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Getting Your Kids Started with Computer Programming: All You Need to Know

coding classes for kids

The process of learning to code is changing rapidly. Coding used to be a subject taught in universities, but now the subject has become an active part of the school syllabus. 

With intro-level coding courses being introduced to early grade students, breaking down complex text-based coding into easily understandable elements is becoming the go-to way to let kids get their hands on coding and programming.

The process of learning to code saw more changes as the need for alternate programming lessons came into existence. Due to the schools not being able to provide an optimum platform for kids to learn to code, parents and their kids have to look elsewhere for guidance. This phenomenon has given rise to summer coding camps, extra classes, and online courses as some of the measures to let kids meet the basic requirements for coding.

In this article, we will take a look at various programs available for kids, their pros, cons, and how you can choose the best one for your children.

Let’s take a look:

Types of Coding Programs

There is a range of different coding programs available for kids to start their coding journey. Let’s take a look at a few of them and evaluate their pros and cons. 

Drag and Drop Coding

Drag and drop is one of the most fundamental forms of coding. These kinds of coding programs are designed to introduce kids to the bare-bones functionalities of coding. Drag and drop programming is usually self-paced, which means students can determine their own pace for getting better at the program. 

Most of these types of programs are gamified, creating a competitive curiosity among kids and intriguing them to progress with time.

Pros and Cons

Since most drag and drop coding programs are gamified, making it engaging and holding kids’ interest. Nevertheless, when kids progress through lessons in such programs, they eventually hit roadblocks that require expert assistance. 

One-on-one Coding Lessons and Tutors

One-on-one coding lessons are private coding lessons, where kids get individual attention from an experienced tutor to get better at coding. It is like private maths tuition but with coding as the core subject.

That being said, math and coding are very different from each other. While mathematics has a fixed output, coding does not have anything in the name of fixed rules. As the coding concepts change, so does the requirement for understanding them. As children learn and grow with coding, they need to work on specific coding projects to get better. This is where a private tutor comes as assistance. You can find project-focused one-on-one classes online to help get your kids to the next level of coding.

Pros and Cons

One-on-one coding programs are beneficial because kids get to learn directly from an experienced tutor. Having an experienced teacher with them allows kids to have answers to all their curiosities while maintaining a good pace of learning.

However, you don’t always end up finding the best tutor out there. Sometimes, in your search for a good tutor, you might end up getting a worse one. Therefore, a certain amount of research is important to find the perfect coding classes for your kids.

Group Coding Classes

Group coding sessions are coding sessions outside of coding classes in schools. A coding summer camp is one of the best examples of group coding classes where kids from different schools come together to hone their coding skills. 

Group coding classes, like one-on-one sessions, have an experienced tutor as well. Nevertheless, instead of teaching one kid how to code, these tutors facilitate an environment that allows a bunch of kids to practice coding, interact with each other, and grow together. 

Pros and Cons

Group coding classes are one of the best ways to introduce your kids to other kids of the same interest and interact with each other to learn and grow together. Nevertheless, there are drawbacks as well, and they depend on the kind of learning your kids want. If your kid excels at learning with a group, then group coding sessions are a great way to get them started. 

Coding Games

Coding games are gamified coding that allows kids to learn coding through games. The whole concept of coding is taught through games. Such games indulge kids by asking them to achieve a certain goal by performing tasks by using specified commands. These games can be downloaded to the computer or played directly through a browser.

Pros and Cons

Games play a great role in retaining kids’ attention to coding. Gamified coding is not only interactive and engaging but also expansive, covering a range of topics. However, such coding classes fail to offer the depth that is needed to understand coding more comprehensively. Gamified coding can be used to get kids interested in the concept of computer programming, but after a while, you would need real coding classes and experienced tutors.

Types of Coding Languages

Besides learning about various coding programs, you will also need to do a bit of research on the types of coding languages that are available. Not all coding languages are the same. Although most of them follow a similar structure, they differ in terms of their functionality. Below, we have curated a list of some of the easiest programming languages to get your kids up to speed with coding.

Python

Python is one of the easier programming languages out there. Kids can write half as many lines of code as they would write while coding with C++ and other such languages. Python works on a simpler framework, allowing kids to easily understand its basics and keep it in practice. 

Python is also one of the widely used programming languages in the world. It is used by a wide array of companies for a range of reasons. From business software development to creating dynamic websites, Python can be used to execute a number of tasks.

Java

Java is a bit difficult to master, not because of its technicality but because of its dense interactive system. Java is also a bit complicated compared to Python. Nevertheless, with determination and patience, one can learn Java and be able to use it for its tremendous benefits.

It is one of the most frequently appearing languages in the AP computer science curriculum. Moreover, Java can provide students with a real introduction to the world of professional programming. 

Visual Coding

Visual coding platforms offer kids a visual way to code. Such coding languages are usually based on blocks and drag-and-drop functionality. This type of coding especially intrigues younger kids and offers them a friendly and fun way to understand the basics of computer programming. 

Scratch is one example of a visual coding platform that is catered to teach kids to code.

Types of Coding Platforms for Kids

There is an ever-increasing number of coding platforms for kids to get their hands on computer programming. Nevertheless, not all these languages work for everyone. Make sure to choose a platform that suits your kids and their learning habits. 

Online Private Lessons

Online private lessons are another great way to get your kids started with coding if you don’t trust websites and apps to do the task. With a private teacher and a fixed time to learn to code, students are more likely to develop an interest in coding and progress efficiently. 

Scratch

Scratch, as mentioned above, is one of the best visual coding platforms. It is a block-based coding language that was specifically designed to cater to kids and get them on board with computer programming. Although coding experience is limited on Scratch, it is a great platform to introduce to kids as their first step towards coding.

Getting Started

In order to get your kids started with coding, you will first have to understand their preferences, likes, and hobbies. You can’t force a subject on your kids that they have no interest in learning. That being said, you can introduce the concept of coding to your kids in a way that makes them curious and fascinated. Tell your kids how most of the technology is primarily based on coding. From the websites that we use to the games we play, every part of technology is based on coding, which means by learning to code, one could open a lot of opportunities for themselves.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

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