It’s no secret that children can benefit from puzzles and challenges from the very earliest points in their life. And, this can be extended to programming. Afterall, programming a computer is simply a set of mathematical and logical puzzles. In some areas of the world, like China, this idea has already been adopted. And, in these areas, it’s proven to be a great success. But, it’s not worth waiting until your kid’s school catches on. It’s best to start early and start at home. To help you out, this post will go through some good places to start with your kids, at different ages.
- Infants/Toddlers (2 to 4)
For children this age, you have to go slowly. You can’t introduce them to a keyboard before they can read and write. So, you need something else. Thankfully, toy companies have cottoned on to the programming craze. And, they’ve started producing toys that can prepare young children for a life of programming. Toys like the Fisher Price Code-A-Pillar are a great place to start, without overwhelming your child. Toys like this use colored lights and sounds to give you child a tangible result from their programming. These toys will allow the child the manipulate its shape, changing the lights and sounds that the toy creates. Over time, your child will start to learn how to create a desired result with the toy. This is the very foundations of programming.
- Young Children (5 to 8)
Between these ages, you can let your child have a bit more freedom. At this point, it is a good time to introduce them to a computer and the Internet. Several companies have come out with websites and software that enable your child to start programming early. They don’t have to write code, and they can see results immediately. Lightbot.com, for example, allows children to control a small man through mazes and puzzles, all through code blocks. This teaches your child to think through each stage of an operation, considering every step. This is one of the hardest parts of programming for a lot of adults to grasp, due to it’s inhuman nature. So, it’s good to start early to avoid difficulty later on.
- Older Children (9+)
Once your children get a bit older, you can give them, even more, freedom. At this point, children can be introduced to basic programming. Ideally, you should aim for something that reads as close to normal writing as possible. This is where an Arduino comes in. An Arduino is a small computer that can read and process simple commands. You can use an Arduino to control an array of different electronic items, like motors and bulbs. The code is very logical to humans, and it’s easy to read. This makes an Arduino a great place to start with real programming. This will help to further your child’s progress when it comes to programming and will help them to branch out.
Hopefully, this will inspire you to get you kids working with computers. Remember; this will give your child an early start in what could be an essential skill in the future. Having this under their belt can only be good.