Programming is a creative activity that any child can do. Your child probably won't be interested in writing algorithms to process large amounts of data, but they will definitely want to create games, program music, design websites, or just play with software code.
Why teach children to program?
The list of reasons to teach children programming is quite long. The only thing is that you have to be ready to help your child go through difficulties at school because of an additional programming course. Sometimes, you will hear from them "can you write my paper for me?" which only means that your kid got so interested in programming, that they don't have time for other less interesting school assignments. Not only do young people learn about new technologies, but they also begin to understand them and use them for their own needs. However, this is only part of the benefits.
Teaching children to program is an increasingly strong trend around the world.
The experience of many countries shows that learning coding rules and programming languages give excellent results already in the case of very young children. Numerous foundations and companies also organize special programming courses for very young students. It should be emphasized that such actions, the purpose of which is to popularize coding skills, are not performed only to make more and more people work as a programmer in the future.
There are many arguments for learning to code. Here are some of them.
Programming teaches logical thinking
A popular saying goes that it's never too late to learn. Today we know very well that it is never too early either. Some programming basics can be successfully taught to children who are as young as 4 years old. It turns out that the younger the child, the faster they acquire new knowledge.
Of course, teaching methods and tools should be adapted to the age of the child. One of the most important benefits of acquiring coding skills is learning to think logically. Programming involves, among other things, the ability to analyze. Coding is not limited to writing instructions and functions. It is a process of considering many different aspects and predicting consequences when using specific solutions.
All of this accompanies a child while learning to program, teaching them to analyze different options, and teaching them how to conclude different conditions. Programming simply teaches thinking.
Programming supports creativity
Programming also teaches creativity by acquiring the skills to look for solutions. Children learn that a particular programming problem or task can be approached differently. They look for exciting ways that lead to a goal, and in doing so, they also have fun.
It should be remembered that in programming, it is as if a new building is being created, built from small elements of program code, characteristic of the chosen programming languages. This is a bit like building objects from a construction kit using blocks, which most children love.
Programming teaches problem-solving
Problem-solving is a key skill that is useful in everyone's life. Programming is a great way to develop this type of skill for people of all ages, especially children. Kids will learn commands that they can use to reach a certain goal. They will also learn how to break down a large complex problem into a few simple, less complex ones and therefore ones that can be solved more easily.
Through programming, children learn how to solve problems and analyze them and develop the habit of looking for better and more efficient solutions.
Programming helps you find yourself in the world of technology
Computers and modern digital technology surround us everywhere, accompanying people in almost all areas of life. This trend will remain relevant in the coming years. The modern individual must have the ability to find themselves in a world dominated by new technology, and the earlier they learn, the better.
Learning to program allows children to switch from passive consumers of digital solutions to conscious use. Learning the secrets of programming is also the ability to understand new technologies and discover their possibilities.
Teaching programming is an investment in a child's professional future
Of course, not every child learning to program is expected to become a professional programmer. For many children, it will just be play and activities that will effectively support their development. However, many of these children will discover a passion for programming and want to tie their careers to this occupation.
It should be emphasized that almost all highly developed countries suffer from a shortage of programmers. Teaching children to program means investing in their professional future as well as the opportunity to acquire new talent for the IT industry.
According to best writing services, programming is increasingly defined as the "language of the future," and employers may soon seek coding skills among the most sought-after. More and more countries, realizing this, are introducing programming classes in schools.
4 tips on how to start learning
There are plenty of books on the market with tips for aspiring programmers, but we know from experience that you as a parent don't need to be super skilled in IT or great at math. In fact, kids often learn to program faster than adults because they don't know that the process of writing programs is "really hard."
Whether you are a programmer or have no programming experience at all, here are tips to help you and your child get started with programming:
1. What language to start with?
If your child has already grown out of Scratch, for example, Python would be the best for further learning. By the way, Python goes well with Minecraft. A perfect combination of learning to program in a kid-friendly environment.
2. Work with the source code of the program
Despite its intellectual reputation, programming is a practical skill that requires much more than just reading the relevant book. The interactive Python shell encourages experimentation so that your child can see and understand what each instruction does.
If you want your child to learn how to program, let him or her write code. This will be more effective and interesting than just memorizing dry and seemingly meaningless concepts. Even after learning variables, loops, and functions, the sight of an empty editor and trying to start writing a new program is very intimidating. Sit with it and try to write lines of code.
If you use online resources to teach your child, look for source code in small games. Short programs are best for this purpose. The Scratch page automatically provides a source for all projects on its website. Ask your child to make changes to the code and see how they affect the final program.
3. Learn from games
Video game programming is a great starting point for many young programmers. Angry Birds, Minecraft, Flappy Bird, and other games are major sources of inspiration.
Important: warn your child that they will not be able to create such excellent programming and graphics projects when they start. Many games require the cooperation of programmers, artists, and designers. Developing a simple game is much better than starting and never completing a huge project.
4. Don't touch the keyboard and mouse
Sharing knowledge is great. Demonstrating what you know about programming is great. But programming is a skill that is learned through practice, so let the kids try to write the code themselves.
Avoid picking up the keyboard when working with children, even temporarily. If your child needs to click on a menu or button, point your finger to the right place on the screen, but don't press the key yourself. Whenever you need to enter a code, please ask your child to do it themselves. Of course, it will be faster if you do it yourself, but your student needs more practice than you do.
If you do not have enough skills or you have limited time, but you feel that your child should learn to program, take advantage of programming courses for children.