6 Great Ways to Teach Your Kids to Code
Everyone is familiar with the three R’s of education. But there’s a fourth R that’s nearly as important as reading, ’riting, and ’rithmetic but rarely taught in schools: ’riting code.
By the year 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the U.S. economy will need more than 1.4 million programmers — or nearly four times the number of students who will graduate with computer science degrees over the next 10 years. Yet 90 percent of schools don’t offer any computer programming classes, according to Code.org.
From the basics of code for tots to full-blown computer programming courses for adults, a coding education could be closer than you think. Here are six of the best places to do it.
Before your kid starts hammering out thousands of lines of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) or becomes fluent in Perl, he’ll need to understand the underlying structure of programming languages. Sounds boring, right? Not necessarily. These four interactive resources can make learning the concepts behind coding quite fun:
Tynker: A popular website and now tablet app, Tynker teaches kids the building blocks of coding using a visually friendly drag-and-drop language that Tynker’s creators wrote especially for the service. Your kids must help Professor Ada and her dog, Pixel, battle the evil Dr. Glitch by choosing the correct commands from the Tynker language. By stringing the commands in the correct sequence, they’ll animate a diverse array of cute cartoons in an interactive, globe-spanning series of lessons.
Like other services on this list, Tynker conveys the basics of sequencing and commands without using a complicated programming language like HTML or Java. Your child won’t be ready to write an iPhone app after using Tynker, but he will understand how languages work — which in many ways is more useful.