I’ll admit it. I didn’t know a lot about coding until recently. Like many teachers, I introduced my students to basic coding for kids, but I found out quickly that our kids can quickly become their own experts. Kids learn best by doing. From coding apps for kids to coding toys and even coding printables, there are so many ways to inspire coding brilliance in the classroom (and home)!
Coding for Kids – Innovative Ways to Inspire Coding Brilliance
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What is coding for kids?
Coding activities for kids help introduce the concept of computer programming to students of all ages. Coding for kids introduces students to computer science, technology and STEM. By using coding activities for kids, students can learn important problem solving skills, critical thinking skills and even basic programming logic.
Why is coding for kids important?
As the world becomes more and more technologically advanced, it’s critical that children have exposure to computers and technology early on in their lives. Coding for kids focuses on logic, problem solving, and critical thinking skills. In addition, it serves as an introduction to computer science for students. Kids should learn how computers work and how they can be used to solve problems. What a way to introduce students to STEM!
How to learn coding for kids
The easiest way for kids to learn how to code is just exploring and diving in! Introduce concepts to your students, then let them GO! Computer coding will be challenging for some students, so it’s a way to develop a growth mindset. Even with struggles, students continue to work to learn and find success. For many of my gifted students, coding projects are some of the most difficult critical thinking and problem-solving experiences they’ve had in school. This is a unique opportunity for them to engage in some productive struggle. Here are some ways to teach computer coding for kids.
Computer Coding Teaching Tips
Teaching coding for kids doesn’t have to be complicated. These tips will help your students be successful without overwhelming you!
Keep coding for kids simple.
Don’t overload them with too much information. The goal is to teach the basics and give them a fun way to learn. Use games and fun projects to keep your students engaged in learning. Make it as fun as possible! Start simple with block coding on websites like Scratch, then work your way up to more complicated text-based coding when your students are ready!
Share coding for kids’ successes!
Show your students what they did well and how proud you are of their accomplishments. This builds confidence and makes them want to do more. Let your students be creative! It’s important to let kids be creative when they code. Have a few guidelines, but don’t tell them exactly what to do. Let them share the games and projects they create with one another.
Binary Coding Activities
Binary code is a way of describing information using only two symbols. It’s the universal language of computers. Binary coding is often used by computer programmers to make their programs more efficient, by reducing the amount of computer memory they need to use.
Try some binary coding projects to help your learners get started with basic coding. These coding for kids activities don’t necessarily require technology. Students can write words in binary code. Grab the binary coding printables that teach your students the ASCII binary alphabet and basic numbers. They can develop their own secret messages, write their names, and more!
Coding Apps for Kids
There are so many coding apps for kids and coding websites and resources. The best part is that these resources are absolutely free and available to use in your home or classroom. Here are a few I’ve used with students.
Hour of Code/Code.org
What is Hour of Code?
Hour of Code is a global campaign through code.org to help students across the globe participate in one hour of computer science and computer programming. Hour of Code is usually in December, but you and your students can participate in Hour of Code activities on code.org all year long.
How do I get started with Hour of Code?
You can get started with Hour of Code by going to the code.org website and choosing from a variety of tutorials designed for different ages and levels of experience. Once you have chosen a tutorial, you and your students will be able to complete it in one hour or less.
Hour of Code is important because it helps to show students that computer science is not only for people who are looking for math or science careers. Anyone can learn to code, and it is a skill that is becoming increasingly important in our world.
What will students learn during Hour of Code?
During Hour of Code, your students learn the basics of computer programming including learning how to give instructions to a computer, designing a simple game, or animating a character. There are so many Hour of Code resources, so your students can keep learning after the hour!
Scratch offers introductory coding tutorials for people of all ages. The free MIT-based website aims to provide a fun and interactive way for people to learn about coding. Scratch also offers a variety of coding tutorials, quizzes, and games that teach the basics of coding. The website also provides a forum for users to ask questions and share their coding experiences.
The target audience of Scratch is people of all ages who are interested in learning about coding. The website offers a variety of tutorials, quizzes, and games that are suitable for beginners.
What are the best ways for kids to learn coding?
In addition to apps and websites, there are other ways for students to learn coding. I love using coding toys with my students and kids at home! There are coding toys for every level, and with the holidays coming, these are perfect to add to your shopping list!
Makey Makey Kits
The Makey Makey is a fun invention kit that allows kids to make their electronics interact with the real world. You can think of it like a Lego set but with wires and circuits instead of plastic bricks. The Makey Makey works with most computer programs, and the starter kit comes with a book of projects to try. You can also buy kits for specific types of projects, such as gaming, music, and art. This is a perfect intro to coding toys for upper elementary and middle school-aged students.
Raspberry Pi Computer Kits
The idea behind the Raspberry Pi is pretty simple: a small, inexpensive computer that kids can use to learn programming. You can also use it as a home media center or as a retro gaming machine. These mini computers are awesome for teaching beginning coding. The Raspberry Pi comes in different models, but the most popular is the Raspberry Pi 3. It has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built in, so it works with almost everything. There are also a ton of projects you can do with it: gaming, robotics, home automation, and much more.
Even More Coding for Kids Resources
Looking for more? Check out these options we have used and love!
Creation Crate is a subscription box program that uses a curriculum approach with each box building on the skills developed from the previous boxes.
Let’s Start Coding is a kit based program that offers a wide variety of quality coding kits that are bound to inspire a wide variety of learners.
Overall, coding for kids is an amazing way to encourage young minds. Learning how to code builds critical thinking skills and helps with problem-solving abilities. It also helps prepare students for the jobs of the future and provide valuable experiences that will serve them well in adulthood. As we continue to innovate with technology, offering coding experiences to children in your classroom or home will help foster their creativity and open up a world of opportunities. By inspiring coding brilliance in kids, we are ensuring they have the necessary tools to become successful adults.