Computer science doesn’t have to be boring. It’s a fun and creative field, and you don’t need to be a genius to get started. In fact, if you’re interested in computer science or coding—or want your kids to become interested in them—there are some simple ways you can help them get there. Here’s how:
Use fun apps
If you want your kids to learn computer science, you should know that it isn’t just about teaching them how to code. The real goal is to make coding fun and accessible while also exposing them to its potential as a career path.
To do this, look for educational apps they can use in class settings. That’s why we recommend using Minecraft, for example. This video game offers an open world where you can build whatever you want with blocks. It’s perfect to interest your kids. They have total control over what they create and can even share their creations online with other players worldwide!
Help them see how it works
The best way to interest your kids in coding and computer science is to show them how it works! When you explain how a computer functions, you can also explain why learning about coding is important. Show them what happens when you’re using a desktop or laptop and how your mouse moves the cursor around on the screen. Explain how pressing keys on your keyboard produce letters appearing on the screen.
Even if your child isn’t old enough yet for typing lessons, let them know that each key has a different letter printed on it. That when they push down a specific key, it produces an image onscreen of whatever letter or symbol corresponds with that key. You might even consider showing them how touchscreens work by letting them play around with your mobile device or tablet so they can see exactly what’s happening when they tap certain parts of its screen!
Get them coding
There’s no better way to get kids interested in computer science and coding than by letting them get their hands dirty. There are a number of great apps available for this, such as ScratchJr and Hopscotch—both are available on iOS and Android. Getting your child started with one of these apps will give them a taste of computer science while allowing you to teach the basics of coding and programming through play.
Bring it to life
You need to bring it to life to interest your children in computer science and coding.
Use apps that are related to their interests. If your child loves dragons, try one of the many DragonBox games available on iOS and Android devices (and Xbox). Kids will learn how to program while they play!
Use apps that are fun to use. The more enjoyable an app is, the more likely kids will want to play with it. This will expose them to code as part of that experience! For example, CodeMonkey teaches coding through simple games. Hopscotch is a visual programming tool that makes learning programming easy. ScratchJr lets kids (as young as 5) create animated stories using colorful blocks. Tynker is another excellent visual programming tool for younger users who want something less abstract than ScratchJr’s “blocks.”
Use apps that allow them to learn concepts and create something tangible from those concepts by actually doing something useful with those ideas or designing their own projects from scratch—like building robots or making music videos out of claymation characters you draw yourself!
Talk about their interests
You can use what they like to do in order to help them understand computer science and coding. For example, if they love playing video games, talk about how developers make graphics and how it relates to computer science. You can also talk about how being a programmer will allow them to create their own games one day!
If your child knows someone who is a programmer or works at a tech company or startup, ask them if you can bring your child along for an office tour so that they can see what goes on behind the scenes at those companies and get an idea of whether or not programming is something that might be interesting for themselves as well!
Find their passion
Part of the fun of teaching kids about computer science is finding out what they know and don’t know. Some kids already have a passion for coding and programming. Others may not be aware of all the possibilities.
It’s important to find out what are your children’s interests and what they are good at. If they enjoy building things with Legos or tinkering with motors and engines, these interests could be translated into future hobbies or careers related to technology. It’s also helpful to ask them what they want to do when they grow up: do they want to be an astronaut, a doctor, or an astronaut who is also a doctor?
The key is finding their passion if you’re a parent or teacher who wants to get your child into code. If they have an interest in something—whether it be animals, sports, or art—then they’ll be more likely to spend time learning about coding and computer science. If you want them to learn how computers work, let them see how the programs work through apps like Scratch Jr!