Encouraging today’s generation of young people to pursue a hobby is important, because it’s an opportunity for them to develop a range of key skills that can benefit them now and in the future. At this boarding school in the UK, for instance, there is a strong focus on providing pupils with a wonderfully broad educational experience and there are lots of co-curricular opportunities on offer. However, with so many extra-curricular pursuits available to youngsters, it can be difficult to know what to prioritise. Should you encourage them to join a sports club or learn an instrument? Should they join chess club or go bird watching?
Learning to code is a fantastic option, which provides a huge range of benefits for both children and adults alike. It is a skill that stands out in today’s modern world, where we are faced with technology with every turn. So, if you’re unsure whether or not you should encourage your child to learn how to code, read on for some further information.
What is Coding?
Code is a form of communication that computers use to perform specific functions. It is a type of language used to create things like video games, computer software, websites, and apps. There are lots of different types of code, depending on what is being developed, but put simply it is the act of giving a computer a set of instructions to produce a specific outcome. In an environment rich with technology, coding is a skill we shouldn’t underestimate. You may also have heard “coding” referred to as “computer programming”.
What are the Benefits of Coding for Children?
- Learning to code is both educational and enjoyable. There is a lot of math involved, as well as organising and analysing data, but it is experienced in a fun way, so your child won’t even realise they are learning. The results are exciting, which makes it an enjoyable experience.
- Coding helps children with their problem-solving skills, which is useful in general life. Essentially, it’s an opportunity for them to challenge themselves and overcome hurdles in a productive and positive manner.
- Taking on a challenge such as coding can help youngsters become more resilient, because they learn not to give up at the first sign of trouble. There will be times when they fail, but that doesn’t mean they should give up. They have to be persistent and stick at it if they want to succeed, which is a fantastic life lesson that can benefit them across the board.
- Coding encourages children to think outside the box. It’s not just a case of writing a line of code; it’s often about viewing a larger challenge and breaking it down into smaller, more manageable chunks. If they come up with a solution that doesn’t work, they have to come up with another.
- Coding promotes creativity because it allows children to experiment and engage their imaginations. They have to take a mental image and give it form in the real world, which is the very heart of creative thinking. Often in traditional lessons, children have to follow rules and their answers are either right or wrong, but with coding they are less constricted and can try out different methods to achieve their goals.
- Coding helps children become more confident because they will thrive off the positive feedback they receive and the sense of accomplishment they’ll feel when they finish creating something.
- Coding is another language. It has its own grammar and syntactic rules. It teaches children how to communicate in a different way, strengthening both their verbal and written skills. It’s a good idea to expose youngsters to different languages from a young age to help them understand the world around them to a greater degree.
- By learning to code, children develop a skill that will help them in the future. They will have more employment opportunities and a competitive advantage because experienced computer programmers are hard to come by. As a result, the salaries are often higher, so it’s certainly a skill that may help your child lead a successful adult life.
- Coding can also be a social activity because they can collaborate with their peers on a project or engage in competitions. As a result, they become more familiar with teamwork.
Individually, these benefits are enough to understand the positive reasons why learning to code is so important. When these skills are combined, one could argue that coding is one of the most valuable pursuits of the 21st century. The various skills that are developed through coding can benefit your child in so many areas of their life. For instance, by improving their confidence, learning to code can help your child feel more comfortable making new friends or engaging in classroom discussions. As they become better problem solvers, they will be more equipped to deal with other challenges, such as exams. So, coding can help children on both a personal and academic level.
How Can I Help My Child Learn to Code?
Now that you know the benefits of coding for kids, you may be wondering how you can help your child get started. There are plenty of coding resources available to both parents and teachers so that your child and/or pupils can learn through engaging games and self-guided challenges. The idea is to get children involved with coding without it feeling boring; it is a ‘gamified’ experience to keep them engaged.
You may think it sounds crazy to ask your young child to picture themselves building something like an app, but you’ll be pleased to know that coding isn’t just something that big kids can learn. Even primary school children can practise coding because there are different degrees of complexity. Some of the simpler elements of coding are well with the grasp of younger students, so there’s no time like the present to start. In fact, the sooner they start their coding journey, the easier they will find it as they get older.