There's no doubt that early coding skills are an important and sought-after skill in today's high-tech world. To some it may seem like an intimidating trade that requires lots of math and science expertise, but in reality, anyone can learn to code!
What is Coding?
At its core, coding is a creative process that involves using your imagination and skills to communicate with computers. It involves creating instructions in a language that a computer can understand and breaking down complex tasks into smaller, more manageable components. To get a bit more technical, coding uses logical reasoning and problem-solving skills to develop algorithms that can be executed by a computer. It's a type of 'writing' that can automate repetitive tasks or speed up complex tasks. Coding is empowering and creative and allows us to design things from scratch such as computer software, websites, apps, games, and more.
Why Teach Early Coding?
There are numerous benefits to learning how to code, especially when you get started early. Here are eight great reasons to spark some interest in coding!
1. Problem-Solving & Thinking Skills
2. Learning from Mistakes
When children learn any new skill, mistakes will be made. Coding is no exception, and in fact there will likely be many! The best thing about making a mistake is learning from it, adapting as needed, and building confidence as you go. Coding lets you try over and over again until that error code is resolved. You may even discover there are many different ways to solve the same problem.
3. Increases Language Skills
Learning to code doesn't have to mean spending hours staring at a screen, especially in the early stages. Teaching and practicing coding skills comes in many different analog forms. Essentially, anything that teaches sequencing or putting together a series of instructions to get a desired result is early coding! Playing an analog coding game like Team Digger is a great place to start. In this cooperative game, players create five-card sequences to move their dog pawns from one dig site to another around the game board. Want to know more about this award-winning game? Check out the Learn Early Coding in Team Digger blog post.
5. Coding Opens Doors
As technology continues to play an increasingly important role in all industries, the demand for skilled programmers continues to grow. As long as an interest in coding concepts remains, parents should continue to encourage their children to learn early coding (and beyond)!
6. Encourages Creativity
Coding fosters creativity in children by teaching them to think imaginatively. It gives them the chance to experiment and design something exciting and all their own and helps boost confidence when they see the results of their efforts.
7. Coding is for Everyone
One of the best things about coding how inclusive it is! As long as there's interest, anyone can learn to code. Some of the core desired skills for success in learning to code is reasoning, problem-solving, and critical thinking. Bonus points if you have strong language-learning skills.
8. Coding is FUN!
Of course, it is! In fact, many people learn to code as a hobby or side hustle simply because they find it fun. While not everyone will be drawn to this career path, those who are aren't pursuing it because it's boring. Sure, there will be ups and downs (as is the case with any career or hobby) but overall, those who code find the practice to be both fulfilling and quite often, fun. There's something to be said for seeing your imagination and creation (like a website or game) come to life, and there can be excitement and pride in finding bugs and other issues, especially when you're able to use your skills to fix them.
How can you tell if your child might be interested in coding? If they're inquisitive, ask questions about everything (what kid doesn't?!) and if they're a good problem-solver, you may have an eager would-be coder in your presence.