Gaming has become an increasingly popular pastime in recent years, and hundreds of fantastic games are available to play on your favorite devices.
If you’re a parent, you may have noticed that some children seem naturally drawn to game development and the technical aspects of video game design—it’s no coincidence that many developers are self-taught!
While it may seem difficult to encourage your child’s passion for video games and teach them valuable computer programming skills at the same time, there are ways that you can help encourage your child’s creativity.
You can teach them valuable programming and game development skills without discouraging their love of games or building their hopes up unrealistically.
What Is Game Development and Coding for Children?
Game development is a fun and creative process involving developing ideas, designing, coding, and testing to see how they work. Kids who get into game development at an early age can learn the basics of coding and programming, which can help them pursue a career in the video game industry later on.
Many fun and interactive learning tools are available for kids that teach them the basics of game development and coding. Your child could learn the basics of game development, such as design, mechanics, and reward systems.
These tools make it easy and enjoyable for kids to learn important coding concepts like conditions and loop skills while having a great time.
What Is the Importance of Game Development for Children?
Developing video games can help kids improve a range of skills essential to success in the 21st century. These skills include analytical thinking, problem-solving, logical reasoning, design thinking, decision-making, storytelling, coding, and programming.
Developing games also introduces students to STEM concepts (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), which are important for developing skills in the workplace.
As a result, game design is becoming an increasingly popular class at universities across America, with some even beginning to offer degrees in it. Universities like Columbia University have recognized the potential of this new art form, noting how it’s the new literacy of our times.
A growing number of schools are taking note by introducing game design programs into their curriculum or through extracurricular clubs and competitions. There is no single right approach to teaching game design; there are many different ways you can engage KIDS with this in-demand skill, both inside and outside of school.
Children can learn much about today’s world and how it works by engaging in game development. Asides from the incredible learning outcomes, game development is a means for children to create and execute a project they find quite interesting. Games are already a big part of kids’ lives, and they are naturally interested in how games work.
Just as LEGO blocks can be used to create all sorts of things, game design for kids allows for various creative explorations. Kids can build, break, rebuild, imagine and re-imagine to their heart’s content, then take pride in their accomplishments.
Kids’ game design is a fun and creative process that allows them to explore their ideas and see them come to life. They can come up with all sorts of different ideas and concepts, then see how it all comes together in the end.
These will prepare children for future careers and give them a head start in their education and professional lives.
What Are the Stages of Game Development for Kids?
In the ideation or discovery stage, the developer creates a plan for their game and decides what it will be like. They think about who the target audience is, the main story, and how the game will progress as the player plays it.
In the creation stage, assets and programming are put into place. The developer creates a game prototype to test its feasibility and gameplay. Gameplay mechanics are refined, and bugs are fixed. The look and feel of the game are finalized.
Kids programming and creating games mostly use block coding and other game development tools, which makes the creation process simpler and easier to follow, so kids don’t get lost while they’re creating.
In this stage, developers put programming in place and create prototypes to test gameplay mechanics and refine them while finalizing their game’s look and feel.
In the testing stage, the game is rigorously played by testers to find any flaws in the design or execution. Bugs are squashed, glitches fixed, and balance tweaked. Errors can range from graphical glitches to entire sections of code that don’t work. This can be long and arduous, but it’s essential for a polished final product.
After the game has been tested and all known bugs have been fixed, it is released to the public. This can be done in several ways, such as through social media, review websites, or app stores. Make sure to invest the necessary time and effort to market your game to reach the largest audience possible.
This is what the post-release stage is all about. As new ideas come up, they’re developed, created, and put to the test, following the same stages of game development. Kids must understand that new ideas are constantly emerging, so the game development cycle never truly ends.
How Can Kids Get Started at Game Development?
There are many different ways kids can get started in game development, depending on their age range. For example, kids aged three to seven can learn about game development through fun and games. However, coding and development skills won’t be introduced until after the age of seven.
The first step to becoming a great game developer is being a great gamer! Gamers who can look critically at games and think about what they like and don’t like, what works and doesn’t work, are in a great position to become developers.
So, ensure your kid learns to think critically about some of the games they play – it’s a great way to start learning the skills you need to become a developer!
Kids can try out their skillset of game development by editing games that are already familiar to them, such as Minecraft and Roblox. This will help them get acquainted with the tools and techniques used in game development.
There are a handful of ways for kids to get into coding and game development. They can start by learning basic coding concepts through online tutorials or classes. Then, they can move on to creating simple games with block-based coding platforms like CodeMonkey.
Finally, they can learn complex game programming skills through apps and tools specifically designed for kids.
The Best Tools For Learning Game Development for Kids
A block-based visual programming language aimed at beginners with text-based courses for more advanced students, CodeMonkey teaches children as young as five how to code with its friendly interface. CodeMonkey lets kids help a monkey get its bananas back while traveling through a funny map full of coding puzzles.
Kids must use code snippets to solve the puzzles and help the monkey get to each level. When solving these puzzles, kids will learn basic computer science concepts such as loops and conditionals. CodeMonkey is one of the best fun learning games for kids and even kindergartens who want to learn block-based coding skills
The online app Scratch is a free tool designed by MIT Media Lab specifically for young people who want to learn coding skills. Scratch allows users to create games, animations, and art using an easy-to-use interface. Users can also share projects with other scratch community members, including over 10 million projects and billions of downloads representing different types of animation frames.
- Coda Game
Coda focuses on a popular gaming genre among children: platformers. Children enjoy platform games, which they can leverage to their advantage when developing a killer game or app. Coda is simple to use; it focuses on game creation rather than the possibly more challenging side of coding. If your children prefer more visually appealing games, they will find this tool quite useful.
- Minecraft EDU
Consider this a series of incredibly detailed and beneficial courses on how to code using the famous game Minecraft. Doesn’t it sound cool?
Several tutorials are available to help children and adults learn how to code and create games they wish to play. If you’ve ever played Minecraft, you’ll know that the player has complete creative control over the game environment. Aside from surviving creatures, players may build replicas of real landmarks, imaginary villages, and even The Lord of the Rings Mines of Moria.
There are different ways for kids to get started with game development, and their parents and teachers must help them understand the processes and give them the support they need.
One way that kids can be supported in game design is through connecting schools with existing local programs in which students take classes to learn how to design video games.
These programs provide curriculum materials and offer online courses or summer camps where students can apply what they’ve learned while having fun! Another way that kids can learn game development is by using an integrated STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) approach at home and in classrooms.
By providing these resources and teaching kids how to develop games, we can help shape the future of computer programming by encouraging young people to learn this valuable skill.