The world of coding for kids can be daunting – especially when it comes to choosing their first coding language. However, there are so many different programming languages to choose from, the question arises where should you start?
Don’t worry! We are here to help you decide. Here is a curated list of really useful programming languages that the kids may enjoy.
Primarily developed for kids between the ages of 8 and 16, Scratch is a free-to-use educational programming language developed by Mitch Resnick and patented by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Thanks to its intuitive and highly visual interface, it is arguably one of the most well-known block-based programming languages aimed at kids and new coders.
The Scratch platform lets kids create art, animations, games, interactive stories, and much more.
The whole concept behind creating visual-based coding languages for kids is to simplify the programming process. Using a visual, block-based language like Scratch frees kids from textual technicalities so they can focus on learning (and mastering) the fundamentals of coding. Anybody – regardless of their experience level – can create animations, games, and interactive stories with Scratch.
Another recommended visual block programming language for kids is Blockly. In fact, it’s often viewed as Google’s response to MIT’s Scratch.
The two platforms seem pretty similar at first glance. Blockly also uses a drag-and-drop system to help kids learn to code and like Scratch, this eliminates the risk of technical errors and allows kids to focus on the fundamentals.
The primary difference between the two is that Blockly – as a visual, block-based programming language for kids – is actually made up of several preexisting coding languages.
During the program’s completion, Blockly runs it through a check-up process (similar to the process of debugging textual code). The solution is not correct or the program does not run as it should, so Blockly analyzes the code again until it finds the error and highlights it for the user to locate and correct.
An actual working Android app can be developed by anyone using this highly visual, clean way of coding. Yes, Blockly can be used to develop real applications. Blockly was designed as a coding language for kids, yet its capabilities make it so much more than that.
Python is another excellent language for kids to learn coding. Python is a scripting language named after the Monty Python series and is considered one of the easiest to learn, as it requires a minimal amount of code to run.
Some of our favourite social platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and Spotify, and even companies including Google and Disney, use Python.
Not only video games or web frameworks, but Python is also widely used in more complex fields such as cybersecurity and artificial intelligence!
Python uses an intuitive coding style that uses text-based commands based on the English language – making it simpler and easier for children to understand. Due to the user-friendly nature of Python, kids are able to write lines of code quicker than other popular programming languages such as Java and can create their own games, animation, problem-solving exercises, websites and program robots.
For those who are interested in design, HTML and CSS may be the languages to get into web development and web applications. HTML & CSS is super easy to learn, You actually can learn the basics of those in a few hours.
HTML is the code that most web pages are written in and defines how the information on a web page is structured. The CSS code then specifies how the web page looks: including colours, fonts, and other design aspects of the page! Together, these languages give all the basic skills that you need to make a basic web page — making them perfect for students that enjoy art and creativity in website development.
Despite the fact that programming languages may differ greatly in their implementation, they are fundamentally similar, which is one of the great things about computer science. So when your child starts learning one language, they are already gaining skills to apply to other languages!
Considering how dependent we have become on technology, it’s safe to say that computer programming has become a literacy that everyone should learn (and eventually master). Coding for kids shouldn’t be some sort of extracurricular activity that only forward-thinking parents choose to enrol their children in. It should become a mandatory course for students of all levels.
In light of current patterns, trends, and technological advancements, coding is the future. Like computer literacy, computer programming will also become a requirement for many careers outside the field of computer science. Check out the courses on Qubits home page to get a feeling of how engaging CS education can be.