The age-old saying goes “practice makes perfect,” and we’re used to applying that wisdom to learning musical instruments, playing sports, learning math facts, etc. You already know the reasons kids really need to learn code, but did you know practice is important for learning how to code, too? Whether your child is taking a little time off from coding classes over the summer or is just waiting for their next CodeWizardsHQ class to start, practicing the skills they’ve learned is an important part of their coding journey.
Why Practice Is Important
At its most basic level, learning to code has a lot in common with learning a foreign language. Every programming language has its own syntax – rules that must be followed to write code that will run correctly. Just like with a foreign language, if you don’t practice these syntax rules, over time you’ll start to forget them.
Practice also helps lead to mastery. CodeWizardsHQ classes teach your child coding skills, but the more they practice these skills, the better they’ll understand them. Practice is the difference between having a basic understanding of a coding function and mastering it. Mastering coding skills leads to fewer errors, quicker completion of projects, and more time to learn more advanced skills.
Especially if your child is taking an extended break before their next CodeWizardsHQ class, practicing what they’ve already learned will make them better prepared for when they do take their next class. Less time needed to review old topics means more time to learn more new skills!
The benefits of practice are pretty easy to understand, but what exactly should your student do to practice their coding skills?
Update Completed Projects
One of the easiest ways your student can practice coding is by adding on to projects they’ve already done in class or for homework. One option is to go back to an early project and add elements that they learned in later classes. It’s a great confidence boost for kids to see how much they can do now versus when they first completed the project.
Adding additional customization is another fun way to practice with already completed projects. Maybe they want to change all the sprites in their Scratch animation or add new music. Or they can change out colors or photos on a website they created.
A twist on this for students in our elementary program is to remix Scratch projects made by other people. This is a built-in feature to Scratch, which allows users to copy an existing project and change it however they want. It’s a great way for students to practice what they learned in Scratch with something new, but without having to build an entirely new project.
Follow a Tutorial
Tutorials are a fun way to practice coding skills in a more guided way. It’s a step above adding to already finished projects, but offers the support of instructions along the way. To prevent frustration, it’s important to find tutorials that aren’t too advanced for your student. However, this is a great opportunity for students to stretch their skills, so they shouldn’t be afraid to try a tutorial that is a little unfamiliar.
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Create Something Brand New
The ultimate challenge for new coders is to build something totally from scratch. Even elementary students who are just starting out can try their hand at building an animation or simple game in Scratch by themselves.
The first time creating a project on their own is always going to be challenging, so as a parent it’s important to encourage them to keep going when they hit roadblocks. They’re guaranteed to run into issues they aren’t expecting, but finding the solutions is the best coding practice they can get.
Still Time for Coding Classes This Summer
If your child is itching to get back to coding classes before school starts in the fall, there’s still time to enroll in our August courses. There are limited openings still available in all of our accelerated classes, which go through an entire CodeWizardsHQ course in 3 weeks.
Or you can choose one of our summer camps. Kids ages 8-10 can learn how to build their own Roblox game in Intro to Roblox Game Development and students ages 11-18 can learn how to make custom items in Minecraft with Intro to Redstone Logic in Minecraft.