Many parents ask me, how they can encourage their child to code. Earlier I used to struggle to give a definite answer because it depends on many factors like child’s age, parents education, availability of computer at home. Also I had to choose among huge list of programming languages.
As a software engineer, I have worked on several programming languages. But I first learnt programming at the age of 17. I always wondered, if I had learnt it earlier, whether I would have achieved more success in my work?
When I studied child psychology, all research pointed that children can learn everything from early age provided they get good resources and teachers.
So I did a small experiment.
When my son was 6, I made him sit on my lap and try Java coding. To my wonder, he not only showed interest but also understood coding concepts. I was worried that he might get irritated due to ‘syntax’ mistakes, but NO. He liked it. This we did only in his summer holidays. When school started he stopped coding (I didn’t allow him to use computer). Soon he forgot coding. Or so I thought.
In grade 4, he started to learn basics of coding in his school. He was excellent in computer lab and got praises from his teacher. I believe comfort and excitement he got when he first started coding, remained in his heart.
Your child can code too.
It is OK, if your child is young. Mental ability is different than physical. Provide resources to the child and observe. If child doesn’t show interest, try again after some time. Never force.
It is OK, if parents don’t know coding. You can learn with your child!
If you search, ‘Coding for Children’ on Internet, you will be overwhelmed with the number of choices you get.
So I am going to make it easy.
Here is how you can get your child into coding.
Supported in Windows, Linus, Mac OS X
Robomind is specially designed for technology education. It uses small set of rules (ex: Move 6 steps) to develop games. It is highly entertaining and simple. It is also good for children who are yet to develop the concentration that programming demands. Ideal for young kids. Download Robomind.
My son used it in early age and he has developed many challenge games in it.
This is developed by MIT media lab. Using this, children can program their own animated stories, games and animations. For some reason my son didn’t like this but Scratch allows children to showcase their work in safe environment. Create your first project in Scratch.
I introduced Java to my son through this website (At age 6). Code Monster in Crunchzilla is for young children and is highly engaging. Instructions are clear and helps to visualize the code.
Since it demands correct syntax, it may be challenging for some children. Sit with your child few times (it’s OK even if you don’t know coding).
Warning : If you are learning with your child, remember children learn faster than adults. My son often corrects me when I learn with him :-(. He makes me grounded :-).
Don’t forget to like, comment and share this post.
Start coding now.