Children are such wonderful beings in the sense that they seek out fun and at the same time are keen to experiment, learn and try new things. The biggest key to getting kids to learn is to maintain their focus and attention (obviously). To do that, you need to have something fun and interesting tricks up your sleeve. In this post you’ll find 6 wonderful programmes and apps that you’ll need to get kids learning code for fun!
You don’t need to have kids to know that their attention spans can be pretty short. Think back to your days in education. What we’re your favourite subjects? I can guarantee they were the classes where the teacher was a little quirky and funny or the lessons where it seemed like you did more playing than learning. And you more than likely got good grades in these subjects. We need to use exactly the same principle to get kids learning code for fun. Being talked at from behind a desk will do no good whatsoever and probably put kids off of learning code!
Children are such wonderful beings in the sense that they seek out fun and at the same time are keen to experiment, learn and try new things.
From the moment children come into this world they learn by doing, more so than by listening. A baby might put a lemon in her mouth, make a funny face because of the sour taste and then never pick up a lemon again. Children learn through doing and through their experiences and interactions. So it makes sense that the best way to make learning code fun for kids is to make it playful! Keep reading and you’ll discover some amazing programmes and apps that do just that!
Websites & Programmes
It should come as no surprise that the best way for kids to learn code is online, not in an exercise book. These days, kids are growing up with technology from a much younger age and quickly become confident with it. I have seen children that can’t even walk but can use their moms smartphone to watch videos of Peppa Pig on Youtube. How crazy is that!? This is the world we live in now. So instead of just giving kids phones and tablets that they know how to interact with, it seems only right that we get kids learning code for fun and show them what goes on behind the scenes of the technology their using.
“KidsRuby makes it fun and easy for kids to learn how to programme” is what it says on their site. KidsRuby is free to use and is aimed at kids of an elementary school level. You can download it for Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems, so no matter what computer you have, you can start to get your kids learning code for fun. The overall look of the site is colorful, enticing and appealing for kids, not intimidating at all. On this site kids can write and test code in real time with split screen text editor and output sections. The aim is in the name – to teach kids the ruby programing language and how to create simple programs using ruby code. KidsRuby is a great way to get kids learning code for fun!
Alice.org is also free but aimed at kids of a middle school level. It allows kids to create movies in 3D and simple games as well. This is an awesome way to get kids learning code for fun as a huge number of kids use computer gaming consoles. What’s more exciting for a kid than being able to create your own computer based game?! This platform also uses a drag and drop interface as not to be intimidating.
Alice is an innovative block-based programming environment that makes it easy to create animations, build interactive narratives, or program simple games in 3D. Unlike many of the puzzle-based coding applications Alice motivates learning through creative exploration. – alice.org
Not only is Alice an awesome way to get kids learning code for fun, there’s also research to back up the positive effects it can have on performance and attendance in IT classes. So not only will your kids have fun learning code, it could improve their grades. That’s pretty awesome if you ask me.
As with KidsRuby, Scratch is aimed at elementary level kids and is free. Kids can create stories, games and animations using code and share them with friends. Colored blocks of code connect together a bit like Lego and it uses a drag and drop interface to create projects. It’s appearance is colorful and not at all intimidating. The social sharing aspect of this platform will get kids learning code for fun as it becomes something they can do and share with their friends. They can look at and see the inner workings of any shared projects which will increase their understanding and creativity with code.
Handheld mobile devices have become more used than desktops and laptops. A lot of kids now have their own tablet device to keep them entertained. But did you know that there are apps that can teach kids how to code? Well you do now! Instead of mindlessly watching videos on youtube, you can encourage your kids to play on these apps and get your kids learning code for fun! How freaking awesome is that?! I’m going to give you a quick overview of Hopscotch, Daisy The Dinosaur and ScratchJr apps. I’ll let your kids give you a more detailed tour of how they work.
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Hopscotch is designed for kids 8 years and older. It allows kids to create apps or games in minutes. It’s super colorful and fun looking and will catch your kids attention from the word go! This app was created by a team of dedicated parents, scientist and educators. Not only do kids get to code in this app, they get to play fun and interactive games as they do along. This is sure to keep their attention!
I love Hopscotch because when you create something, it feels like you have accomplished something amazing. – Winning Monkey, Hopscotcher
Daisy the Dinosaur
This app is aimed at the youngest age range of kids 4+. It’s incredibly basic and easy to use with it’s drag and drop interface. It teaches kids some of the basic principles of code. Procedures, loops and conditionals. All they have to do is drag and drop commands to Daisy the Dinosaur! What a clever way to get kids learning code for fun! It’s whimsical and by using a fun character, kids will see it as a fun game rather than learning to code. But you and I know that it’s really setting the foundations for their coding education. Sneaky!
This is an app for young children (ages 5-7) where they can programme their own interactive stories and games. It works on a drag and drop interface where blocks of code are put together to bring the animated cartoon characters to life. It allows kids to customize the characters and even create a character of themselves which they can animate. It gives them ultimate creative freedom and will be sure to get your kids learning to code for fun! As well as being fun it teaches kids how to think like a computer, problem solving, how to design and how to communicate their ideas. Not only are these great coding skills, they’re also transferable life skills that kids need to learn. This app is a sure fire way to get kids learning code for fun!
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Get kids learning code for fun
We can’t just expect kids to WANT to learn to code. They need to be encouraged and these programs and apps do just that by using a fun and enticing interface. They make learning to code see more like a game than a lesson which is just what they need. As we said at the beginning, kids learn through play. They want to have fun as well as learn and explore new things. Get kids learning code for fun by using these programmes and apps and also by encouraging and making their experiences with code positive. Set some rock solid foundations for their coding education and open up their future prospects!