Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey… Do you know what all these people have in common?
They all started programming and showing interest in custom software development as kids. As the saying goes, it is never too early to start learning how to code.
Today, in the digital era, the importance of programming skills will only grow since coding is predicted to become an integral part of the future professions and an inseparable part of everyday working life.
What’s even more important to know is how to build websites. Even if a child will decide to pursue another career and will become a writer, a photographer, or even an artist, such skills won’t go to waste. Many professionals would benefit from web development skills.
At an early age, such learning activities can be used as interesting and useful leisure. But the question is, how can children learn web development? Let’s find out the best ways!
Website Builders for the Younger Learners
Starting a website today doesn’t necessarily require technical knowledge.
There are many website builders your kids can try for free. Services like Wix, Tilda, and WordPress allow creating new websites in a matter of hours – without any technical knowledge.
- Wix – is one of the most popular drag-and-drop website builders with customizable design, free templates, and a built-in image editor with free and paid versions starting at $4.5 per month.
- Tilda – an intuitive website builder mostly used to build landing pages, which provides a whole library of ready-to-use blocks and elements, has a free version and a paid one starting at $10/month.
- WordPress – a well-known and popular website builder mostly used for personal and professional blogs with a free version and paid ones starting at $4/month.
To make the task enjoyable, kids can create a website about themselves, their families, hobbies, toys, etc. This way, they will have fun while learning and finding out how the Internet and websites work. All of the above solutions can help develop an entrepreneurial mindset as kids develop creativity, logical thinking, and problem-solving skills.
Website builders allow creating a website from ready-made adaptive blocks that can be dragged and dropped on the web page. With a visual editor, kids can add content, upload images and other media files to the created web pages. Thanks to an intuitive user interface, kids can create simple websites and add unique functionality with the help of additional plugins and themes. For example, the WooCommerce plugin allows turning a WordPress website into an eCommerce store in no time.
Even though such website builders are designed for adults, the drag-and-drop approach makes them user-friendly even for children. There are lots of easy-to-follow videos explaining how to build a website with a particular builder.
Coding Online Courses
While website builders are a great solution as a stepping stone, kids can get bored with them pretty quickly, especially with the free versions with limited capabilities. That’s why online coding courses are the next step.
There are a lot of resources that offer such courses for children, namely:
- CodeMonkey – a series of fun games that introduce kids to coding basics through gamification and a step-by-step approach inspired by the MIT’s Logo programing language with prices starting at $4.95/month.
- CodeSpark – a coding academy with a gamification approach based on a research-backed curriculum from MIT and Princeton helps children from 5 to 9 learn to code and ignites an interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It’s free of charge.
- Scratch Coding – a free coding platform that helps kids develop creativity, logical thinking, and coding skills by creating games and cartoons.
- Code Babies – a series of books that help kids learn HTML, CSS, C++, and other programming languages.
You can choose the course depending on what skills your kids need to learn.
As a part of the educational process, children can also watch YouTube videos explaining web development concepts in plain language. There are a lot of videos on YouTube dedicated to these topics.
HTML and CSS: The Holy Grails of Web Development
Usually, web development online courses for kids teach them how to use HTML (the Hypertext Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). Unlike web builders, creating a website with HTML and CSS requires real coding skills.
These two are the core technologies for building web pages.
- HTML – defines the structure of the page
- CSS – specifies the layout of the elements on the web page
By using HTML and CSS, kids are able to build simple and complex web interfaces. Children can see the results of any changes made to the code, which helps them better understand how everything works – how changes to HTML impact the layout of web pages and how CSS changes create different visual effects.
Gamification of the Process
There is no secret that keeping a child’s interest is a challenge. They can lose it really quickly. Adding gamification to the learning process is the best way to achieve the goal.
The vast majority of online courses for kids, like CodeMonkey and CodeSpark, are built on gamification principles.
For example, children might need to pass a level to get a reward or be tasked with creating a simple online game. Gamification keeps their interest, making them return to studying day after day.
In the world of digital transformations, having an online presence is vital for businesses and individuals. That’s why learning the basics of web development is very important for children today. In the future, such knowledge will come in handy during their school years and even in adult life. Moreover, web development provides insights into how the Internet works.
At the same time, forcing children to learn something they don’t show interest in won’t do any good. Thus, try identifying what brings the most joy to your child and head in that direction. Remember that web development is only one of the possible routes to get children interested in coding.
Here is how you can help kids learn how to code:
- Find out what your kids are interested in
- Identify the resources and online courses that will help them get coding skills in the desired area
- Provide your kids with tasks that challenge their knowledge and skills
- If you don’t have the technical expertise, help your kids find a mentor that will guide them
- Most importantly, keep the process entertaining and fun