Teaching Kids Computer Science should be part of their learning. We spend so much time thinking and worrying about our children's screen time that we forget that there are productive and beneficial ways to utilize technology within our children's learning environment, as a part of the environment, not replacing any other vital part of the learning (e.g. we're not trading hands-on science learning for an iPad app about nature). Check out these Resources on Teaching Kids to Code!
One way to think about exposing our children to devices is to view the time spent as developing their technological thinking, or more simply, logic and problem-solving skills. Teaching children in computer science is essential in today's world and for preparing them for the future job market. A child does not have to be a computer programming whiz but basic knowledge of how “the stuff” works is crucial (think: anatomy in high school didn't mean you were going to become a doctor but having the information helps in life). Of course, there will be the brilliant few in a leading contingent of the next Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates but let's not get too caught up in the “what ifs”…
“We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today.” ~Stacia Tauscher
Code.org's (a non-profit promoting K-12 computer science education) recent Hour of Code truly inspired me to begin my research on what to bring into our home. My sons are 4.5 and 3 years old so I need fairly basic materials. Plus I have a lot of learning to do on my own so researching for what they might crave down the line is a good use of my time.
Teaching Kids Computer Science
Below are a few of my finds for primary and elementary aged children.
- Code.Org offers tutorials, curriculum, and many more resources to students and teachers (k-12)
- Mitch Resnick's Ted Talk creates a sense of urgency and makes us understand why we should focus on computer science education
- Kahn Academy is a supporter of teaching computer science on many levels and offers many resources
- Marshall Brain: Teaching Kids How to Write Computer Programs
- Code Monsters – As an adult who knows nothing about computer programming, I learned a lot from this game. It is very visual. Place the code on the left and the result on the right. The game also offers prompts that truly help the user learn the connection.
- Magic Pen – Be patient with this one loading up! It is worth it.
- Fantastic Contraption – there are a lot of ads on this site but again be patient the free online game is worth it.
- Tynker Games has tons to offer children across a range of ages
- Blokus is a strategy based board game fun for the whole family
- Unplugged Curriculum is an amazing and FREE resource from the National Center for Women & Information Technology works with color by number (image representation), counting dots (binary numbers) and card flip magic (error detection and correction). My 4.5-year-old is very into patterns, connect the dots and color by number right now so these activities are right up his alley.
- Snap Circuits is a ridiculously cool product for children to build many projects including a doorbell and a radio.
I hope you found this post useful to your home and your classroom! Do you teach code to children? I'd love to hear your ideas and resources!
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