As we continue to move towards a digital-first world, coding has all but become a modern-day literacy for the younger generation. Today, technology has an undeniable prevalence in our lives, whether it’s used for work, school or daily time on our phones. With this in mind, there’s no doubt that coding for kids can help provide them with the transferable skills they could need going forward into adulthood.
In this article, we’ll take you through some of the key reasons why coding for kids can be an essential investment for their future, as well as some free coding programs for kids to help get them started.
Why is coding for kids important today?
Why is coding important, and why should kids learn how to do it?
1. Learning to code is essentially learning another language
Despite not being a language that allows you to communicate instantly with people, coding does teach kids logical thinking, rationale and communication skills. Young minds absorb knowledge, and coding is essentially another language that can help open many doors in years to come, so exposing them to this from an early age can only help their development.
2. Coding can foster creativity
Kids are naturally more creative than their adult counterparts - they experiment more, express themselves more and are generally more open-minded. Coding enables kids to be creative and expressive even if the final product isn’t.
3. Naturally, coding develops and enhances problem-solving
Some young people lack the confidence to trust their judgement when it comes to problem-solving, but coding programs for kids actually help to combat that. They give both pre-teens and teens the chance to work through situations to improve on something without the fear of failure, as there is no one correct way.
Free coding programs for kids
So, where should you begin?
If you’re an adult looking to encourage younger generations to take up coding, or a pre-teen/teen looking to develop a new skill, there are several free coding for kids programs to check out. Below, we’ve compiled a top 5 list of free coding for kids programs that are a great starting place.
freeCodeCamp.org offers users articles, videos and interactive coding lessons completely free. Having been featured in many reputable publications, including the BBC, Insider and WIRED, it’s a must for those looking to take a step towards expanding their coding knowledge. The freeCodeCamp.org website states that since 2014, more than 40,000 of its graduates have gotten jobs at tech companies, including Apple, Spotify, and Microsoft.
Those with access to an iPad or Mac can take advantage of Swift Playgrounds - an Appleexclusive app that pairs interactive puzzles with lessons in a fun and easy-to-digest way. No coding knowledge is needed to get started, just curiosity and interest that will help you navigate through the levels and explore while learning.
According to the website, Scratch is “the world’s largest free coding community for kids” and designed especially for young people aged 8 to 16, although all ages can create and share using it. Developed by the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Media Lab, it aims to help kids think creatively, collaboratively and systematically, while users program their own interactive stories, animations and games.
The hugely popular video game Minecraft is a gentle introduction to the world of coding by combining coding elements into a fun game. Although not completely free, you can opt-in for a free trial on the website to get a feel for things.
Learn to code today
Gone are the days of just learning to read and write. Today’s upcoming generation should also think about adding coding to their skillset, and the free coding for kids programs we’ve mentioned are a great starting place for 11-18-year-olds.