Back in 2014, coding became part of the UK’s computing curriculum, with children as young as five being introduced to programming skills. In the years that have passed, there’s been a real focus on this all-new syllabus for pupils in primary and secondary schools – and we’re already seeing impressive results.
Last summer, pupils from one school used their knowledge to take pictures of Earth from the International Space Station. And there’s a Young Coders Competition for children to get involved in.
Whether you’re a teacher trying to introduce this type of computing to your pupils or you’re a parent thinking of ways to ignite their imagination at home, here are some ideas to help you.
What is coding?
Coding is, in its simplest terms, setting out a set of instructions for a computer program to follow. It’s like a language we use to communicate with computers and everything from the smallest functions to the most advanced computer setups use.
While there are different levels when you’re showing coding ideas to children, it’s best to keep things simple to begin with and build from there.
How to introduce code to kids
So, how to get young people into coding. Here are some ideas to help you make it accessible, informative, and – most importantly – fun:
- Keep it engaging
If you’re teaching coding to younger kids, it’s worth remembering that their worlds mostly involve play. Therefore, turning coding into a game will help them to develop coding skills without them even realising they’re doing it. Move the Turtle is ideal for children aged five and over.
However, teens also benefit from engaging programs that make coding fun for them. Scratch, for example, is a popular option that offers basic coding games. It’s used by schools across the UK and it’s used by pupils aged eight up to 16.
- Keep it simple
Using software and hardware designed especially for younger users is the perfect way to make coding simple and fun. By choosing something like the BBC micro:bit to program a hovercraft, for example, you’re teaching the children that they can make cool creations with the niftiest mini computers.
- Let them take charge
Once you’ve shown them the basics, allow the children to get creative. Giving them the opportunity to use their imaginations to build on what they’ve learned is a great way for them to both engage with and enjoy coding.
How will you introduce your children to coding? What will they build using their mini computer?
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