National Coding Week takes place every September, and it isn’t only for computer geeks. Coding is simply another way of saying ‘programming or developing’ and at Learning Resources we know that children as young as four can grasp complex coding concepts. Experts recommend that as with learning a new language, the earlier children start, the better. In other words, there’s no better time to begin than today.
Not every child who learns to code will go on to become a software engineer, but don’t let that stop you from introducing your little learner to coding because the benefits go far beyond the obvious. Education experts note that a major benefit kids gain through learning to code is how to break a big task into smaller, more manageable steps – a vital skill for school life and beyond.
Introducing the abstract concepts of coding through play and coding toys is the easiest way to spark an interest. When that happens, here’s how it shapes their curious minds…
- If I do this, then that happens: It teaches what is known as if-then thinking. By encouraging children to think about what they want to achieve and how actions result in reactions, they learn to break goals down into small, manageable steps.
- I’ll keep trying: Experts predict that of all the skills today’s children are likely to need when they enter the working world, persistence, resilience and agility top the lists. However, as parents and educators note, these are difficult to teach. Learning about coding through play is a great way of helping children develop these traits naturally.
- Look what I can create! Putting kids in control of their decisions boosts their confidence. Allowing them to make the small decisions that add up to a big action encourages independent thinking. When “I think I can,” becomes “Look what I did!” the feeling of achievement is empowering even from a young age.
- What happens if? Creativity isn’t solely expressed through the arts. Rather, creativity is a way of coming up with original ideas, and coding offers a great way to express it. Learning to code can spark curiosity and encourage experimentation. It also teaches children the value of learning through mistakes when things don’t go according to plan.
- That was easy! Coding can be easy and it isn’t just for older kids and grown-ups. Even young children can learn the basics. From our Coding Critters™ series aimed at ages four and up, to best-selling Botley® the Coding Robot which children five and older can programme to do 80 steps in one sequence, to Artie 3000™, the award-winning drawing robot aimed at children aged seven and up, we help fuel the natural curiosity of little minds.
Find out more:
The Science Museum in London offers fascinating exhibits on coding covering everything from mathematics, the UK’s code-breaking history, to cyber security. Entry is free and offers an ideal opportunity to see real-world examples of the world of coding. Or look out for activities in your area by connecting with parenting or kids coding groups on social media. We have some great ideas on how to teach coding without reaching for a screen.