9 Benefits Of Computer Coding For Kids
Computer coding for kids is a hot topic right now. But as parents who still remember what life was like before computers and cell phones went global, it can be tricky to see the benefits of children programming.
After all, aren’t we being advised to cut down on our children’s screen time? And shouldn't they be doing something more productive than plugging in?
First of all, let’s tackle screen time. The difference with coding is that it is an active state of using technology. It gets kids thinking, exploring, and directing what’s happening on their screen, rather than just passively watching someone else’s ideas play out.
As for productivity, coding has that one covered, too. Without the huge output from coders over the last few years, we wouldn’t be able to use our pocket-size phones to snap pictures of our kids’ achievements. We wouldn’t be able to use websites to stay in touch with childhood friends who have long since moved away. And we wouldn’t be able to order pizza online at 10pm. The productivity of programming is pretty extraordinary.
These are just two benefits of coding for kids. There are plenty more than that.
1. Stronger STEM Skills
Probably the most obvious benefit is the boost it gives to STEM skills (that’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Planning and writing out codes by hand (as top developers suggest doing) gets kids to utilize the flow charts they have practiced in class. Elsewhere, designing games and functions encourages innovation, and gets kids to ponder ideas like physics and shape in a practical, hands-on way.
Then there is the interesting process of computational thinking. This calls for kids to break down difficult problems into bite-size chunks in order to find a solution that a computer can understand. It is a skill that translates to real life, training kids to look at problems calmly and not flip out when they seem too enormous to deal with.
2. Better Language Skills
“Coding is the new literacy” is an idea growing in popularity – and with good reason. Learning the nuances of a computer code, such as HTML, is much the same as learning a language from a different country, or drilling down into the grammar specifics of your mother tongue.
Conversing with a computer requires kids to consider their choice of words in a much more conscious way, making them clearer communicators. Being better able to speak “computer” also equips kids with the ability to fix everyday technology if it crashes and burns.
3. Improved Planning And Organizational Skills
Kids are quick to learn that without planning, computer programs can become very broken, very quickly. Coding helps kids to slow down and think before they act. After enough bumps in the programming road, they can begin to anticipate problems and plan accordingly. This ability to assess situations and perceive potential pitfalls can enable kids to keep themselves safe in the here and now, and to then take educated risks later on in life.
Another bonus here is sharper organizational skills. Messy coding can lead to issues, so kids will get wise to keeping their work as tidy and as organized as possible. Here’s to hoping that has a domino effect on their messy bedrooms, too!
4. Tougher Persistence And Problem-Solving Skills
Having touched upon problems in the previous section, let’s delve right in. Problems, unaffectionately referred to as bugs, are an unavoidable side effect of coding. Some days it can be enough to make even professional programmers hit the Shut Down button but, as kids discover, the only way to fix a problem is to stick at it.
This builds perseverance and grit. It means kids are less likely to throw in the towel when things go wrong, and instead continue working toward their goals.
5. Bolder Creative Skills
All that problem solving has an impact on creativity levels, too. Writing computer programs requires kids to think differently in order to fix a bug or get an idea up and running.
And then there is what they are working on in the first place. The potential for kids to make whatever they want lets their imaginations off the leash. Whether it is making a digital dog chase its tail or coding a mini LEGO® animation, kids can create something unique that perhaps no one else has even dreamed of.
6. Greater Confidence
That unique creation that no one else has even dreamed of? It makes kids puff up with pride. And quite rightly, too. Being able to realize an idea is an empowering feeling.
Imagine not being able to find something in the world, but then being able to create it yourself. That’d make you feel pretty great, wouldn’t it? It means kids can create their own toys. Their own games. It means they can create exactly what they want. And then they can show it off…
7. Deeper Friendships
… Which leads to the wonderful, supportive community that comes with coding. Sharing a finished project and winning compliments from pals gives kids a sense of acceptance and belonging. Yet it isn’t always about applause and success.
Before a coding project reaches its awesome conclusion, the coding community is around to chat through issues and ideas. That sweet taste of collaboration can make for a more cooperative and compassionate set of classmates, eager to hear other people’s ideas and help each other out.
8. More Fun
The sheer joy of spending time coding is one of the major benefits. It can be a respite from a tiring day at school, or a way to hang out with friends and family at the weekend. Having a hobby lets kids play for play’s sake, and it also teaches them how to unwind and let off steam whenever they need to.
Enjoying a hobby in childhood also creates the habit of having a hobby as an adult.
9. Brighter Futures
That hobby may develop into more than just a pastime. As the world becomes more and more digitalized, the demand for computer-literate employees is gathering pace. If taught coding from a young age, kids have a head start and more choices about which career path to take. And they may just use all the benefits they’ve gained through coding to benefit the world.
So now that you know all about the benefits of children programming, why not take a look at our 7 Non-Techie Tips To Help Your Child Learn To Code? [link to Coding Tips article]