Learning to code can be a difficult process, filled with complicated language and many other stumbling blocks. However, teaching a child to code can have many benefits to their development, such as developing logic and problem-solving skills.
The skills learned through coding can be applied to many careers, besides a career in website or app development. Teaching children to code helps to teach them how to break problems down into smaller pieces and solve them one step at a time. At its simplest, coding is providing computers with a set of instructions that they can then act on.
Since computing is a part of the national curriculum in England and to support National Coding Week, we’ve decided to help teach children to code by gathering together links to a few of the resources available.
Hour of Code
The Hour of Code was created as a one-hour introduction to computing. It has since grown into a vast resource of various computing and coding resources. It has activities covering all levels of education which makes it a great place to start.
If you are looking for a more structured approach to learning to code, Code.org is the place. The activities and resources are organised into courses allowing progress to be tracked which provides a step-by-step approach to learning.
There are also videos explaining how computers work by looking at the different components. This is then expanded to explain how the Internet works by allowing computers to communicate with each other.
Learning about computers and how to code doesn’t necessarily mean more screen time. CS Unplugged provides a number of activities that can be completed without using a computer and they can be changed to be appropriate for any child.
These activities can be used to teach children how computers represent information, and some of the different techniques that are used in storing that information.
If you own an iPad, you can download the free Swift Playgrounds app. This takes a slightly more advanced approach and aims to teach how to write code in the Swift programming language. It does this through coding your way out of different puzzles as you progress through game levels.
As you work your way through the levels, you become more familiar with breaking down problems to solve them. You also gain some experience with Swift which is used to make iPhone, iPad and macOS apps!
The BBC micro:bit was created as a pocket-sized computer containing 25 LEDs, buttons and a wide range of sensors (such as a compass and light sensor). The website contains lots of resources explaining all the different features of the device, as well as explaining how they work.
There are a lot of activities available for the BBC micro:bit and you can program it through drag and drop blocks using Microsoft MakeCode or by writing more advanced computer code using Python.
There are lots of other great resources and tools out there as well which we haven’t mentioned in this list. Let us know which you find useful or which you think are the best!