So, your child has developed a love of Minecraft. And now, all they’re talking about is mining for elements, exploding Creepers, and creating their own skins using Java. Chances are, all of this talk probably sounds like gibberish! And while you’ll need to get your child to explain what Creepers are, one thing you can begin to develop a basic understanding of is Java.

Java what?

Java is a programming language, which is what computer programs use to implement commands and algorithms. In more basic terminology, programming (or coding) languages provide instructions to computers.

coding kids

You Might Be A Nerd If... by Tower

So when your child is talking about creating a skin using Java, they’re really talking about creating a computer code! And, Java is just one of many programming languages. In fact, there are many different ways children are beginning to learn about coding languages. There are even toys targeted towards toddlers that teach basic coding skills.

Benefits of kids learning to code

You might be wondering why you should care about your child learning programming languages and whether or not this is even a skillset that they need. After all, many adults know nothing about coding, and they’re doing just fine!

However, we’re living in the digital age, and learning to code now could give your child better career opportunities in the future. It is predicted that coding, in some capacity, will be needed in many future careers.

Coding is becoming a digital literacy. By learning how to code, children learn how to plan and organize thoughts, problem solve, and apply math to real-world situations. Coding is already starting to be taught as part of the STEM curriculums in many classrooms!

Plus, coding can help foster creativity. Returning to the Minecraft example, children that know how to code with Java can develop their own character skins that they can then play with in-game. And there are plenty of other software platforms that are encouraging children to code in creative ways!

Coding languages for kids

Many children get started by learning through a visual block platform that gets rid of the need for typing. These coding languages include Scratch and Blockly, both of which were specifically designed to teach children how to code.

Once children have mastered coding through a visual block platform, they’re ready to learn a text-based programming language. These are the languages that are used for more serious programming, such as what you would use to develop a website, app, or game. Some text-based programming languages to consider include Python, Lua (the coding language Roblox is built from), and Java.

While visual block platforms are great for introducing kids to coding and getting them excited, they ultimately will need to learn a text-based programming language in order to become proficient.

Getting started with a coding language

Yes, some schools are starting to incorporate basic lessons on coding into STEM lessons. However, unless your child goes to a school that has specific classes focused on computer technology, they likely aren’t learning as much about coding as they could be.

There are many websites, apps, and toys out there that are designed to introduce children to coding. Look at a free platform such as Scratch for beginners. For more advanced children, Khan Academy also offers some free lessons on text-based programming.

Depending on your child’s interest, it could also be worth sending them to a class or camp that will teach them what they need to know. For example, Blue Shift Coding, which was found by using the search “coding summer camp uk”, offers online coding classes for kids between the ages of 5 and 14, including some free classes.

Making coding fun

Most importantly, to get your child excited about programming languages, make it entertaining for them! There are many programs out there that are focused purely on academia, which can quickly destroy a child’s passion for coding.

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Coding Space by Maddy Zoli

One of the best ways to make coding fun is to gamify it. When kids can learn coding to develop a game or an app, they get to interact with programming languages in a way that is fun for them. Some children are also motivated by getting the chance to code their own websites.

Final thoughts

Learning some sort of coding language is a skill set that will benefit your child. However, keep in mind that some children will be more passionate about coding than others. There are many children who might only develop basic coding skills, while others quickly learn how to build their own computer games!


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