Teaching Kids to Code
POSTED ON MARCH 16, 2022
teaching kids to code for future success

From apps to video games to artificial intelligence, coding has become one of the most important skills to learn in the 21st century!

In this overview, we’ll introduce you to the world of coding languages, as well as share with you why every kid should learn coding skills.

Ready to learn about all things coding? Let’s go!

little-girl-practicing-her-coding-lesson

What are Coding Languages?

Before we jump into it, you might be asking yourself a question: what is coding?

Coding (aka computer programming) is what makes software, websites, and apps work. Programming languages allow coders to communicate with computers and instruct them to perform various tasks.

There are different types of coding languages, including drag-and-drop ones like Scratch and text-based ones like JavaScript. When it comes to teaching kids coding, it should be both enriching and entertaining!

Why Learn to Code?

Simply put, coding is key to both the present and future!

What do Minecraft, TikTok, and websites have in common? From games to web browsers to animation, it all runs on code! TikTok, for example, was made with Java (one of the main programming languages).

Along with improving critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, coding can also help you express your creative side. Blending both logic and creativity makes computer programming one of the most rewarding & fun subjects for learners of all ages!

Below, you’ll find some of the main benefits of becoming a young programmer.

Soft Skill Development

Coding isn’t all about computers. Kids who learn to code also develop important soft skills. A soft skill is a skill that helps you to work well with other people. To be a successful coder (or successful & happy person in general), soft skills are invaluable!

There are five main soft skills that coding helps to build. These include communication, problem solving, creativity, perseverance, and teamwork. Along with learning how to code, kids can become confident, thoughtful, and productive adults!

Everyday Life Skills

Along with many soft skills, which can also be technically placed in the same category, young programmers also gain several life skills.

What are some life skills that come from coding? Math skills is one, from angles to quadrants. It also helps to develop skills like determination, courage, and the ability to place things in context.

Preparation for Future Economy

Coding offers so many benefits, including preparing for careers. When it comes to the work of the future, having this skill set will open up some many different doors!

From machine learning to robotics to space exploration, there are endless opportunities for students that learn to code now.

Currently, the most in-demand careers that require coding skills are as follows: computer programmer, software application developer, web developer, database administrator, machine learning specialist, and computer systems engineer.

Into more creative or artistic activities? Coding has that covered, too! Whether you’re interested in game design or digital art, there are many interesting opportunities.

Explore private 1:1 coding courses!

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Best Programming Languages for Kids

Ideal for ages 8-18, the following computer languages are great stepping stones to lifelong appreciation and learning of computer science and programming!

CSS

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and HTML work hand in hand to form most webpages!

If HTML is the body, then CSS can be seen as the clothes and accessories. In other words, it adds style to webpages. (Note: CSS is actually not a programming language but something called a mark-up language.)

HTML

While CSS adds style to a webpage, HTML adds structure to it all!

Short for HyperText Markup Language, HTML is a great language for beginners. It’s easy to read, and it’s also the backbone for web development and web design. As the full name implies, it’s also a mark-up language along with CSS.

Java

Along with Python—more on this language coming up—Java is one of the main text-based computer languages.

As a general-purpose language, Java can be found on nearly every device! This is because it's ideal for mobile operating systems. From Android apps and games, Java is the backbone of many of the most popular names around (including TikTok)!

JavaScript

Used alongside HTML and CSS, JavaScript (JS) is one of the most popular languages!

JS boosts interactivity and user experience on webpages, online games, and mobile apps. It’s so useful, you can find it on virtually every web browser on the planet. As a text-based scripting language, JavaScript is one of the best for young students!

Python

When it comes to coding languages for beginners, Python is near the top of the list!

With an easy-to-read syntax, Python is typically the first text-based language recommended for younger kids. From game programming to web development, this language is both intuitive and easy to learn!

Scratch

Last but not least, we have Scratch!

Developed at MIT, Scratch is a visual and block-based language that does away with complicated text. Coders instead build their own games, interactive stories, and animation with the use of handy blocks!

How to Get Kids Interested in Coding

So, the big question: how do you actually get kids interested in coding?

The answer is pretty easy! All you have to do is connect it to things that kids already enjoy. For example, does a student like games like Minecraft or Roblox? Those popular games are built with code!

Even if a kid isn’t into video games or many things computer-related, you can still make a connection. Take sports, for instance. If a student is into basketball, you can connect the world of data science and statistics to their passion for the sport.

What makes it easy to connect coding to so many different interests is that it’s everywhere! So, sparking interest isn’t that hard. Keeping it going, however, is a more difficult task.

The key is to get them to learn coding basics and build it from there. The right resources and tutoring can help out a lot. Juni offers tailored guidance via our online coding courses!

Where to Start with Programming

Starting from... well... the beginning? Here are some of the top coding resources to help aspiring coders build a solid foundation!

Juni Learning

From complete beginners to competitive coders, we teach 8-18 year olds a wide range of computer science skills and programming languages. Our courses are designed by Stanford computer science graduates and ex-Googlers. We offer private one-on-one instruction, self-guided courses, and group bootcamps.

Code.org

Great for grade levels K-12, code.org is one of the largest providers of computer science curriculum in the United States. Along with providing resources to classrooms all over the nation, the organization also offers online computer science courses on its website.

Hopscotch

As an alternative to Scratch (more on that below), Hopscotch is a coding app that makes it easy to create games, stories, and art! Available on iPad and iPhone, the app helps with both critical thinking and creativity.

Scratch

As we mentioned early, Scratch is a visual, drag-and-drop programming language (ideal for younger students). As a free platform, Scratch allows kids to easily create their own games, animations, and interactive stories. This is all done with Lego-like blocks!

Sphero

Offering educational robots and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) curriculum, Sphero makes the world of robots and coding super fun & accessible. It also covers a wide age range, from pre-kindergartners to high schoolers.

Tynker

Considered one of the best coding platforms for kids, Tynker is “the fun way to learn programming.” The platform is built on interactive story-based learning and block-based coding, which helps young programmers prepare for more advanced languages.

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Final Thoughts on Coding for Kids

From artificial intelligence to space exploration, many doors are opening up for a new generation. Knowing how to write code can prepare kids for all kinds of future hobbies and careers. We’re also currently seeing the birth of the next major innovations!

Computer science and programming languages are not only the building blocks for many STEAM careers. These efforts also get kids to be more curious about the world around them. This in term encourages lifelong learning.

Whether you want to build your own apps, web browsers or robots, solid coding skills are super important! In order for beginners to successfully learn coding concepts and apply them to real-world applications, it helps to pick the right tutorials and guidance.

Keep Learning

Thanks for reading our overview on teaching kids to code! Looking for the best way to teach your kids to code? Our friendly & knowledgeable instructors are ready to provide your student (age range 8-18) with handy 1:1 guidance through our online coding courses.

Explore all of our coding courses for kids (ages 8-18), or contact our Advisor Team by calling (650) 263-4306 or emailing advisors@learnwithjuni.com to learn which courses are best for your student’s coding journey.


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