Programming For Kids

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Programming for kids is a club we started at our daughter’s school, Challenge To Excellence in Parker, CO.

We teach the course once a week and absolutely love it. It’s become one of the highlights of our week. An insanely fulfilling activity.

Programming For Kids

Admittedly there were ulterior motives in starting this club.  The ultimate goal was to introduce our daughters to programming. And see if they found an interest.

But the thought of forcing them to participate in an at home, after school class did not seem quite viable. So we chose the road less traveled. Also known as option B.  The band was going on the road. Taking it to the street.

Let’s teach them at school, as part of a club, amid their peers. Granted their attendance was mandatory, but at least it was in a more normal and productive setting.

I Digressed

Sorry, I actually didn’t answer the question, why programming for kids. Below are a few of the reasons. And an article previously written about such Teaching Kids To Code.

  • Programmers are in high demand.
  • Careers are rewarding, flexible and highly compensated.
  • There’s an entrepreneurial element to being a programmer.
  • It’s insanely rewarding.

What Do We Teach

There are no shortages of languages to teach. No one can truly learn them all either. So before deciding what language(s) you’ll learn understand what you want to do as a programmer.

For middle school age children we thought it may be a tad premature to ask them their programming career goals.  And programming is as much learning to think like a computer and problem solve as it is learning the syntax behind a given language.

So we were less concerned about the actual language(s) and more about the process. We also wanted a tangible product they could produce over a few months.

Similar to the “Hello World” moment where programmers are floored at their ability to write two simple words.

The Winner Is

We ended up going with three languages, all of which are in high demand, work together and produce very cool products.

The languages are HTML, CSS and Javascript (JS). HTML and CSS allows them to build some cool graphics, websites, etc. And with the explosion in mobile and responsive design, these are skills needed for years to come.

JS is another language growing in popularity. It allows a little more animation if you will. And kids love animation. Even if that is a circle that changes color when clicked or a browser prompt, asking a name.

Insanely Rewarding

Programming for kids became insanely rewarding. Because the kids love the class. Take a group of fifteen kids, after school and ask them to be quiet and behaved for an hour. Not an easy task.

From week one they were hooked. And as their skill set expanded and they were able to do more it was amazing to see their creativity take over. To see them convert their ideas into a tangible output.

Being able to ask them to “style an element” and watch them go to work is awesome. And they ask questions. Thought provoking, detailed questions.

Ah, there is great hope for the future of humanity.

Try It Yourself

Want to offer your own programming for kids course at your local school, library, etc? Then please, contact us to learn more. The only cost is your time.

Who knows, you may very well inspire the next Steve Jobs.

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