You know you want your kids to learn how to code. You know you want them to love coding and pursuing their interests through technology. But how do you begin the process of getting your students engaged in and excited about programming? In today’s post, we’ll cover five ways that facilitate student learning and support kids learning to code.
Learning to code for kids made simple
If your child is set on learning to code, we have five recommendations for you, listed below. Read through them to discover different ways to expose your student to coding, and a build a lifelong passion for learning.
- Many are free
- Flexibility of platform: some can be played online, others on tablet or phone
- Many are fun and engaging - they don’t “feel” like learning
- Not as comprehensive as actual lessons
- Can be frustrating if students are missing background knowledge
- Not much help if a student gets stuck
Best place to get started: Check out our blog post on Free Coding Games for more information.
Your quickest path to getting your kids coding is through classes. Classes may be taken online or in person, and aim to ramp students up in a language, typically to the point where they can begin to build their own projects. It’s the best way to get your student coding quickly, and ensures that students are exposed to all the most important coding concepts. At Create & Learn, we offer individualized, live online classes that support student learning in a plethora of coding and computer science-related topics. We work on real projects and help students explore their other interests through code.
- Direct instruction on critical concepts
- Feedback on student progress
- A clear learning path that ensures skills build
- Not typically free
- More time-intensive than other methods
Best place to get started: Sign up for a free coding class with Create & Learn today!
3. Coding Camps
For a truly immersive experience, consider signing up for a coding camp. Typically held during the summer months or during school breaks, coding camps allow students to do a deep dive into coding topics, work with peers, and learn programming in a fast-paced, but judgment-free class. Camps like Create & Learn's Summer Camps, Kode with Klossy or Girls Who Code are focused on getting students historically underrepresented excited about STEM, and there are many other options open to all students.
- Lots of experience
- Tends to be a supportive environment
- Lots of time
- May not be available in all areas
Best place to get started: Because they are so region-specific, you’ll need to hunt a little for an offline coding camp near you - Google search “Coding Camps for Kids” to find one that is close. Create & Learn offers award-winning live online camps in 35+ computer science topics from design to robotics and AI (even ChatGPT). And there's no risk in trying with a free intro session!
4. Try Code.org
Code.org is a great place to get your coding feet wet. The site was designed to help bring students of all backgrounds into the STEM fields, and make coding fun and interesting. There are tons of projects and games that can be customized or used as starter templates for your student’s own projects. Additionally, code.org hosts Hour of Code, which aims to provide bite-sized, engaging, project-based lessons for students of all ages.
- Many well-tested one-hour projects
- Explore lots of different languages
- Some projects aren’t beginner friendly
- Not much direct skills instruction
5. Get Competitive with Coding Contests!
For eager coders, programming competitions are a great way for your student to move to the next level. Students of all skill sets and ages can compete in in-person or online coding challenges and sometimes even win prizes. Code an app for the US Congress, try your hand at a number of fun puzzles at Code Chef, or even go international with your Scratch skills. For students who also love engineering, Robotics competitions also provide a great way for students to level up their coding skills.
- Exciting, fast-paced, and challenging
- Meet other like-minded students
- Not always as beginner friendly
- Not always offered year round.
Best place to get started: See 15 fun coding competitions to begin.
How to start learning to code for kids
You may still be wondering how to get your children hooked on coding. Specifically, many parents wonder about the best language for kids to choose. There are thousands of options, and some are more beginner friendly than others. Some common languages include:
- Scratch, a block-coding language that is especially geared towards elementary schoolers.
- Python, a text-based, beginner friendly language that is also used by professionals. This language is a great all purpose language and a solid place to start.
For new or young coders, we always recommend Scratch as a great place to get started. Its block-coding format removes the difficulties of learning syntax and focuses directly on key coding concepts. Check out some of our Scratch tutorials or sign up for a free Scratch class today!
Try learning to code for children!
Hopefully, you’re now feeling more comfortable about getting your child started on coding. At Create & Learn, we’re here to help you support your student as they begin their coding journey. Sign up for a free class today to see how we get kids excited about learning how to build their own games, apps, and more!
Written by Sarah Rappaport, who graduated from Northwestern University with undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering and music. She's now working on a masters in data with Georgia Institute of Technology. She taught math and computer science with Teach for America for two years, and now works as a Systems Engineer.