Computer programming has enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity in recent years, and its growth shows no signs of slowing down as we head towards a technology-rich future.
Given the increasing importance of the field, investing time and energy into it from a very young age seems like a very smart idea. After all, the generation of kids today will one day be the ones innovating technology and driving society forward.
While there’ll always be a need for more traditional academic subjects like English, Science, and Maths, computer programming presents an exciting opportunity for children looking to make a difference in the world they grow up in.
Even if the mention of ‘computer programming’ doesn’t make your child’s eyes light up, the prospect of working on a skill that’s fundamental for the creation of video games and apps might just ignite their interest.
If you’re worried that getting into coding purely out of love for video games and apps doesn’t seem like a good idea, if it’s a way to encourage your kid to give this highly in-demand skill a go, then surely it’s worth seeing how far their interest takes them.
Before we take a look at some of the best options, we’re going to first take a moment to explain why it’s worth considering enrolling your child in a coding program.
Why Take a Coding Program?
The number one reason you’d want to encourage your child to enroll in a coding program is for the structure it provides to the learning. Just like at school, a coding program will typically have a strict curriculum, linear progression, and rewards along the way to incentivise further study and keep the learner motivated.
While structure isn’t always called for when it comes to picking up new skills, with a field as complicated as computer programming, it’s strongly recommended. The last thing you want to do is have your child go through a trial by fire, asking them to tackle this complex skill with nothing to guide them.
If you introduce your kid to coding the right way, with structure and rewards, then they are infinitely more likely to maintain their motivation with it. If they are left to their own devices, there’s a chance that they become incredibly frustrated and see coding as a tedious, boring subject which of course, kills off any motivation they started out with.
The additional benefit of coding programs for kids is that they are designed with the young learner in mind, which means they will likely be full of exciting visuals, engaging challenges, and fun games at every step of the way.
You never know, coding might even become your child’s new favourite pastime, and that shouldn’t be considered a bad thing. While they might spend more time at a computer than you’d like, they will be developing crucial skills such as creativity, problem-solving, and academic performance.
There are many coding programs for kids available online, which makes choosing the perfect course a tricky decision.
Fortunately for you, we’ve scoured the internet and picked out some of the best coding programs for kids, so you can take a look at each of them and see if any of them seem like a good fit.
Coding Program Options
While this list of kids’ coding programs is far from exhaustive, there should be something for everyone.
Whether your child thrives when given visual stimuli or prefers to use the medium of video games to learn to program, there’s a program out there for them. Some coding programs require a paid subscription, and the quality of each course might depend on how much you’re willing to invest, though there are many exceptional free courses too.
There are coding programs for just about every programming language out there, too, so it might be worth first discussing with your child which language they are most interested in.
Among them all, Funtech is a website that offers a wide variety of coding courses designed specifically for children between the ages of 7 and 16.
Minecraft with Mods
The game that managed to capture the attention of a whole generation also happens to be one of the best to focus on for teaching kids how to code.
There’s a good chance that if your child enjoys playing video games, that they are more than familiar with Minecraft, so it seems logical that they might want to learn to program in the blocky video game world.
In case you’re one of the few parents who isn’t familiar with Minecraft, it’s an open-world survival game with a blocky art style that lets the player do whatever they want, from building a base to fighting off enemies or simply playing around with friends online.
This 10-day course is purchased with a single payment and takes place over several mornings or afternoons, depending on your availability.
In terms of what the course itself involves, your child will be guided through the inner mechanics of the game and be able to take a peek behind-the-scenes at the code that makes it all possible. They will be assigned a Minecraft tutor who will teach them how mods are made for the game and how they can make their own.
Python Game Developer
Python programming for kids is a popular market since Python is one of the more accessible coding languages to start out with and is very widely used.
This course from Funtech is 10-days long like the Minecraft with Mods course, costs the same amount, and is also available during morning and afternoon sessions. Bear in mind, though, that this code is more advanced, so it’s suitable for the more experienced young coder.
In this course, your child will be introduced to more complex subject material such as object-oriented programming, advanced coding and mathematical concepts, and reactive physics systems.
If they’re interested in gaming or one day becoming a game developer, this is the perfect course to enrol them in.
Funtech doesn’t just offer video games-related coding programs, though, as they have several courses focusing on individual programming languages such as this one.
Like the other two courses we’ve covered, Scratch Coding lasts ten days and is available for a lump sum cost.
Scratch Coding is an excellent course for the beginner and ideal for those who appreciate a more visual approach to programming. The young learner will take on animations, interactive stories, games, sounds, and more during the course.
It’s a course that invites your child to let their imagination run wild, and an excellent option to start out with.
Other Coding Program Options
If Funtech were the be-all and end-all of coding program options for kids, this would be a very short article, indeed. Fortunately, just as variety is the spice of life, other coding programs bring advantages that may appeal more to your future coder or programmer.
Here's a brief selection of the wide range of choices out there.
Code Combat is an excellent course if your child likes the idea of being immersed in an RPG (Role Playing Game) world as they get to grips with the basics of coding.
The text-based coding is highly immersive, making it engaging and enjoyable for everyone from beginner to experienced level.
Your child will be tasked with creating their own role-playing character and guiding them through a series of quests and puzzles by writing their own code. It’s a brilliant idea for capturing and maintaining a child’s motivation, and it will keep them coming back for more.
There’s both a free and paid version of the coding program, and the free version offers as many as 39 levels covering everything from loops and strings to parameters and variables.
Beyond that, in the paid version, there’s even more content that goes deeper into the world of video game development.
Coder Kids is a coding company that offers both in-person and online programming camps for children of all ages.
To give it a try and see if it’s a good fit for your child, the company offers a free introductory class called ‘Introduction to Scratch Coding’. This free class gives the young learners the tools to play around with the visual programming language in all kinds of weird and wonderful ways.
But what’s great about Coder Kids is that they don’t just have courses for one programming language, but for three: Scratch, Python, and Unity. So your child can choose their own path and determine for themselves which coding language sounds best to them.
If you’re curious about what Coder Kids has to offer, you can head over to their website for more information on all of the courses and resources they have.
CodeMonkey is an excellent website for finding award-winning programming courses for kids.
What you can expect with CodeMonkey are ready-to-go courses that use real coding languages and harness the power and immersion of game-based learning.
This is a resource that many schools and teachers use to teach coding at various Key Stage levels, but you can also use it from home by signing up for free - and you don’t even need a credit card to do so. There are both apps and web-based courses that your kid can get their teeth stuck into, and they can join the ten million+ other children enjoying the coding platform and everything it has to offer.