Coding: The New Literacy, and How Fathers Can Teach Their Children
Coding is a critical skill in today’s world — it’s the new literacy that will allow you to thrive and succeed. Even if you don’t have your sights set on becoming an app developer or software engineer, learning coding gives a person an edge in almost any job market today. Coding is also becoming increasingly important for future career potential. According to Code.org, in 2020 there were over one million programming jobs available, but only 400,000 computer science students to fill them. Learning to code now will give your child a competitive advantage later in life. But how can fathers support their kids as they learn this essential skill? Here are some tips on how fathers can teach coding to their kids.
Check out Code Club and Computer Science classes at school
One of the best ways dads can help kids learn to code is to make sure they have access to fantastic programming courses. Check out your local schools to see if they have computer science courses available — and if they don’t, try reaching out to administrators to suggest they start offering these courses. Many schools already have programming clubs, but some still do not. These clubs are a great way for kids to try their hand at coding and get a taste of what it’s like to build apps, websites, and computer programs. If your school doesn’t have a programming club, consider starting one yourself.
Walk through problem-solving exercises with your child to reinforce concepts
As your child gets more comfortable with coding, encourage her to work through programming “Problem Solving” exercises. By working through these exercises, your child will learn how to break down a problem into smaller pieces and use code to solve that problem. For example, let’s say your child has to create a program that will allow a character to jump every two seconds. To do this, he’ll need to break the problem down into smaller pieces, like “create a character,” “make the character jump,” and “make the character jump every two seconds.”
Talk with your kid about variables, constants and equations
Kids who learn to code often start by working with the basics: variables, constants, and equations. These programming concepts may sound a bit like a foreign language at first, but they are key to understanding how computers operate and interact. Let’s say your child wants to create a program that will calculate the total of a shopping cart. To do this, she will have to use three basic coding concepts: a variable (such as “total”), a constant (such as “$250.00”), and an equation (such as “total = $250.00”).
Help your child pick a platform for coding, and find tutorials
If your child expresses an interest in learning code, or already displays a knack for video games like Roblox or Minecraft, try introducing them to one of the basic coding applications. There are plenty of great platforms for kids to learn coding. Try some of these: – Minicoders – an educational game-based platform made for kids with video tutorials, virtual assistant, and games where kids ages 7-12 learn coding skills while they play. If your child is spending time in front of a computer screen, why not turn them onto a coding platform that is both entertaining and surprisingly educational. Simply sign up, follow the instructions, download the app, and your kid can start having fun while learning valuable coding skills. With Minicoders, the parent also has access to his child’ progress in the app, and to see their progress and development – Express Course – An online platform geared for middle and high-schoolers that helps students learn the fundamentals of computer science with drag & drop blocks where they can create their own drawings and games. – Code.org – A website that teaches kids how to code with a variety of interactive tutorials.
Help your child find a project to work on
Once your child has tried some of these platforms, he may be itching to create his own program. Help him pick a project to work on by suggesting some ideas. Here are some suggestions: – Create a program that keeps track of your household chores. – Create a program that plays music. – Create a program that plays a guessing game. – Create a program that draws a picture. – Create a program that plays a game.
Coding isn’t something that kids can just pick up overnight — it’s a skill that requires dedication and practice. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways for fathers to support their kids as they learn this critical skill. By checking out Code Club, computer science courses, and programming clubs at school, dads can help their kids get started with coding. Once they’re comfortable with the basics or already display an interest in Roblox or Minecraft-like games, dads can help their kids pick a platform for coding, find tutorials, and create their own projects.