Children programming

Coding Can Be Fun

When we think of coding we often think of ones and zeros and command lines and writing boring programs, but learning to code, especially for kids, can be a blast.

Today there are a lot of really fun options to teach kids coding.  In this article, I am going to talk about two of them.  Over the last few years I have had experience with two amazing products that teach kids coding and technology in general.

The first is a programming language called Scratch.  Scratch was created by MIT as a way to teach children programming skills.  It is incredibly simple and uses colorful blocks to create programs.  Kids drag these blocks onto a scripting area where they snapped together.  The program works with graphics called sprites to bring them to life.  Kids pick it up almost immediately and are engaged at length.  It might take you several tries to get kids using Scratch to come to dinner.  Working in connection with some basic programming principles the children can write sophisticated games, automate greeting cards, and do whatever their creative minds can dream up.

The second option to teach kids coding is a product created by Lego called Mindstorms. It is a real robot that kids build using legos and control using a program they create. It uses a block language similar to Scratch. These blocks are snapped together to move the robot through a course. The program also controls the sensors and motors you include in your robot that can sense color, distance, and shape, and move legs, arms, head, etc. This robot may seem like a toy, but is a fully function robot that teaches kids about technology, robotics, and programming.

There are many other tools and software that can be used to teach kids to code.  These are just two of the many.  The important thing to remember when it comes to teaching kids technology is to keep it fun and hands-on.  Kids especially want to quickly see success in whatever they are learning.  Scratch and Mindstorms allow kids an exciting learning experience.

This article is written by Troy Tuckett, author of the Kids Coding Workbooks.