Don’t Wait Too Long: How Programming Can Help Kids in Real Life

Student Coding

Guest Post by: Ester Brierley

All parents want their kids to succeed but understand that the chances for success depend on education. For example, if you want your kids to become entrepreneurs, the existing education system implies teaching them STEM subjects so that they would know all the necessary figures and facts. However, more and more parents realize that there’s something missing in this educational approach. For instance, only 25% of schools teach kids computer science.

Machines have already exceeded humans in many aspects, including the speed of decision-making and memory. We use computers everywhere, in any industry, and even our everyday lives are impossible without dozens of mobile and desktop apps. In addition, as computers take on repetitive tasks and demonstrate better results working with data, the importance of creativity increases. Creativity is no longer necessary for artists only. All the computers and machines can only follow given instructions, so programmers need to be creative in order to develop new solutions and to enable machines to solve new types of tasks.

Why We Should Teach Kids to Code

  • First, programming offers many job opportunities. All companies constantly search for programmers. Every company has a website so it needs people who can maintain it, improve it, and develop internal applications. Thus, teaching your kid to code is certainly a good decision if they decide to work as programmers in the future. Kids learn much faster and easier than adults, so they may quickly get a grasp on concepts that may seem difficult to you.
  • Programming allows kids to understand how computers work. Modern kids are constantly surrounded by computers. They know how to work with laptops, smartphones, and tablets but programming can help them understand all the underlying processes and mechanisms. Isn’t this exciting? As our world gets filled with technologies, programming can help them understand this world better.
  • Programming also teaches kids logic. When you have to write instructions for a computer, you need to think like a computer — all instructions should be logical and unambiguous. Programmers also have to fix bugs, detecting logical errors and improving their own solutions.
  • We are used to thinking of technical subjects as of something opposite to creativity. This is absolutely wrong if we talk about programming. Programming allows kids to create virtually anything. Knowing how to code, they can create beautiful websites and applications, develop new solutions for difficult tasks, or create their own games. The ability to create is exciting for everyone and especially empowering for kids.

The Best Programming Tools for Kids

Of course, if you ask your kid to learn Python or C++, this task will be not only difficult but also really boring. Fortunately, there are programming languages and tools designed especially for young programmers.

  1. Scratch was created by MIT experts as a free programming language for kids. It has a simple visual interface which allows kids to write code using simple visual blocks of different shapes. Blocks represent operators, events, and actions. This program will help your kid create fun animations and simple games.
  2. Blockly is a program from Google which is also based on Scratch. Blockly works according to the same principle but allows kids to see the output code in different languages, including PHP, JavaScript, Dart, Python, and Lua. You can see the program write the code while you move blocks, which makes Blockly a perfect solution for older kids and even adults. It’s not just an educational program but a simple visual editor.
  3. Swift Playgrounds is an iOS game that can teach kids to work with the Swift language used by iOS developers. It has many tutorials and doesn’t require your kid to have any knowledge of coding. The learning process is fun, as kids should help a cartoon character that lives in a 3D world.
  4. LEGO Mindstorm Robotics is aimed to teach kids robotics. There is a user-friendly programming app for kids and a Mindstorms kit that will help your kid understand how to create machines that can perform tasks in the real world.

How Programming Can Help Your Kids in Real Life

First, programming is good for cognitive development. Kids learn how to break cumbersome and difficult tasks into smaller ones, solving them and learning an important skill called computational thinking. This approach can help them solve virtually any problems in the real world, even if they decide not to become programmers.

In addition, according to the report of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM occupations are the future of the job market. 93% of specialists in this field have salaries that exceed the national average, and employment in these occupations is expected to grow every year.

Coding can also help your kids learn other disciplines, as it teaches them that failures are just necessary steps on the way to success. A healthy perception of failures is necessary for the education of any kind. Learning to code, kids will also learn critical thinking and won’t be afraid to come up with their own solutions to any problems, which is an important leadership quality.

Conclusion

All parents want to make everything possible to ensure a good education for their kids. We want our kids to unleash their full potential and to succeed in this world that changes all the time. Coding not only gives kids a better understanding of how machines work but it also improves cognitive abilities, teaches critical thinking, and helps kids become strong and confident individuals.

About the Author
Ester Brierley is a QA Engineer in software outsourcing company, a virtual assistant and seasoned content creator for College Writer. When she’s not writing about cutting-edge digital trends, Ester tries to bring the Lagom lifestyle philosophy to live by. Follow her on Twitter.