Isn't it amazing to see a baby or a toddler handle a tablet or a smart phone? They know how technology works. Kids absorb information so fast, languages (spoken or coded) can be learned in a matter of months. Recently there has been a surge of articles and studies emerging about teaching kids to code.
We live in a "Back to the Future" movie. We are connected to technology now unlike when we were kids. It's part of our lives and kids are born into it. Teaching them to code is like playing with LEGOS (which itself is a great introduction to the concept). They want to make things andmaking a Lego house or building an app or a game is about the same concepts.
Programming is viewed as a strict logical stream only available to brainiacs. In fact coding is within the grasp of everyone. It teaches creativity, strategy, solving puzzles, and even cooperation.
It can also teach parity in technology fields when girls are brought up thinking they are just as good at math and sciences as boys. It has been shown that girls outperform boys in sciences everywhere around the world EXCEPT for the US, Britain and Canada. As mentioned on the Girls Who Code web site: "While 57% of bachelor’s degrees are earned by women, just 12% of computer science degrees are awarded to women," and "In a room full of 25 engineers, only 3 will be women."
Here are a 20 resources you can use to introduce and teach children about coding and programming:
1. KidsRuby: Makes is easy to learn to code.
2. MIT App Inventor: Speaks for itself. Probably more for Middle School aged children and above.
3. Alice: an introduction to creating simple animated movies and video games through simple object-oriented programming.
4. Scratch: a pretty cool way to start programming movies, games and interactive stories. Perfect for children about 8 and up.
5. Kodu. A visual programming language for pc.
6. Teaching Kids Programming: a non-profit organization whose website is filled with resources to teach or learn to code from 10 years old and up.
7. Move the Turtle: App for kids 5 and over.
8. Hopscotch: Another brilliant app (apps are easy and visual for younger learners!).
9. Hakitzu Elite: Robot Hackers: Though I usually don't exactly promote these types of games, this combat game teaches the basics of coding while battling robots.
10. Daisy the dinosaur: An easy visual app for all ages, drag and drop still teaches the principles of programming!
11. Cargo-Bot: A puzzle game created entirely on iPad, for all ages.
12. Robot Turtles: My kids love this board game (3-8 year old), a simple game that sneaks in coding basics. A Kickstarter success!
13. Primo: Another Kickstarter must for 4-7 year olds, "Primo is a playful physical programming interface that teaches children programming logic without the need for literacy"
14. Sphero: An amazing ball robot you can program and interact with in many many many different ways, whether you are a small child or an adult. A must-see web site for all the details.
15. Raspberry-Pi: A tiny card sized computer that plugs into a tv and can be used for electronics projects.
16. Lego Mindstorms: Probably the first toys to teach programming basics ever.
17. Terrapin Logo: A language that enables you to learn by doing. They also have products that can be used to teach using their language.
18. Hello Ruby: A book that teaches programming skills through activities as well as stories.
19. Hello World!: Computer Programming for Kids and Other Beginners: Another good book to learn at whatever age.
20. Super Scratch Programming Adventure!: Learn to Program By Making Cool Games: A book in quite a series to learn different principles within programming.
(Image credits: Flickr User Vauvau)