In conjunction with our “Curriculum 101” series, we thought it would be fun to share our top favorite coding helps. Where did we start our coding journey; what worked for us; and what we’re using now? Join the fun and share your thoughts on the best spots for children to learn coding at home!
Coding is not a language I speak. Any of them. So, when my hubby suggested the kids start learning coding, my mind went blank. Where was I supposed to start and exactly how was I supposed to help them learn it?
Thankfully, the Lord gifted me with a love of research. Off to my computer I ran, determined to find the best coding helps my kiddos could ask for. Three years later, my kids are still coding and they’re even being honored for their efforts. Will wonders never cease?
After much searching, and asking the few experts in coding I knew, we landed upon Code. This was a great starting point for our kids. They learned tons in the first few weeks, and all for the low price of FREE. It gave them a great basis for coding and eased the anxiety of tackling yet another new area of learning.
Quickly, our children developed a love for coding and outgrew Code. The next step in our adventure was Tynker. Unfortunately, this seemed to be merely a review of everything learned on Code. It took about a week for the kids to ask for something new. But, it is a good alternative to Code and offers helps to those still in the midst of their coding journey. Tynker is also FREE.
Finally, we landed upon Scratch. This is by far the best coding site we’ve used yet. Children can create projects of their own and share them with other users, play projects designed by other users, organize coding clubs, and more! Did we mention it’s also FREE?
I will give a few words of caution about Scratch. One, if you have never delved into coding before, you might wish to do a quick study using Code or Tynker before tackling Scratch. Scratch assumes you have an understanding of coding basics. Two, because Scratch is interactive, be aware of how much personal information your children are sharing with the world. Establish ground rules with your children and make sure they stick with them. Three, because projects are public, be prepared for an occasional project to be ‘stolen’. While there are rules about such issues, and Scratch is usually good about dealing with project thieves (when they are reported), this is a hard lesson our children learned. On occasion, other users will take pieces of your child’s coding, or entire projects, without asking permission. Kindly ask the offending user to either remove their stolen project or give you credit for the initial creation. If neither option works, send a message to Scratch; they are great about handling offending parties.
What started out as a mandatory elective has become my children’s hobby. When they aren’t learning with me, you will usually find them facilitating yet another Scratch competition or helping another user code a project. (My daughters are studio managers and curators for over 30 groups.)
Just this morning, my little lady learned the newest Scratch curator, from the Scratch team, has chosen to promote one of her projects. If you visit the Scratch home page (starting Monday), my daughter’s project will be front and center for all the world to see. Well, at least for a month. Can you tell I’m proud?
I think it’s safe to say our kids are not only having fun, but they’re learning a lot.
Our next goal is to try Game Salad. Game Salad is very similar to Scratch, but costs to join. The benefit to joining Game Salad, is that your games are not only shared with the world, but you can start charging people for buying and playing them. So, if your children are interested in becoming developers, this might be an excellent step in the right direction.
Now, it’s your turn!! Let us hear from you! Unearth your favorite coding links and share them with us. We’d love your feedback.