Basic Concepts of Coding that even kids can understand and learn- Guest Post by Ishika, Columbus, OH
Basic Concepts of Coding that even kids can understand and learn was something I was always curious about.As a coder, I have always known the importance of it. I wanted the same awareness for my child. Although my son was in just 2nd year last year. Being a curious mother, I wanted him to learn to code. I did not know how to teach him. But I wanted him to code from an early age. What most of us don’t know is that kids can easily understand the basics of coding. They might not know what actually it is, but they can still understand the logic. We must know what coding means to a 7-year old child. I have been coding for years but never gave it a thought. We all use coding concepts somewhere in daily life. Anything that we do daily is an example of programming. Some examples can be –
- Brushing teeth
- Dressing up
- Making cookies
- Playing games, etc.
These are examples of programming algorithms and process steps. Simple tasks or events like these should be used as building blocks for teaching the kids.
The importance of coding for kids.
- Another language– Children learn to communicate from languages. Early age is the best time for teaching kids new languages. Kids get to know the world around them. Coding is a computer language. It sees every alphabet in 0’s and 1’s. This technology gives us the idea to perform the coding. The best way for children to learn is to teach them how this technology works.
- Enhances creativity– Experiment is a better way of learning. Kids perform mistakes while experimenting. These mistakes let them know something new. In this manner, kids learn to be creative. Such ideas can be a fun way to teach kids.
- Improves math skills– Coding helps children to imagine abstract ideas. It lets them relate math to the real world. While teaching to code, we also introduce math to kids.
- Improves academic skills– Coding develops logic in kids. This helps children to plan and organize ideas. Using these ideas a child can try to solve problems. This also leads to improved writing skills. With frequent coding, Skills keep on developing.
- Problem solvers– The coding program can give directions to kids. They think of doing something new. On failing, kids try to find a better solution. All of this makes them confident in their abilities.
Having kids to code at a young age makes them sharp. Not only do they improve communication but develop logic.
I will suggest you try the following ideas. The concepts tell us the basics to introduce coding to kids. This will serve as the fundamental blocks to start.
- Algorithm– You cannot use the word algorithm for kids. It will be like a strange thing for them. But children must know that they use coding in their daily lives. Algorithms are easier to understand when you give them examples. The key is to start with a simple definition. The algorithm is an instruction given to do a task. So for assigning a task to a computer, we need the algorithm. Tell them the things they do every day.
One example can be to decide on a dress to wear for a party. Such examples help young students to understand better. So ask your kids the following questions.
- Which cloth will you wear after having a bath?
- Will you directly wear a suit or frock?
- Is there a proper order to dress?
Our aim is to develop thinking skills in children. On asking such questions, they will think about the core. Write out this algorithm in steps. Make a visual schedule for it. Ask your kid to arrange the steps in proper order. Computer programmers use such logic. They write such algorithms to code. Let the practice develop computational thinking in children.
- Sequence– It is important to teach kids in a certain step. Teaching sequence would mean to make them understand the order. Sequence means completing a task in order. Therefore, the algorithm would mean to put instructions in order. Students achieve the core skill for problem-solving abilities with this. You can read a nursery storybook to your kids. You can choose a popular story amongst kids. Ask your kids to narrate the story in the proper sequence.
- Loop– Kids might imagine loops as something that goes round and round. Loop let you repeat something in coding. To stop the looping, you need to give instructions to the computer. Repeating a loop lesser number of times can make coding easy. Sometimes on meeting criteria, you can stop the looping.
A great example for kids would be the route they take to go to school. They start from a point and come back to the same point. To do so, they might use a bus or go by walk. Let your kid think about the steps they take to reach school.
- Stepping out of the home
- Waiting for the bus
- Getting inside the bus
- Making 4 stops
- Reaching the school
- Walking to the classroom
Instead of writing the steps every time, kids can use the algorithm. Kids can give the algorithm the name ‘School routine’. Every day they repeat these steps, so it is a loop. Elementary school kids can best understand by such examples. We can tell the computer to repeat the steps for 50 days. We can also instruct it to stop looping on weekends. When kids learn these lessons, they become efficient. They also learn the correct usage of resources.
- Decomposition– It means to break problems into smaller parts. You can ask your kids to break down their daily routines in smaller parts. Ask your kid to tell the steps for brushing teeth. They might start from scratch and then end up. See that they tell every step involved. Get them to think smaller.
- Opening the tap
- Washing the brush
- Applying the paste to it
- Brushing teeth
- Washing mouth and brush
Repeat this action until the teeth are clean. Decomposition will let kids break tasks in smaller parts. They can arrange larger tasks in smaller blocks. This will kids perform well in school projects.
- Branch– It means deciding based on what will happen. You can ask your kids the following questions.
What would they expect to happen while or after
- Waking up
- Dressing up
- Eating breakfast
- Going to school
- Playing a game
- Having dinner
They might end up saying that they’ll follow the daily routine. But give them situations. Ask them what will they do if they lose their favorite bat for playing. Or what will they do if the bus didn’t arrive for school? Kids will learn variations from these situations. Through this, you can explain to them even the complex concepts.
- Debugging- This is an important part of coding. Learning to debug is very critical. Kids might assume it to be a bug or insect. But in coding, it means to correct the mistakes. An example would be to make a mistake in the sequence. Kids can write a sequence but put one step in the wrong place. This can disturb the order. So debugging would mean to correct this mistake.
Sometimes kids can get impatient with debugging. But it often might take time to find the correct answer. But kids can definitely level up with their thinking.
In-person coding camps that provide basic concepts of Coding that even kids can understand and learn.
- Coding camp and courses – Attend a STEM camp. It is a summer course for app development. Kids learn hard skills for the future here. Kids not only learn to code but also science. They learn math and technology. All the activities make the summer, fun to learn holidays for kids. The required skill set for the 21st century is analytical thinking. Problem-solving. Creativity. Collaboration. And more. With the summer camp, kids will utilize their time learning these skills.
- Scratch programming camps– This teaches coding from scratch for kids aged 7-14 years. It includes coding and game development. Kids first learn to code using in-built blocks. Later they learn to write it on their own. The course builds a foundation for coding in kids. Bright visuals also add to this. The following is what the course includes.
- Creating variables
- Understanding conditionals like if-else.
- Designing sprites
- Designing basic games
- Coding and game development– The course varies from the beginner to an advanced level. Kids age 10-12 years can take part in this. Children learn to create three-dimensional graphics. 3D planets and space can be an example. Children learn to create scripts. The course includes the following.
- Learning the programming fundamentals
- Learning to program
- Creating 3D design world
- Learning to make stand-alone projects
- Robotics coding– This is best suited for kids aged 7 to 10 years. They learn to work in a team. This creates teamwork learning in them. The course includes:
- Exploring visual programming
- Build robots
- Utilize different sensors
- Develop designing skills
In the search for basic Concepts of Coding that even kids can understand and learn a few online coding websites/toys can be excellent starting material.
- Playcodemonkey.com– It is best suited for kids aged 4-11 years. The platform has over 200 projects for kids to solve.
- Scratch.com– MIT developed this platform. It is for the kids of 5 to 7 years of age. The website aims at teaching coding to young learners. The website has its app for Android mobile devices.
- Code org– The platform has free online courses for kids. It provides over 100 lessons for kids to code.
- Lightbot.com– It teaches kids about programming concepts. Looping and conditionals can be an example.
I have enrolled my son for the online coding course. The results are impressive. I can see the required skills developing in my son. Starting at an early age for kids is a good practice. We can see the combined result of this at a later stage. I suggest all the parents enroll their kids in any of the courses. To survive in a competitive world, Kids need to be sharp. Here is a list of 37+ courses that can help the kids with their coding journey.