Making coding fun for kids is all about finding what inspires them. Kids find inspiration in everything, and the next story is a great example of it.
The idea for his first app came when his mom returned from a shop with new dresses, tops, and shirts, but his father didn’t compliment her on any of her new purchases. That’s what inspired Ethan to create an app called Lazy Husband that reproduces pre-recorded compliments. After this app became a success, Ethan also developed apps called Lazy Wife and Lazy Kid, each of which had a similar purpose.
This innovative idea and the support from his parents made Ethan the youngest speaker at the SXSW conference, which contributed to his bright future as a programmer.
Why did it work so well? Ethan found a way to make coding fun by applying it to a real-life situation. His observational skills helped him find a connection between his mom buying new clothes, his father not complimenting her, and an opportunity to build an app around it.
However, it’s quite hard to get a kid excited about coding since this activity needs their full attention for long periods of time. But it’s definitely not impossible. Here are a few suggestions.
Toys that Make Coding Fun for Kids
This is a good way to start slowly introducing your child to the world of programming.
If your child is old enough and has very basic computer skills, a toy can help visualize the coding process and help your child see the results right away.
For example, the Sphero Mini Activity Kit can help children learn block-based coding.
Before using this toy, you have to download the Sphero App, through which your child will perform basic programming commands to control the robot. When your child completes a command, for example, to turn right, the robot will follow the directions.
Such toys are based on instant gratification – once your kids learn a new coding command, they will instantly see the results of what they’ve learned.
Can these toys really help kids learn to code?
Fair question, considering that they are quite expensive. But although the price is definitely a pain point and such toys can hardly teach your kid advanced coding, they can help set the basics.
According to LiveScience, such toys have cognitive benefits, improve logical thinking, resilience, and grit. And, in general, if you’re looking for something that will help your kids learn coding in a fun way, toys are a great way to engage them.
Include Coding Games in Your Daily Activities
Just like any other activity, coding needs regular practice to achieve mastery. That’s why it is important to incorporate a few short exercises in your child’s daily schedule that would help them practice the skills they’ve already gained.
For example, help your child see where coding principles are used in our everyday lives. This beginner coding activity uses the programming concept of sequencing to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Or, if your child has just learned about loops, you can try a relevant coding activity to put your child on a mission to build a fitness program for the family using loops that repeat part of the code.
Coding games that encourage your child to play to learn are a great way to make coding fun for kids. Kodable allows kids to explore at their own pace and prompts them with weekly coding challenges.
In terms of designing everyday coding activities, make sure they are gamified. Making everyday activities feel like a game with elements of reward is a great way to make coding fun for kids and keep your child excited about coding.
Use Storytelling to Make Coding Fun
If you want to diversify your kid’s daily coding activities a bit, books can help with that. Of course, we’re not talking about textbooks, but more about children’s books that teach coding via storytelling.
One such book is Hello Ruby by Linda Luikas. It is half a picture book and half an activity book, in which your child has to go on an adventure and complete tasks required to proceed to the next level:
What’s great about this book is that it comes together with an app, so your child can easily switch between activities if they start losing focus.
There are also gamified books that focus on a certain task, like building a sandcastle or just simple shapes. Such books usually provide great step-by-step instructions, which helps your child find a cause-and-effect relationship between coding activities faster.
Coding Doesn’t Have to Be Boring
It is absolutely possible for your child to learn programming without cramming over difficult textbooks or attending expensive clubs. You can start teaching your child some basic commands at home using toys and books.
However, keep in mind that repetition is key. Make sure your child is busy with everyday coding activities that will help solidify the knowledge. After all, skill is like a muscle – the more you exercise, the stronger your skill gets.
About the author: Jessica Fender is an educational blogger and content specialist at Alltopreviews.com, a resource for writing websites reviews. She enjoys sharing her knowledge with students of all ages and making learning easier for them.