Get started teaching your kids to code (even if you’re a total non-techie)

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My parenting style means that I like to be led by my kids’ interests rather than persuade them into pursuits they’re not that into. I also aim to give them accurate information and answers to their questions (within reason!), however obscure the question.

As a result, I first started thinking about introducing code to my eldest son last year, when he was 6. He spent many a good half-hour peering over my shoulder whilst I get stuck into my latest web development project. I can’t help being thrilled with his interest. Whilst many kids are more accustomed to kicking a football around, in this digital era, I really don’t think you can start your kids off coding early enough.

If you’re wondering about getting your kids started with code I would recommend getting started by setting up an account for them over at Scratch. It’s FREE and whilst you don’t actually need any accompanying resources to use it I can highly recommend a book we picked up off of Amazon called “Computer Coding For Kids”.

The book focuses on Scratch and another language called Python. It’s appropriate for kids aged 6 plus, with it also being a great starting point for adults too! As with most Dorling Kindersley books, the book is very well illustrated and accessible, employing easy to follow colour-coding and methods to follow along with your child.

We’ve completed a few of the exercises featured in the “Computer Coding for Kids” book on Scratch, although my son most prefered going off-piste and creating his own sprite characters. We also both had a laugh recording our own voice-overs for the sprites!

Scratch brings together so many skill areas for your child – creativity, logic, reasoning, organisation, maths. And hey, it’s fun!

For older kids (aged 11 plus) you may want to skim over Scratch and start with Python. Thanks to the current plenitude of online learning platforms there are tonnes of online Python workshops and tutorials available.

We absolutely love using all of the resources I’ve mentioned and to be honest it’s great to do a shared activity that is fun and engaging for both of us that doesn’t involve LEGO!

With a hectic work schedule it’s sometimes hard to find the time, but even if we only get the chance once a month you can guarantee we both look forward to our coding sessions – from having a giggle at our favourite digital chicken over at Code Playground, to making sprites over on Scratch.

Scratch Coding for Kids

Anna Ewing