Making Little Code Monkeys

Technology is all around us and it is integrated into everything we use now. From the cars we drive, to even the refrigerators in our kitchen, knowing how to not only use technology but program this technology is knowledge the next generation will have to have to succeed and advance in the modern workforce. As parents, we almost always want to make sure we are prepping our kids as well as we can to succeed, but how do you do that, when its a subject you have no experience in? Or, sometimes worse yet, you are a programmer, but you are hitting the barrier that 10-year-olds just aren’t wanting to do the oldie but goodie, Hello World anymore? Well, luckily, I am here to lend a helping hand, er um, link.

Introducing kids to programming doesn’t have to be a frustrating experience, nor does it have to be daunting. Nowadays, there are so many free, online resources to teach programming skills, even parents who have no idea the difference between Java and Javascript can sit down and help their kids navigate these sites. Now don’t be fooled. These sites disguise these things like games, and on the surface, you are going to be asking if its really doing anything, as in the beginning, your child won’t be touching a line of code. And let me assure you, it is worth it, and these sites will not only teach programming concepts, but they will also help teach problem-solving skills and critical thinking skills that your child will use in everyday life, no matter what career they choose.

See, the beauty of programming is the language itself isn’t what is important. Thinking like a programmer and being able to “sudo” code, is the basic building blocks of all languages. So as your child complete these games and advance in the levels, they are building that basic foundation of problem solving, and at some point, when they actually want to write lines of code, they will have the ability to know WHAT they want to do, they just have to look up the language they want to do it in so they now HOW to do it.

And we aren’t talking middle school here. Some of these games are designed for Kindergarten and up. My 2nd grader has now been coding for over a year and my 5th grader makes basic apps for her phone now. And this is important, especially for girls! Studies show that if girls do not have an active interest in technology and other STEM related fields by middle school, there is a very small chance they will pursue these careers later. That is because tech and building is introduced to boys at a very young age and encouraged naturally, while in girls, parents have to actively want to go out and find these tools and toys for girls. So by middle school, most children already have and good idea in their interest and hobbies.

So what are these sites? Well, I have a list of them here on my site that you can look through. Have your kid play with some and find the ones that you like best. almost all are completely free, while others may offer courses or paths that you can buy if your child shows a strong interest in it. And one other thing. Try to let them do this on a real computer. As strange as it sounds, most kids today have no idea how to work an actual computer. Because most kids technology use is from either a tablet or a phone, none have no idea how to even turn a computer on. From using a mouse, opening a web browser, or even just knowing how to type, these skills are not prevalent anymore, and if you don’t have a computer at home, there are many places, including the public library, can use a computer for free.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *