6 Awesome Initiatives Encouraging Kids to Code

As we touched on in an earlier blog, the UK isn’t producing enough developers fast enough to meet the demand for jobs.

The need for coding and computer skills will only continue to rise and it’s up to us to prepare the newest generation for a future filled with opportunities in the technology industry.

Kids who want to learn coding now have more ways than ever to get started.

We’ve compiled six awesome initiatives we’ve seen, that encourage younger generations to get into coding.

1. Coding Kit 

Seriously, how cool this? Kano Computing recently announced this awesome “coding kit”. It encourages kids to get into coding by building a wand that responds to your movements. “Learn to code your own magic by making feathers fly, goblets multiply, fire flow, pumpkins grow, and more”. Creating unique experiences like this for children will help grow their imaginations and build a generation of curious, eager to learn, adults.

2. Organisations

Girls who code

While women only make up about 26% of the computing workforce, as of 2016, that number is poised to rise. Organizations like Girls Who Code are developing coding programs designed to prepare children for career success later in life. They aim get more girls (and more different kinds of people, overall) into the fold, so that a new, more diverse generation of coders can shape the digital world that lies ahead.

3. Board Games

Coding Board games

Robot Turtles teaches kids aged between 3-8 the fundamentals of programming (without them even knowing it!). Fun fact, it is also the most widely backed board game in Kickstarter history.

Robot Repair is a hands-on coding game that teaches advanced concepts like “Boolean Logic”— a form of algebra that reduces all values to ‘true’ or ‘false.’

Qwuirkle teaches the fundamentals of computer programming logic, including pattern recognition and strategy.

It’s great to see good old fashioned board games teaching these concepts through play.

4. Books

Kids books coding

Star Wars Coding Projects Using Scratch is a guaranteed hit. Boys love Star Wars, girls love Star Wars, parents love Star Wars even more. This book guides kids through six projects where they build a spaceship and navigate their favorite characters through the depths of the galaxy using Scratch’s drag n’ drop interface. May the Force be with you.

Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding and Girls Who Code  feature friendly illustrations and an extremely approachable, empowering tone that gives girls the basics of programming as well as the tools and confidence to think of themselves as coders.

You can find a list of more books here.

5. Online games and tutorials

Kids coding

With game-like tutorials for kids as young as four, Code.org is the best online tool for starting kids at an early age. Code.org is famous for their hour of code, which includes four free hour-long tutorials based on popular movies and characters from Star Wars, Frozen, Moana, and Minecraft.

6. Toys

Lego mindstorms

Lego Mindstorms really showcase how far these classic blocks have come. With Mindstorms, kids build and program robots that respond to commands on a smartphone app.

While we think this one is particularly bad ass, Working Mother has put together a list of 17 other toys that help kids to learn the basics of coding.

Even if kids aren’t interested in pursuing a job in information technology or computer science, coding lessons can help teach a variety of valuable skills including metacognition, strategic problem solving, and abstracting thinking.

Try some of them out with your kids! You might just learn something new too.

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