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Teach Your Kids to Code: 6 Beginner's Resources for Parents

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Introducing computer programming to your kids can be a challenge, especially for those who aren’t familiar with the nuances of code. Fortunately, in the last few years, a number of apps, software, and guides have been produced that make the often-complex subject of computer coding easy to grasp for young learners. So where to begin? These are a few resources parents can share with their kids to help them start learning about programming.

  • Programming Tutorials From Made With Code from Google: In June, Google announced Made With Code, an ambitious project with the goal to encourage girls to pursue careers in computer science. The Made With Code projects are easy-to-follow, and if your kids are completely new to coding, don't fret. There's something for both intermediate and beginning coders. Plus, there are even more tutorials in the Resources section, with more to come.

  • Resources for Parents From MIT Media Lab's Scratch Team: Scratch is one of the most popular coding tools for kids, and it's designed to help students with little to no coding experience dive headfirst into programming. Essentially, the software lets students create animations and stories with building blocks that mimic the structure of computer code. Luckily, the team behind the software has made it easy for beginners. There's a wonderful web-based beginners guide that will help students get started, or you can download a PDF version.

  • How and Why to Teach Your Kids to Code: In this Lifehacker blog, author Melanie Pinola provides a comprehensive run-down of several free and low-cost tools parents can use to teach their kids about code. All of the tools are organized by age group, with sections for the youngest learners up to those in high school.

  • Lessons and Tutorials From Code.org: Code.org was launched in 2013 to advocate for wider access to computer science learning in schools and for underrepresented students of color. In addition to their advocacy efforts, Code.org has posted several useful lessons that are great to share with your kids. Aside from popular lessons like K-8 Introduction to Computer Science, there are links to informative tutorials from a variety of sources.

  • Best Apps and Websites for Learning Programming and Coding: This resource from Common Sense Media, featured on their Graphite platform, provides insightful reviews of popular programming tools. All of the reviews on the site are done by teachers, and they're based on ease-of-use, quality, and engagement, among others.

  • EdSurge Guide: Teaching Kids to Code: EdSurge produced this comprehensive guide for parents. It's a trove of interesting and useful articles like "Teaching Coding: Where Do You Start?" and the guide also features information for more than 50 tools that you can use with your kids.

Inspiring Articles About Kids Learning to Code

Still looking for some ideas? Here are a few more sources to learn about the benefits of learning coding skills and help your kids start programming.

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Elana Leoni's picture
Elana Leoni
Director of Social Media Strategy and Marketing @Edutopia, edcamp organizer

I'd also recommend getting involved in the Hour of Code: http://code.org/educate/hoc.

From the website:
Hour of Code is an opportunity for every student to try computer science for one hour.
You can also teach the Hour of Code all year-round. Tutorials will work on browsers, tablets, smartphones, or "unplugged."

From everyone I knew that did this in their class, they were very happy with it and it offered a way to make learning code a bit more recurring than just a one-lesson stint.

Also, my friend and educator, Sam Patterson (who wrote this post about Coding for Kinders: https://www.edutopia.org/blog/coding-for-kindergarteners-sam-patterson) also wrote this helpful post on how to get started with the hour of code: http://www.mypaperlessclassroom.com/2014/08/primary-teachers-learn-codin....


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