Coding for kids is how we teach kids about coding and programming. In kid-friendly terms, coding is using a set of instructions to communicate with computers. There are different coding languages, and they all have different rules and uses, but they all give computers instructions on how to do specific tasks.
Learn about programming and coding for kids:
- What is coding and why is it important for kids?
- How do you explain coding to a child?
- What is a coding class?
- How to Choose the Right Coding Classes for Kids
- The Best Coding for Kids Resources
- Get Started with Coding for Kids!
Technology is a part of everyday life for most kids and teens. So, understanding code allows kids to go past just knowing how to use technology. It lets them create and invent technology. Learning about coding builds their computational skills, analytical thinking, and even their confidence. For kids, it’s the difference between knowing how to navigate a website or play a game and building a website or game on their own.
What is coding and why is it important for kids?
Learning to code is like learning a new language. Young kids can learn languages faster and easier than adults because their developing brains are made for learning. As a result, childhood is a great time to start learning computational thinking. Coding for kids helps them develop skills that will not only benefit them in school but also help them stand out from the crowd in the job market.
Did you know? Half of the highest-paying jobs in America require some coding knowledge.
Not only that, but the demand for programming skills continues to grow. According to the latest STEM statistics, in 10 years it’s estimated that there will be 1.4 million programming jobs available, but there are currently only 400,000 candidates with the right qualifications to fill those positions. This means that there’s a huge supply gap for people with these skills. Despite this, only 1 in 10 schools currently teaches any programming, meaning it’s up to parents to make sure their children have access to the learning resources they need to develop these skills.
Aside from job prospects, kids can learn important life skills through coding, such as problem solving, critical thinking, perseverance, communication, and creativity.
Problem Solving – at the core of programming is solving problems. These problems will become more difficult as they advance, but being able to solve those problems will help them in many areas of life.
Critical Thinking – being able to produce a program with very little input takes a fair amount of critical thinking skills. Kids have to examine the information presented and make judgements that can affect the output.
Perseverance – programmers are often met with difficult challenges when coding a program, especially when it comes to debugging code errors. Having perseverance means being able to keep moving towards the end goal, even when the path is difficult.
Communication – clear communication is required for programmers to give directions to computers. Understanding how to communicate in programming languages can give kids clarity in their speech and writing as well.
Creativity – learning to code can give kids a big boost to their creativity. Coding is an art that starts with a blank screen and based on the programmer’s creativity, can develop into games, apps, and programs that change the world.
Not convinced yet? See our full list of 26 Reasons Why Kids Should Learn to Code.
How do you explain coding to a child?
There’s a lot you can do as a parent to introduce your child to coding and get them started learning the basics even if you don’t have professional experience as a programmer. Below are some simple tips. You can go even further depending on your particular skill level with coding.
Tip 1 – Introduce Coding Concepts to Kids
Introduce your child to the concept of coding. Some kids might already be familiar with coding and know a little about what it means. Others might have no idea what it involves, or they might think it’s something that’s too complicated for them to understand. Talking to kids about how coding is just a set of instructions for a computer can help make it something that’s understandable to them. Make sure to emphasize that kids just like them are learning to code too.
Tip 2 – Explain How Coding Connects to the Real World
Connect coding to things that interest your kids. Some kids will jump at the opportunity to learn how to make a computer do what they want it to do, but some kids will need help connecting code to their daily lives.
Does your child love watching videos on YouTube? Talk to them about how coding can teach them how to make their own website to share their favorite videos. For kids who love to play video games, coding is a natural way for them to progress to making their own games. Budding entrepreneurs can use these skills to build an app or website for their business ideas.
The possibilities are endless for what kids can do with their coding skills once they learn the fundamentals.
Tip 3 – Learn Coding Basics with Block-Based Programming
Use block-based coding languages to introduce the basics. As mentioned earlier, block-based coding languages are easy for beginners and a great place to start for kids. Scratch is the most commonly used block-based coding language and is free to use.
Thousands of games exist on Scratch already, so you can show kids the possibilities of what they can create before diving into building a game themselves. Remixing a current game is also a great option, so kids can see exactly how a game was built and then turn it into something new.
Tip 4 – Study Common Coding Terms for Kids
Introduce some common coding terms. Knowing some key terms and what they mean is a great way to set your kids up for success as they continue learning new skills. There are dozens of different terms used in programming, but here are some good ones to start with.
Variable: For kids, compare this to a container or a box. In coding, a variable stores a particular set of information. Once you give the variable a name, you can use that name to reference that information or change it.
Loop: This is a type of shortcut in programs that lets you repeat a block of code multiple times without having to write it all out every time. It’s up to you to decide what the condition is that makes the loop end.
Conditional statement: This is what helps computers make a decision. Using if, else if, and else statements, you tell the computer what to do under different circumstances. For example, you could tell the computer to display one sentence if the user responds “yes” to a question and to display a different sentence if the user responds “no.”
Function: This is another type of shortcut in programs, which lets you perform a series of actions instead of writing out the code for all of the actions individually.
Bug: Something every coder has to deal with! Bugs are errors within your code that need to be fixed before the code can run correctly.
Introduce more coding terms with our 200+ Common Programming Terms for Kids, complete with a free flashcard download.
Depending on your skill level, now might be the time to consider bringing in some expert help to progress your child’s coding journey.
What is a coding class?
A coding class is a way for kids to learn coding with the help of an instructor. Some schools offer coding classes as part of their curriculum. However, if your school doesn’t, there are plenty of class options to help your child learn coding and computer science.
Coding classes can be held in person, online, or sometimes as a video course. There are also group classes or private tutoring. Classes can focus on programming principles or specific languages and platforms.
CodeWizardsHQ’s online coding classes for kids are live and teachers make class fun and engaging. The small group sessions are ideal for kids to have fun and learn together. It’s a structured curriculum that allows kids to build on their skills with every class.
How to Choose the Right Coding Classes for Kids
With the myriad of options available to parents these days, it can be difficult to determine which coding program is right for your kid. This decision can be even more daunting for parents that don’t have a background in computer science. Fortunately, there are several key indicators that you can use to judge the quality of a program and help choose the best option for your child.
Use these indicators to determine what program provides the most value for you and your child. For more insights and tips from industry experts, see our full resource guide Choose the Right Coding Class for Your Kid.
The Best Coding for Kids Resources
Find helpful resources about coding for kids on our blog. Get your child started with programming and learning to code.
- 35+ Free Coding for Kids Resources
- Coding Games for Kids
- Coding Apps for Kids
- How to Code a Game
- HTML for Kids: Learn Basic HTML Coding
- Scratch Coding
- Why Your Kids Should Learn Coding
What Age Should Kids Start Learning to Code?
Kids can start learning the basics of coding as early as first grade. With students this young, the best strategy is to start with directional coding activities that use arrows or symbols to illustrate the very basics of coding. There are plenty of screen-free resources and toys you can use to start.
In third grade, kids can start learning more about computational thinking with simple algorithms and loops. Elementary school-aged kids are more open to new concepts and beginning the discussion around coding at an early age makes it more natural for them to learn more advanced concepts as they get older.
Recommended: Free & Paid Coding Websites for Kids
What’s the Best Language to Start Coding for Kids?
Block programming languages like Scratch and Blockly are great introductions to coding for kids in grades 3-5. The block interface makes it easy for kids to learn the fundamental concepts without getting frustrated over typing skills. Block programming also simplifies the process of making animations, games, and other interactive features so kids can easily create a fully functioning game or interactive page.
Python is the next best step after Scratch, this text-based language is a great way to introduce the concepts of lists, tuples, and maps in a way that is easy for kids to understand. Python code is similar to English, which makes it less complicated for kids to learn as well. Python is also a great jumping off point for other coding languages. Python itself has been around for a long time and is still used by professional developers today, both Instagram and Facebook were built with Python.
Discover other great beginner languages for your child in our 10 Best Kids Coding Languages.
Get Started with Coding for Kids!
Coding is a fun and educational activity that can help kids in the future. The best part is that any child can learn to code with the right support and motivation. If your child is interested in technology and how computers work, help them take the next step. Learn how to code with the experts at CodeWizardsHQ.
We offer the most fun and effective live, online coding classes for kids. A structured curriculum means kids advance in skills with each course. Get started based on your child’s age: