Do your kids know how to code? Coding for kids is quickly becoming a core subject as technology and the understanding of it dominates all professions.
How you approach coding with your children and the importance you place on it will ultimately shape how they view it.
But how do you get started? And why is coding for kids really that important?
I was compensated for my time writing this post. All opinions are my own.
What is coding? In simple terms, coding is a language used to speak to computers. It tells them what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. It’s used to program everything from the space shuttle to your home printer. In fact, there is little that’s used today that doesn’t involve coding of some sort!
For kids, that means that coding is used in the games they play and the devices that they use. Since understanding how coding works is so important in this day and age, coding classes and programs are more important than ever.
There are different coding languages that students can learn as well. The five most common coding languages are:
People who are fluent in multiple languages have a much better chance of acquiring a job in computer programming. And, with computer programming one of the most in-demand jobs, there are a lot of opportunities for kids to take that route if they have an interest in coding.
Coding and Homeschool
So how does coding fit into homeschooling? It’s easy!
Coding classes for kids are a great way to introduce students to different coding languages and projects. They make it fun for kids to explore coding and gain an understanding of how it works and why it’s so important.
My kids always loved to play Minecraft, so learning how to code things for Minecraft was a big deal. It really brought their love for the game full circle and allowed them the opportunity to see how coding integrates with things in their daily lives.
Use coding as its own subject or make it a part of your math or STEM projects.
Where to Find Coding Classes for Kids
As you can imagine, there are different avenues for exploring coding with your child.
Some are more inclusive and provide you with support, feedback, and an interactive experience.
Others are more basic or one-off types of classes that would probably not be appropriate for a semester- or year-long course.
CodaKid is a private platform designed to teach kids the basics of coding that we had the opportunity to test out. It has both Online Self-Study courses that are great for your self-motivated kids and Private 1-on-1 Tutoring for those kids who either need more support or want to dive a little deeper into coding.
My kids are very much self-starters and thrive with Online Self-Study courses. On CodaKid, they were able to work through the coding games and create everything from a fireball shooting ax for Minecraft to learning about game programming with Python. The classes are in-depth and geared for kids who need the visual learning components of a lesson and the hands-on application of the things that they learned.
Students learn to code in Python, Java, Lua, and more, so they are getting real coding experience!
As a mom who is not all that familiar with coding and sure doesn’t feel comfortable teaching it alone, I really appreciated that there was always help available for the kids within the CodaKid website. There were questions that they had that I didn’t know the answers to, but the friendly team at CodaKid was able to jump in and help them right out.
Things We Love About CodaKid
- Kids get to “level up” with each lesson and earn cool badges.
- The lessons are really robust and take the time to explain concepts.
- It’s NOT boring! <–All of my kids reiterated this!
- It can be a whole year’s worth of homeschool curriculum.
- Different coding languages are introduced.
- Help is always available if there are questions or trouble with the lessons.
- The Online Self-Study Courses made it easy to go at our own pace.
- The option for Private 1-on-1 Tutoring is there if my kids decide to dive deeper into coding.
- There’s a FREE TRIAL!
Outschool is an online learning platform that features classes taught by instructors about various subjects for all different grades. There are some coding for kids’ courses that show up periodically on the site, and they can be a good option for families who want something short and sweet.
They are typically not as in-depth as a program like CodaKid, and the quality of instruction can vary depending on the grade level and specific topic.
If your family is looking for a class that’s only a few weeks long, or you just want to give your kids a brief overview of coding, it’s worth checking out.
Have you ever heard of the Hour of Code? It’s an initiative that Code.org started to encourage all children to spend an hour of their school day coding or learning about computer programming. The lessons are free and are broken down into Grades K-5, 6-12, and Beyond 12.
While the lessons are free and a great introduction to coding for kids, it’s definitely not a robust curriculum like CodaKid. However, it is a fabulous way for kids to get their feet wet with coding and determine if it’s something that they’d like to learn more about.
Another thing to note is that Code.org is more geared toward the public and private school sector vs. homeschoolers. For instance, computer science classes typically use some of Code.org’s lessons in their curriculum.
Choosing the Right Coding Websites for Your Kids
Whether you’re trying to put together summer camps at home that focus on coding skills or create a computer science curriculum for your child to learn coding during the school year, there are five important things to consider when choosing a coding website to help you.
- Is the coding website easy to use for both you and your children?
- Is there help readily available should you run into problems or have questions?
- Is the curriculum provided as in-depth as your students need?
- Are the classes self-paced, or do they require your students to log in at specific times?
- Do they provide coding experiences in multiple languages and formats (i.e., – Scratch, block based programming, etc.)?
Take your time selecting the right sites and courses for your children so that their interest and enthusiasm for all things coding continues to grow and deepen.