How To Learn Coding For Kids

How To Learn Coding for Kids: A Girl Learning Coding On Her Tablet

How do we learn coding for kids?

How to learn coding for kids? Whether you are a parent, guardian or a teacher for kids, I assume that we agree on the same opinion that kids should learn how to code. That’s why we are here, right?

First things first, we need to have a clear understanding of two confusing words that we commonly hear in the programming world… Yup! I said programming world not coding world… Well, programming and coding are nowadays often interchangeably used in place of each other… But are they the same or different?

Should we learn coding or programming?… What is the difference between a code and a program?

Let’s iron out the confusion…

Coding is simply the process of writing instructions that the machine understands and prompts it to do some action. Those lines of instruction are called code.

Programming, on the other hand, is the process of writing a set of instructions to make a machine execute and accomplish a certain task. A set or a series of codes that makes up a software or an application is called a program. A program is usually written to accomplish a specific task or tasks. It is an executable series of codes done to offer a solution.

Since both involve writing instructions for the machine, people indistinguishably use them and even made coding a slang for programming. But would you prefer to be called a coder or a programmer? πŸ™‚

A line of instruction is a code and a series of instructions or a set of codes is a program. All programs are composed of codes but not all codes are programs.

In a sense, programming is broader than coding.

However, nobody can do programming if he has not learn coding!

Simple Steps on How to Learn Coding for Kids:

A Mom's and a girl's hands on a coding for kids board game

How to learn coding to kids can be a bit challenging. So we need to equip ourselves with lots of patience and understanding for our little learners. We need them more than the knowledge on the subject matter itself.

Although it is an advantage if we are proficient on coding but it is not also a problem if we are not. We can learn it together with them and it can actually be fun! Teach by learning they say. (However, if you are teaching in a formal school environment it is better to prepare before coming to class!)

Here are three simple steps to start with.

  • Pique Their Interest. Kids can best learn coding if they are interested and excited about it. Failing to do this will result in frustration on both you and the kid. It is very important to keep them intrigued and curious about coding. Introducing what coding is and making them understand its importance will help pique their interest on coding. Just keep in mind to make the learning experience for you and the kids FUN.
  • Prepare the Right Device and Software. A very important part before starting to teach coding for kids is having the proper digital device and installing the necessary software. Although it is possible to learn programming or coding without a device and use our creativity. It is still preferable if we have a tablet, a laptop or a desktop for computer coding. Some coding platforms requires a software or an application to be downloaded so make sure this has been properly installed before starting the class. This will also give way to easy transitioning from beginner to the next level.
  • Choose the Right Coding Platform. In choosing the right platform, the age of the learner should be considered. Nowadays, programming are introduced and can be done in various ways depending on the level and age of the learner. There are a lot of available coding platforms online. Some of them are totally free of charge and some has fees. According to your needs and purpose you can choose which one will suit you.

Read the articles Best Free Coding Sites for Kids, What is Lego Education WeDo 2.0 Core Set?

Coding is Cool

Let them know that coding is cool. Point out how the phones, television, cars, robots and many automated things they see around have more or less coded programs within them. This could pique the kids curiosity and interest. Thus, encouraging them to become eager learners.

It will also help if you show them how robotics and coding helped and gave hope to others. How it turned the impossible possible. You can emphasize how it changed the lives of some people turn for the better.

You can read the article “Robotic Arm Prosthesis: An Exciting New Hope for the Lost Limbs“. This article gave a glimpse of the development of arm prosthesis. Consequently, you can let the kids imagine how they would feel if they would see somebody who lost a limb. You can tell them the story of how prosthesis became a necessity and how it had developed throughout the years.

Afterwards, point up how cool computer coding helped in making amazing robotic arm prosthesis.

Learn Coding with Games.

Perhaps you will agree, that to learn coding with games is the best way. Kids always want to have fun. In almost everything, kids measure them with the level of fun they can have. For that reason, even in education, it is of great importance that kids enjoy learning.

Hence, a promise of fun in coding is a sure way of getting and keeping the kids’ attention. And when kids hear the word FUN that means GAMES!!! All kids love games. And coding games for kids are the sure way to attract their attention to learn coding.

Recently, a variety of coding board games for kids are out in the market.

Check out the list below of some coding games for kids for your reference:

DIY Coding Board Game

We can agree that it is an excellent idea to let the kids learn to code with games. However, in case, you want the kids to learn to code with games while saving some bucks. We just need to turn to our creative self to come up with ideas to get them to come up with our very own coding games for kids.

In relation to that, we can create our own coding board game using cards. It may require effort and a bit of creativity on our part but I’m sure, it is certainly worth it.

Let’s make it…

1. Prepare 5cm x 5cm blank cards. Prepare as many blank cards as you can (from 30 to a hundred pieces or more). The more the better. This will serve as the game board. For younger learners or beginners, we can use at least 30 cards. Then, we can increase the number of cards for advance learners or raise the difficulty of the mission.

Option: We can also draw squares on a big card board. One card board containing 30 squares (formed like 5 x 6 table) for beginners. Another big card board for intermediate level with at least 50 or 60 squares. Then, a hundred or more squares for advance level.

Note: The size of the squares can be adjusted as desired.

2. Print 3cm x 3cm picture cards. These will serve as missions, obstacles and goals. Missions are flexible and can vary according to the teacher’s imagination and creativity. As an example, make FRUIT cards and a FRUIT BASKET card.

3. Make 3cm x 3cm arrow cards. These cards will represent the moves needed to accomplish the mission. Print UP, DOWN, LEFT and RIGHT arrow cards in different colors to distinguish one from the other (or better put a label). Make ten or more arrow cards for each direction.

4. Make 3cm x 3cm number cards. Print the numbers 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x, 6x, 7x, 8x, 9x and 10x. Make five or more cards for each number.

5. Print START, STOP and FINISH cards. Make five or more cards for each word.

✨ TIP: For advance learners, prepare a good number of smaller (1.5cm x 1.5cm) start, stop, arrow and number cards and a coding board.

Let’s start playing….

The beauty in creating our own board game is that it allows us to be creative. We can design our own mission and rules.

Game Idea: Yummy Fruits

Mission.

A DIY Coding for Kids Board Game

The goal of this game is simply to gather the fruits scattered across the game board and place them in the fruit basket. This is not a racing game in which only one wins. In this game, everyone who successfully gather and put the fruits in the basket is a winner.

However, for the advance learners, we can choose somebody who used fewer codes or steps in accomplishing the task as the winner. For the reason that in actual programming practices, the simpler and fewer codes used in accomplishing a task are better.

Game Instructions.

  • Lay the game board. For beginners or younger kids 30 blank cards game board might be enough. Then increase the number accordingly to introduce a challenge or complexity on the game. The number of blank cards depends on the level of difficulty you want to impose.
  • Determine the location of START and FINISH cards on the board (can be anywhere… just keep them apart ^-^). These cards location can be change in every play to help the kids develop their analytical and problem-solving skills in a variety of perspectives.
  • Place the FRUIT BASKET card on top of the FINISH card.
  • Set at least three or four FRUIT CARDS on the beginners game board. For advance game board, increase the number of fruit cards as needed.

Game Time…

For beginners. Let the kids take turns in collecting a FRUIT CARD and bring it to the FRUIT BASKET.

  • Choose a FRUIT CARD.
  • From the START card, place the necessary ARROW CARDs going to where the chosen FRUIT CARD is and then place more ARROW cards heading to the FRUIT BASKET.
  • Show to the kids how the code will look like.

Sample mission 1: PUT THE BANANAS IN THE FRUIT BASKET

A DIY Coding for Kids Board Game

In solution 1, in order to get the bananas you have to put two LEFT arrows, two UP arrows to get the bananas then another three UP arrows to the fruit basket (making a total of straight five UP arrows).

Hence, the code shows, LEFT 2x, UP 5x. This is equivalent to two lines of code excluding start and stop.

A DIY Coding for Kids Board Game

In solution 2, in order to get the bananas you have to put two UP arrows, two LEFT arrows to get the bananas then three UP arrows to the fruit basket.

Hence, the code shows, UP 2x, LEFT 3x and UP 3x.

Notice that the code is longer than solution 1.

🧐 TIP 1: In this mission, aside from the solutions shown above, there are still other solutions available. Let the kids try to find out those and come up with the equivalent codes. Then, have a discussion with the kids which one among the solutions do they think is the best and why.

🧐 TIP 2: Let the kids think of solutions and codes for the other fruits too.

Sample mission 2: PUT ALL FRUITS IN THE FRUIT BASKET

For advance learners. Let the kids come up with the solution on their own coding board at a set time.

  • Present a mission like collect all the fruits and put them in the fruit basket. Give each kid their own coding boards and set of instruction cards (start, stop, arrows and number cards).
  • Set out the game board, determine the START and FINISH location and spread the fruit cards across the board. We can also make and add other picture cards such as house, trees, river or animals to be placed as obstacles on the board (optional).
  • Let the kids come up with a solution on their coding boards within a time limit like 5 minutes.
  • When the time is up, let the kids show their codes and present it to the class.
  • The winner is the one who will be able to come up with the simplest and shortest code to accomplish the task.

✨ TIP: We can use this mission board game to encourage the kids to learn basic chores such as putting the books back in the bookshelves, putting the toys back in the toy box, arranging the shoes on the shoe racks, arranging clothes in the closet and many more. There is actually a lot of activity ideas that we can incorporate in this game. We can also ask the kids for mission ideas that they want to accomplish. Our imagination is the limit. Just remember to print out and make the corresponding picture cards of the activity in mind.

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32 Replies to “How To Learn Coding For Kids”

  1. Hello there!

    That is really a great and awesome article you have there. It is very much educative and helpful for not only kids but adults as well because I got to learn some new things while reading through even as an adult. Truly I feel the need for kids to get some ideas on Coding as well, I hope many parents and guardians get to see this awesome piece.

    Thanks.

  2. Hi there,

    I landed on your website because I was looking for something useful for my sister’s little son. This looks great, but boy, these codes are challenging to understand. However, I’ve read somewhere that children can learn very quickly. So I am going to give it a try anyway. What if he doesn’t like the game? Can I still return it after open the game?

    Thank you very much!

    1. Hello Daniella!

      Thank you for giving my site a visit!

      First, I want to clarify that I am not selling anything (yet) on my site. The list of board games above are simply for reference only. The DIY board game is something which you can follow and make at home.

      Also, if you can explain to me further which part of the codes were challenging for you, I will be more than willing to give you a hand.

      May I know how old is your sister’s son? I have another article titled “Best Free Coding Sites for Kids” which you may also check.

      Best Regards,
      Rose

  3. Oh, this is a very fun method to teach my nephew about coding. I only know the basics of programming since I learned about it a little in college. The programming concept is actually useful in many situations. It also teaches us about logic. This DIY board game is fun and I will ask my nephew to play this game with me, though I will custom the fruits into something else that he likes. Thanks!

    1. I’m glad you liked it Alex. That DIY board game is actually my own idea. As long as you understand the basic concept of how to apply coding on the game, then you’re off to a good start!

  4. You know this is a great article and a good idea. I have never thought about the possibility for kids to learn to code. If you asked me, I’d most likely say it’s too much for them. But, after reading your article and tips on how to learn to code for kids, I changed my mind. They should be learning coding specifically at these times when the internet is taking over offline life. 

    I also learned from your post the difference between coding and programming. 

    Thanks for all the info πŸ™‚ 
    Sunny

    1. You’re welcome Sunny!

      I feel satisfied whenever somebody finds my articles helpful and informative. I really hope a lot of parents and teachers with their kids would benefit from this post.

  5. Coding is important today. but I can’t imagine how important it will be when our kids are grown-ups. All the guys that have created very succesful companies learnt to code as kids: Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Larry Page and Larry Page y Sergey Brin.

    Thanks for empowering us with these useful ideas of how to get our children started with coding.

  6. thank you for this instruction. I am a blogger but with an interest in coding. Although I failed, i have always thought of how to start up early with my son who is 6 years old. Getting the games will be a good way of catching his attention. Even the older once who are about 10 too will still be interested in thegames. I will check them all out and bookmark your page. I am glad to follow you 

  7. Hello there! Thank you very much for sharing this article on how to learn coding for kids. It might make me look dumb but I didn’t really know that coding could be learnt online. That is a really good development, teaching kids these things before they grow up will help them reach a level of professionalism very quickly. As an adult I don’t know anything about coding and I’m thinking of learning as well. Thank you for this 

  8. With my little programming knowledge, it is quite a difficult one, and tasking, and never I have pictured children as having the capability to comprehend such a difficult thing.

    But from what I have read so far, I think is amazing to know that from a younger age, children will get a grasp of coding, and am glad I am fully able to decipher the different usage of the word coding and programming.

    1. Well, you might be surprised how quick kids can get into programming!

      I might come up with How to Learn Coding for Beginners (Grownups).
      It might not be easy but I will try.

  9. Hello Rose, Thank you very much for sharing this beautiful article, I am really happy I came across this. I have just educated myself a little bit on coding just by reading this, the article was Highly informative Now I am interested in learning Coding even tho I am all grown, the steps used to teach wouldn’t really be as effective but thanks For this, I would share with friends I know would want their kids to get on with something like this

    1. Hello! I am glad you found my article beautiful and that this made you happy!

      I might write an article about Coding for Beginners (Grownups).
      Not easy but I will try.

  10. I agree with you when you recommend every kid should learn coding, as the world is moving forward to be online on almost everything, any kid that learns coding early in life will be ready to do better at school and later for any type of job they want to work on, the idea that today even farmers are looking for a way to run their farms with a computer, and I should say, I mention farmers as they are the base of any economy around the world, I will forward your article to my son, I’m sure he will be happy to find a website where he can find more information to help his son to learn coding at home!

    1. Hi Alejandra!

      You’re absolutely right. These days things are not just getting automated but Robotics technology and AI are being applied almost everywhere including farming. I heard about smart farming. I might dig deeper and write something about it.

  11. This is a very informative and helpful post on how to learn coding for kids. Thank you for the clarification on coding and programming, as I invariably used them as if they are the same. I would be interested to know what would be a minimum or good age for kids to start coding. 

    I had previously heard that Python is the language that is easy for kids to learn and that it is used to write code for games, so would be curious to know if that forms the background to your game. The instructions you have given for the game is so comprehensive, that I will definitely give it a try. 

    1. Hello! Python is high-level programming language and is gaining popularity for its easy-to-learn aspect. I might write a separate article about this.

      The game in this article is actually not a digital one so there is no actual programming involved yet.
      It is a DIY board game (my own idea) designed to introduce programming concepts to younger kids without exposing them to the harmful bluelight from computers and other digital devices yet.

      However, my next article will be on coding sites available for kids. And maybe next will be on the different programming languages for our little programmers.

  12. Hi Rose. Coding is something I had not thought of before. It was well written and good information here. For kids (mine are already grown up and have left the home) it would have been a good tool to learn. Making it fun and interesting for the children would definitely be the way to teach it. This is valuable for the kids and their future. Good job!

    1. Hello! I’m happy that you found my article valuable. You might want to recommend this for your grandchildren. I will appreciate it very much! πŸ™‚
      Thank you John!

  13. Hello, I’ll first of all start by saying a big thank you because I knew thought I could know much about coding just by going through your article, it’s been really help and I appreciate. The world is evolving and coding could be taking the pace in a little time. Thanks for this

  14. I keep telling myself that if i couldn’t learn then my kids will. Coding is perhaps the greatest skill you could involve your kids with. I believe could be unstoppable if he or she learnt how to code at just a tender age. I agree with you a hundred percent that kids ought to learn how to code. Thank you for sharing this wonderful article

  15. Hi, great and detailed coding article with relevant information. I have to admit that I came across this topic for the first time on your site and thank you for meeting me and helping me learn more about coding. Your article is as much fun as it is informative Thank you and keep up the good work.

  16. Wow impressive post! Eventhough this article title is HOW TO LEARN CODING FOR KIDS as an adult I dont even know anything about coding. With the advance in technology, we really do need coding these days, and I always wanted to know more about coding. I have a lot to learn from this post so I will be book marking this article.

  17. As a programmer myself I must say learning coding isn’t a very easy thing as it requires alot of self determination, I start to learn how to code with flutter and dart framework by Google and it has been really good…I must say if it was possible to get a kid to learn coding then it would be so awesome, because before they get older they would have attained a professional level.

    1. Hello Nelson!

      You’re absolutely right. Real coding is not really easy especially if it involves a complex task to accomplish. Patience and determination are definitely needed. I haven’t heard about Flutter and Dart Framework by Google. I might check them out. Thank you for the information.

      These days coding for kids comes in colorful puzzle like pieces. Kudos to the developers and programmers who came up with those ideas. Learning how to code for kids has never been this fun!

      I would be happy to hear more suggestions on coding from you.

  18. Hello, this is a very awesome piece and a very detailed one. I’m really happy I came across this as the information I’m getting from other sources is standard. I have been hearing about coding but never knew it can be learned online. Thank you very much I am learning so much from here keep it up.

    1. Hello Brenda! I’m happy that you find this article helpful. Nowadays almost everything can be learned online including coding. My next article will be about the different coding sites available for kids. Please be free to come and visit my site again.

      The DIY Coding Board Game is my own idea. Later I may come up with a DOWNLOADABLE file for that.

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