Learn to code, code to learn

3 reasons for your child to learn coding.

You might be thinking – wait, my kid isn’t going to grow up to be a programmer. While that might be true, that doesn’t mean that your kid shouldn’t learn to code. Even if your kid isn’t destined to be the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, learning to code can teach all sorts of transferable soft skills that will help your child succeed in whatever he or she decides to learn. Here’s why:

It’s all fun and games …
Coding for very young kids is definitely all about having fun (and maybe a little bit about learning). Lots of elementary coding projects use bright colours, interactive elements and age-appropriate subjects to get children interested – try Robot Turtles (a board game) or Code Karts (a mobile app) and see how cute animals and car races can teach the basic building blocks of coding.

Coding makes you want to learn
Before you know it, your kid will be wanting to do more. And here is where coding can really help your child. Coding provides a compelling goal (such as a coding project) that makes children want to learn all sorts of other things – you can’t learn to code without tackling academics such as literacy (reading and writing) and numeracy (counting, sorting, ordering). You also need a pretty good grasp of logic and computational thinking.

In learning to code, children learn all sorts of critical thinking skills as well. They learn why sequencing is important, and how to break big problems into smaller ones (and then learn how to prioritise which one to solve first). They learn how to critically analyse examples of other coding projects, and then apply this knowledge to their particular problem. These are all soft skills that form a huge part of problem-based or inquiry-based learning – mastering these skills will help them for the rest of their lives.

Coding also puts the learner in the driver’s seat. Many students often want to learn much more than the standard curriculum, and they often start to figure out how to teach it to themselves. Learning about one’s personal learning style and teaching yourself new skills is another critical 21st century skill.

It makes everything fun
Soon, your child will be graduating to more sophisticated or complex coding problems. Or perhaps she will love the creativity that’s part of many coding games, such as Minecraft. Elements of coding skills pop up in all sorts of interesting ways – from learning to DJ and craft beats to building new worlds and more.

Coding really is a gateway to a new universe of exploration, learning and fun – so teach your child to code, you won’t regret it!

Kode It, Sparkies is a national coding competition for children aged between Primary 3 and Primary 6, jointly organised by Kodecoon and Times Experience. Participants first gain hands-on experience at a boot camp (worth $230) as they learn to build their own website. Then, in teams of four, participants will work on a challenge that will culminate in the finals on June 4 at Our Tampines Hub. Click here for more details.