Learning to code, regardless of the path your child chooses to take in life, is crucial in today’s world. Current research shows us that, in the near future, this knowledge will be important in any career. Beyond that and more importantly, it’s fun and develops important skills in your children that you may not have associated with coding! Coding builds creativity, problem solving skills, critical thinking skills AND builds confidence in your child! What are you waiting for?
Let’s talk about 5 tips to get your kids interested in coding:
Break the Stereotypes
Set the record straight with your kids. Coders are not men, sitting alone in a dark room furiously tapping on computer keys! The word “computer” used to mean, not a “machine,” but a “job!” Fun fact—That job was first done in the early days by women! People who code are interested in problem-solving, creativity, building things and making the world a better place. They are BOTH women and men, boys AND girls!
Make It Fun!
As we all know, learning by doing is much more impactful. Children are innately curious and love to explore. They love discovery…picking things up, examining them, smelling them, touching them and asking why? Start them early and make their coding education fun! Which leads me to my next point…
Mix Up the Medium
There are so many products and services available at ANY price point and for any age and skill level to aid in your child’s coding education. Make sure their experience goes beyond just simply sitting in front of a computer. There are building blocks, toys, board games, computer games, robots, after-school programs and even summer camps with a coding education focus available for your child. Talk to your children and see what interests them and go from there!
Do It Together
Learning to code can be incredibly collaborative. Although it may give you initial pause as a parent, if you do not consider yourself technically savvy, nothing is further from the truth. I am proof of that, myself! This is an activity that you can share with your children and YOU might even learn a thing or too!
Tap into Your Child’s Passions
With just a little bit of research you can find that almost everything involves a little bit of coding. There are plenty of examples to demonstrate to your children how coding impacts everything from farming, food, to art, movies, sports, computer games and the search engine they depend on for everything! Find something they can relate to to make coding more relevant to them.
As we previously discussed, STEM and coding education develops much more than technical skills. STEM and coding education helps children cultivate their creativity, analyze problems and improve critical thinking. It helps children challenge the status quo and build confidence. In STEM disciplines, children seek validation from their peers and often work in groups. They learn to collaborate more effectively and give and receive criticism in a positive way.
As parents, it is our job to encourage our children’s interest in STEM education and coding. Giving children opportunities to explore STEM-related concepts through a variety of products and activities and develop a passion for them is invaluable. Learning through play and “by doing” is critical, entertaining AND educational. STEM education can and should be tailored to your child’s abilities, interests and educational level, as well. This is critical in the learning process.