Learning coding is much like learning a second language. It is something that potentially valuable for your children even if they do not go directly into computer programming. Knowing basic website and app coding can be a huge advantage.
There are a few simple tools you can use to teach your kids web design and coding at home. The first step is to purchase them a domain of their own, a place where they can play. Once you have done that, here are a few ways you can teach coding and web design at home.
There are several games that teach kids the basics of web coding and programming. Everything from HTML, which has a limited number of commands, to Java and other programs can be learned through gamification.
Apps like Swift Playground even let kids learn the “if/then” programming they will need to create their own apps and code responsive websites.
Get the Right Toys
Sure, you can get games to explore programming, but there are toys that teach the same thing even to very young children. Things like Sphero robots that come in shapes like Star Wars characters and Lightning McQueen from the movie Cars can be either remote controlled or programmed to follow routes and even perform simple tasks.
Through playing with these toys, kids learn the basics of coding and beyond, making them a valuable teaching tool at home.
Some of these toys can be expensive, so consider creating a co-op with other parents and sharing them. This makes this learning affordable for families who could not afford them on their own and eases the financial burden for those who can.
Take Classes and Camps
Even if you do not grasp the advanced elements of coding, there are classes both online and in person that you can even take with your children to broaden your own understanding. These are offered by sites like Lynda.com, which you can often access for free with your library card, or in camps and classes held by various organizations.
Apple offers programing camps and classes for kids in their stores as field trips or summer activities. Libraries also offer coding camps and classes, often using games and toys as part of the teaching and learning process. Most of the time these classes are free.
Many school districts are also offering coding classes as part of their curriculum. These classes are being introduced for younger students all the time. What used to be a junior high or high school elective is now available to elementary students as well.
Apply What They’ve Learned
Once your kids have become proficient with coding, let them apply what they have learned to the website they have created. Make the scenarios as realistic as possible. If they have created a site for babysitting services or lawn mowing, have them code the site properly, optimize it for SEO, and even take it live to try to earn customers.
In this case, consider partnering with other parents and kids as well. You can use the site to create a neighborhood or community resource where adults can connect with kids willing to do work for them around their homes.
Also, you may want to consider assigning them bigger projects. Help them create a family tree website, or a website for your next family reunion. Giving them real work lets them see results, interactions with their code, and can even help them learn to troubleshoot issues in real time.
Teaching your kids to code and do web design at home gives them a boost at school, and can potentially give them a career boost in the long run. The only thing you have to do is be open, play games, get the right tools, get them to classes, and enable them to apply what they have learned.