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6 Tips for Teaching Kids to Code

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6 Tips for Teaching Kids to Code


1. Use Scratch for younger kids, Python for older kids.

MIT's Scratch is a free programming tool made for kids that runs in any modern web browser. Its visual style was influenced by the Logo program, which was a staple of programming classrooms for children in the 80s and 90s. But Scratch is much more than a knockoff of another logo. Kids ages 8 to 13 will benefit from Scratch's simple graphical interface. Scratch's drag-and-drop code comes together. Pieces of code that don't make computational sense won't fit together, making syntax errors literally impossible. Scratch is great for young children who haven't developed typing skills.


2. Coding teaches kids to solve problems

As a discipline, coding is full of challenges. Coding requires kids to look at problems from multiple angles and come up with possible solutions. Developing problem solving skills at an early age can provide a strong foundation for meeting the challenges of daily life.


3. Show source code for actual programs. Don't just talk concepts at them.

Despite its intellectual reputation, programming is a hands-on skill that requires practice, more than just reading books. Python's interactive shell encourages experimentation to find out what instructions do.

If you are directly teaching your kids, then writing code goes a long way than just talking them through concepts. Even after learning about variables, loops, and functions, it can be intimidating to sit down in front of a blank editor and start a new program. Sit down with them and describe the code that they should write line by line.


4. Coding teaches kids resilience

When kids develop a fixed mindset, they want to give up when things go wrong. Things often go wrong in coding, so that can help kids deal with setbacks. They'll learn how to come up with another solution and move on.This persistence teaches children that even small setbacks should not stop your progress. Instead, they are opportunities to solve problems in creative ways and develop a growth mindset.


5. Keep your hands off the keyboard and mouse.

Sharing knowledge is exciting. It's great to show someone what you know about programming. But coding is a skill best learned with hands-on practice, so let the kids drive. When working with children, avoid jumping up to type on the keyboard, even temporarily. If they need to click on a menu or button, point at the screen with your finger instead of picking up the mouse and clicking yourself.Whenever there is a code to type in, ask them to type it in. It may be faster if you do it yourself, but your pupil needs more practice than you.


6. Coding can teach entrepreneurship and teamwork.

Programming allows people to create their own websites, apps and games. Coding apps like Hopscotch allow kids to pay each other with virtual coins to use each other's games. Many coding platforms also include collaboration tools, which connect kids with each other so they can program together.


6 Tips for Teaching Kids to Code