What is the best way to teach programming to kids?
Programming as a subject is still not introduced in many schools but there is already a rise in the number of school kids who wish to explore what programming is. It is a field that everyone hears about, but not everyone knows what programming actually is.
As for people who know what programming is, also know that it has to be syntactically perfect. Even a missing ‘; ‘ gives an error. The hype is not about elders learning to program. It is about children learning to program. For children, it will be really difficult to correct the syntax, to debug the program and so on. So then how is there a rise in the number of children learning to program? I will tell you the ways in which this complexity can be reduced so that children can also learn to program.
Before we begin with the ways to teach programming to children let me first tell you what programming is. Another word used for programming is ‘coding’.
CODING: giving instructions to the computer in a language that the computer understands. Now to elaborate this definition for you, a computer does not understand any human language like Hindi, English, Marathi, Spanish, etc. computer has its own set of languages like Java, Python, C++ etc. now to instruct the computer, we have to learn these languages. This is what the meaning of coding is.
The best way to teach programming to kids:
1) Introduce to them what coding means. They should know what this new term is all about.
2) Kids will better understand and be interested when they are given interesting examples. Like you can show them games, and tell them it is created using coding. You can open a few apps and show them that apps are also created using coding. Explain to them what an app is. The app is something that is created to serve a purpose. Explain the purpose of a few apps to them.
3) Introduce them to block-based coding. Since it is not possible for children to write correct syntax now, you have to first show them the logic behind coding. They will feel too heavy if told to write codes. Coding should be introduced to them in a fun and interactive way. Like creating small games using coding, designing of apps and playing around with codes.
4) Use scratch: for younger children, you can use the scratch platform. It has a lot of commands. The best part is that you can demonstrate the use of each command. Because if you just say the children might not understand what is going to happen. But if you try to show a basic example i.e. when the flag is clicked and I want the cat to move 0 steps forward, how do I do it? Write the code, run it and show it. Then let the kid do the same thing. Show him different commands, let him explore on his own.
5) Use Python for older kids: kids who are older will find scratch too easy. You can explain python to them. Python has a very simple syntax.
6) Code.org: this is yet another lovely platform to teach coding to kids. It has a very simple toolbox that has all the commands. You can create something basic out of it and run and show what it can do.
7) Codecademy: it is also a free platform for older children. It introduces text-based coding.
8) Explain the basic concepts: you will have to show them the concepts of coding like loops, conditionals, variables, nested loops, etc.
9) You can also introduce them to artificial intelligence and robotics by giving simple examples like how it is different to give instruction to a human and a robot.
Coding is a new era. Children who do coding at an earlier stage develop better logic thinking. And it so interesting to do it, that they start learning things on their own once you introduce them to a platform. Coding is the new thing! Start teaching your kids coding today. In case if you do not know to code, get in touch with Multibhashi.
Multibhashi not only teaches languages but also has a coding platform. You can contact them and get your kids enrolled today for coding classes. Since vacations are around the corner, utilising their free time in something they would readily do would be a cherry on the cake.