Anybody Can Learn to Code
I seem to be having a lot of conversations lately about how to teach young kids computer science. Our family are big fans of digital learning, so computer science goes hand-in-hand with our approach to learning. Our sweet spot is Code.org, where our boys ages 7 and 5 are learning about computer science.
The site is completely free (we love free, right?) and each child can login with their own credentials to keep track of their progress.
You start by trying Hour of Code. Rated for ages 6 to 106, it’s good basic fun! Options include Classic Fun with Angry Birds, Frozen with Anna and Elsa, Minecraft, Star Wars and Disney Infinity. Can you tell these guys know how to get our kids’ attention? Lol.
Each option begins with an introductory video followed by easy-to-follow-along directions or even plug n play for littles. Younger children will want a parent nearby to assist, while those who can read will likely be able to self-pace through the levels. Each introductory level is about 20 different “games” where the kids drag and drop blocks to form the code.
Above is the “blockly code” I just created on Level 17 of the Classic Fun option. What’s great is that once you finish coding a level, you can also take a peek at the actual code you “wrote” using blockly:
Once your child has completed the first hour of coding, they can jump over to Code Studio and progress through a 20-hour basic computer science program that starts at Kindergarten. Seriously! My five year old plays this. It’s a lot like the blockly programs in the Hour of Code, but gets a bit more complex and creative.
Another option for littles, is Lightbot App for iOS, Android or web browsers. We keep Lightbot on the boys’ iPads for fun code practice when we are road-trippin’!
Kids 12+ can start programming using Python – a programming language for people with no prior experience. Ages 8+ may enjoy creating stories and interactive games using MIT’s Scratch. There’s also Hopscotch for the iPad, Tickle Labs to help kids 6+ program robots and drones or even an upper level Harvard CS50 class. All completely FREE! Hello?
So step back and start exploring coding! Computer science has never been simpler to get your kid in front of and if your child is like mine, more screen time is always appreciated. When my kids are working on Code.org, I’m one happy mama.