time new ones are added. Projects or topics are constructed so that several small tasks are related to a larger end goal. This approach teaches the young ones about how things work together to achieve something greater.

Coding for kids is beneficial in that it allows young learners to work on small bits of code at a time. They can see how each function is put together and what it does. This is achieved by coding computer images or robots to perform a basic move as an example. In the environment, they can see how the object reacts to each command. The major benefit is when all of these individual commands are bit together.

Kids are taught how to break up a complicated problem into smaller bits, easier to work with and understand. This can be used to find solutions to other complex issues outside the scope of coding for kids.

5. Logical Thinking

Coding for kids is a good way of teaching young people how to do things logically. This will set them up for life as our world is organized, and there are systems and protocols for everything. The advantage is that with coding, kids can enhance this ability in an easy to use, exciting environment.

Logical thinkers excel in most subject areas at school. They have the edge in analytical subjects such as mathematics and computer science and beyond. It makes sense to get children involved with coding languages as soon as possible. If they master the craft of thinking logically, these youngsters will also have the edge on many of their age-related peers.

When kids learn to code, they see how smaller bits of code work together to achieve a larger goal. It does not end here. Kids learn the importance of the order in which these commands must occur. This is the foundation on which computational thinking is built.

People often know the steps required to do something. Consider driving a car. You might know a brake, a clutch, a starter, steering wheel, keys, etc. Does this teach you to dive? Not!! The sequence of when each device is deployed is necessary to drive successfully.

Logical thinking is the same kind of thing.

6. Instant Gratification

We all agree that many children are seen as visual learners today. Also, children, like the rest of the community, want to have solutions to things immediately. That is why we are in a world where instant gratification is core to the lives of many. Coding for kids is taught by encompassing both of these principles.

Children use coding to pass commands to computer graphics or robots. This approach is excellent in that the effects of the command is seen immediately in the way the object responds. We have visual learning in action.

coding beebot

When the programmed object does not do what the kid intended, the command can be rewritten and tested immediately. Once the object responds in the predicted way, the student visualizes this immediately. This is a beautiful way of incorporating visual learning and instant gratification.

7. Developing Creative Minds

Education should not only look at academic development but should look at developing every child as a complete individual. This includes interventions focused on the child’s creativity. It seems unreal, but coding for kids includes activities that simulate that part of the brain.

Sometimes children are given a static robot or computer-generated image to start with learning to code. They need to decide how to evoke responses from the object being programmed. Besides the coding for kids structure, these youngsters have an opportunity to develop a sequence of commands to interact with the object.

Children need to be creative while coding. Regular practice on the workbench enhances the creative abilities of each child that practices coding. A creative mind adds another dimension to total development. A well-rounded kid is better equipped to deal with challenges both in and out of the schooling environment.

8. Endurance

Nothing worth achieving comes easy. Practically hard work often results in great rewards. This is a good practice and outlook to learn to code in early in life. Coding is an extremely good teacher in this regard.

When children program their objects, the goal is to get the object to respond to the given commands correctly. Where this is not the case, a bad command structure is often the culprit. Children have to revisit their code until they achieved the desired results.

Why Java Is a Great Programming Language for Kids

Coding for kids has established itself as an essential subject for young learners. Many computer programming platforms such as Khan Academy offer online courses with a particular focus on kids. Both teachers and parents have access to all coding classes for free. Their numerous elements of color and shape in these platforms make them an attractive environment for younger enthusiasts. Java is a bit different but has also grown in popularity as a coding environment.

Some kids do better with visual programming environments. Visual programming allows kids to manipulate elements graphically. With Java, kids create and change them in text. The Java programming environment does not have all of the colors and shapes found in some development platforms. People in this environment use text and strict structure to code. Yet, there is an exponential growth in popularity amongst kids. Java programming has many advantages to visual programming and has many applications that kids can relate to.

Java Is a Popular Coding Language

Programmers know many coding languages, but the coding language Java has grown in popularity since its introduction as a development platform. The influences of this programming language are visible all around us. Because of the number of different environments utilizing this language, Java coders are always in demand.

Many popular games used in the educational space and large parts of websites include Java. Even social media platforms such as Twitter use Java. This list seems never-ending. Java is everywhere.

Learning to code in Java is a great start to get kids motivated. Java is tightly associated with so many things kids interact with every day. Students are more motivated to learn about things they can see in action. This makes Java so popular for kids.

Kids Learn the Way Things Work

The modern child has a natural affiliation for everything that has something to do with technology. We often ask our kids for assistance navigating a mobile device. This type of thing comes naturally to them.

Many parts of the Android operating system have been created with Java. When kids learn to code in Java, it also allows them to learn how mobile software works. It is an excellent way of feeding their inquisitive minds, a natural tendency amongst many young students.

Kids Create their Apps

kid coding app

Kids love playing with apps that run on mobile devices or in web browsers. Many kids are unaware that a considerable number of the programs are entirely in Java. Students empower themselves with tools that will allow them to create their applications.

Java opens up a whole new world of self-discovery for kids. It is a beautiful platform they can use to create products for the web and mobile devices. The effect of making their piece of software is amazing on such young minds.

It is a good way of building a sense of achievement. Kids are taught that nothing in this world is impossible. It takes some dedication and commitment.

Besides all, there are many reasons why a child should learn to code. Coding for kids also provides skills that teach kids about financial matters. They can earn pocket money by selling the apps they create. By teaching kids to code in Java at a young age, we could be molding future entrepreneurs.

Java for Gaming

Gaming is a popular past time for young and old. Many competitors from all over the world focus on online gaming tournaments staged by professional organizations. These games cater to all ages, and many use Java.

Some schools have included many of these games in the curriculums. Minecraft is such a famous example. Some versions of Minecraft allow users to customize the game design to introduce new features. Java enthusiasts can use this as a unique way to hone their game-based coding skills.

Minecraft app

Children can program full feature games with this development platform. Java is an excellent environment for allowing kids to develop a sense of achievement.

Logical Thinkers

Java is one of the most structured programming languages and has strict rules that a user must adhere to while kids learn to code. Each section of code is called a function that is written in a very logical way. Kids have a great platform to learn the importance of logic while they concentrate on creating their program.

Logic is a good skill to have. The power of this skill is not only restricted to Java programming but applies to other aspects of school life and beyond. Logical thinkers are also able to find solutions to complex problems much quicker than their peers.

Using Java to teach coding for kids assists us in developing logical thinkers for the future. This will have positive long term effects on their lives. They will be able to take up their positions in society as well as rounded individuals.

Tenacity

Most software developers agree that a successful programmer has to be tenacious. It is challenging to write a perfect piece of code the first time around. It takes hours of hard work. Java is an excellent environment for kids to practice and learn to code.

Coding for kids takes many hours of hard, repetitive work.  It includes hours of rechecking and refining to get a glitch-free piece of code. Java programmers have to display the same commitment and will to achieve.

Young Java programmers have to develop this trait early on if they want to be successful coders. Tenacity can be developed over time. You won’t lose it quickly once it becomes a part of life. The reward or achievement at the end is indescribable. Kids experience great joy when they see their creation in action on a web browser or mobile device.

Decision-making

Java code includes structures called loops, which can change the outcome or direction of a program depending on the type of input. There are different types of loops, and each influences the flow of the program differently.

We always have to make decisions in life. Children face those moments often and need to make decisions at home, school, or wherever they find themselves. They are also aware that bad decisions lead to undesirable outcomes.

The hours spend reworking loops and decisions in the code will teach the importance of making the correct decision. It teaches kids to be circumspect before making any decision.

Robotics

Many kids find robots fascinating and love watching them doing their business. Some middle schools include LEGO robotics kits into their lesson plans. Later, the students can transform this fantasy world into a reality when they start coding in Java. Game-based coding will allow them a sense of achievement when they witness their robot responding to the code they have written.

robotics coding

Many kids are visual learners and learn best when they see how things work in real-world situations. Programming simple robots using Java allows them to see if their program was put together correctly.

Self-confidence

There are many programming languages for kids, but Java is a great to start coding for kids from scratch and ending with a visible, workable product. It may be in the form of a game, application, or a programmed robot. The process dramatically impacts children if they see through the entire process from start to finish. A huge plus is that it boosts their self-confidence.

Confident kids can fend for themselves. Self-confidence is a crucial characteristic that will assist kids in all spheres of their schooling career. It provides them with skills that will help cope with complex situations. This trait will allow them to cope with situations in other subject areas as well.

Mathematics and Physics

Java is an excellent way of teaching kids basic math and computer science concepts. The teaching of these concepts can be included in the code when creating games or programming robots. This is one of the reasons why coding is a subject in many schools.

The beauty of teaching these subjects with Java programming is that it allows kids to visualize these concepts in action. As mentioned before, many children are visual learners, and robotic gives them a way of witnessing these concepts in action. Java programming of simple robots can teach kids many basic to advanced math and physics concepts.

Conclusion

Coding for kids is practiced in many schools and learning institutions across the globe. Educators realized the benefits of coding for kids and computer science at even a young age. As a result, many schools include coding as part of the curriculum from the junior school level. Khan Academy helps teachers to integrate coding into their curriculum with short online courses. Game-based coding tools keep the students focused and motivated.

Java is one of the most popular programming languages globally, and the results of their work are everywhere around us. The internet and mobile devices would not be in a position where they find themselves today. Having coding skills with Java is a great way for our kids to learn to code and be part of this technological transformation.

The ability to program will prepare kids in all facets of their schooling lives, and for their life after formal education.  It forms a great way of building a generation of individuals who can take up their place in a fast-paced, technological world.

When kids learn coding, they will start to think of their feet, achieve great heights, and provide solutions for others.



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