Should you push a young mind into coding? No, of course you shouldn’t. Just like you shouldn’t push a young mind into gymnastics, horse riding and spot welding. You should allow your child to experience different things, and coding should be one of them. Most young kids are not happy to sit at a computer for hours and work on programs. However, with the correct introduction and a bit of patience, you can lay a foundation in your child’s mind so that later in life (teenage and onward) that child has a better grasp, understanding and even appreciation for coding. That is why you should at least (gently) introduce children to coding. Here are five other reasons why you should consider introducing coding to children.
1 – The fundamental coding principles help create an understanding of technology at large
How does a car work? You can draw up schematics, you can show how each piece if machined, fitted together and works. Or, you can show your child how the fuel creates small explosions in the engine, and they push pistons that turn the tires.
Helping a child understand coding, or at the very least, understand the principles of coding and how it works is going to help a child understand how technology works. When that child becomes older, he or she will understand why four out of his/her eight processors are inactive while playing a phone app. Your kid will understand why a program stops working when its library files named incorrectly. It may not make your child a computer science wizard, but it will at least give your child a basic understanding of how their digital world functions.
2 – Plug your child into a very good community
The programming community is the best in the world. It is better than religious communities, family communities and better political communities. It is loaded with people who are willing to put themselves to a lot of personal inconvenience in order to help a stranger with no hope of reward. Plus, if your child becomes a coder one day, your child will also become just as helpful and altruistic.
3 – Give your child a shareable skill
If your child or teen has friends who know how to code and program, then it is something they can share. This didn’t seem all that relevant at first, but we are now living in a world where kids can create content for Roblox and Minecraft. Kids with hobbies will always have something in common with other kids with the same hobbies. Even the lesser programming tools, like Mario Maker, have legions of followers who can share their passion, tips and experiences with other enthusiasts.
4 – It encourages new ways of thinking
There are some children who are simply too immature to allow coding to alter their thinking, but there are some children who take to it well. Some children will develop organisation or neatness skills simply by arranging their code. It won’t make them any more likely to clean their bedroom, but it cannot hurt their subconscious if they are neater and more organized. Oddly enough, few people outside the programming community know this, but coding encourages creativity. You can be very creative when you are working on a coding problem. There are people who wake in the night and quickly need to write down their ideas because they were dreaming in code, and it gave them a new idea, a new creative way to address their current coding problem. Coders can be extremely creative, even if their creativity is limited to how they solve problems.
5 – Coding does offer a few unique learning experiences
If you sign up for courses, perhaps free courses, where they offer computer coding for kids, you may come to understand the underlying lessons that these courses teach. Yes, they are teaching all about writing in a programming language, but they are also teaching math skills, problem-solving skills and logic skills.
You are exposing a child to an environment where there are problems, and you can fix those problems or you can create new problems. You are exposing a child to situations where there are hundreds of solutions to problems, and the child has to pick the best one with the understanding that picking incorrectly may mean more problems or a less-optimal result. It is a weird but oddly engaging world to work within.