Web designing and coding are important skills that kids should learn from early on. Not only are these skills crucial from the career point of view, but also beneficial for their cognitive development. Thanks to rapidly evolving technology, acquiring these skills isn’t that difficult anymore either.
With the Covid-19 pandemic sending kids back home to take classes virtually, there has never been a better time to introduce them to web design and programming. Children are taking coding classes in schools as well, with tech-industry-backed non-profit Code.org influencing more schools to include coding courses in their classrooms. However, there’s still a long way to go to incorporate more of these tech programs for kids.
There are numerous benefits to teaching kids programming and graphic design from an early age. If employment numbers are anything to go by, the IT sector is continuously growing, with a projected 62 million full-time IT jobs in 2023 globally.
However, when it comes to coding for kids, it’s not really about preparing them for a career in IT. Rather, it’s an effort to impart a skill in them that can better prepare them for a future that hinges on technology.
As a parent, if you’re curious about introducing your kid to web design or coding, here’s everything you need to know.
Making a website today is not like what it was 20 years ago. With website building platforms like WordPress, Shopify, Squarespace, and Wix, making a website pretty much requires moving stuff. And this technique is called "drag and drop".
All the elements of the website are coded automatically when you drag it and drop it on the web page. For instance, if it’s a map you need to include at the footer of the webpage, you can simply drag it from a menu of elements and drop it where you would want to have it. Simple, right?
This drag and drop web designing method has made designing a website easy for both non-tech savvy adults and young kids. However, it does require some basic training and some aesthetical sense to produce those beautiful, easy navigating websites.
Web design would be ideal for those creative kids who like to dabble with art and design, as there’s no coding involved here. The good news is that a lot of web design platforms offer free plans to build a website or two, which can be great for teaching kids how to build a website.
Your child has probably already seen a lot of websites and may have an understanding of how websites work and what the different kinds of websites are out there. Nevertheless, here’s how you should go about teaching your kids drag and drop web design, alongside learning a thing or two yourself:
There are all sorts of websites today, from simple branding ones to online retail stores to blogs with hundreds of articles. Teach your kid what these different types are, what they are for, and who they are for.
There’s no need to pay and subscribe to a plan with any website builder. Choose from easy website builders that are suitable for kids.
Pique your child’s interest by helping them design a website they want to make. For instance, if your child is a little chef, create a cooking website with recipes with them.
Web design is more design-focused than you think, so teach them some basic color theory and experiment with different themes.
Similar to web design, drag and drop coding is also an effective way to learn programming languages. As a parent, you have to start off the right way, so they develop interest and walk away learning something useful. And taking a more visual approach with drag and drop is the right way.
Here are five useful tips to get them started on coding:
Not all programming languages are created equal, and some are relatively difficult to master, even for adults. It’s imperative to choose a language that’s age-appropriate for your kid. You may want to take some time to research and understand the basic framework of a language and whether that’s suitable for your kid.For kids 8 years or older, the following programming languages are appropriate:
Unless you’re a developer yourself, you should look for online coding classes for kids that are designed specifically for them. There are many code teaching platforms today for kids, many of which use fun exercises and games to teach them how to code.
Some of the best coding classes for kids are online and use drag and drop graphics and games to teach them the basic syntax and logic of the code. Kids as young as five years old can start to learn basic programming from these fun courses.
Even if you’re a developer, it’s a much better approach to go with a kid’s coding course. Since you’re not a teacher, you may make coding boring for them, discouraging the kid from pursuing it further.
Unlike their syllabus at school, learning coding can be very dynamic, and that’s a great thing as that’s how they learn. Don’t be too rigid with what they should learn. Use what interests them to make coding more fun for them, even if that means deviating from your original plan.
It’s best to start off with visual coding and move forward based on what gets them excited the most.
While you want to take a fun approach to teach programming languages, creating a routine and some discipline will go a long way. Dedicate 30 minutes of their day to taking online coding classes or practicing by themselves with the tools. This time can be extended on weekends or summer vacations.
Initially, you should sit with the child and pay attention, answering their questions. It’s absolutely fine if you yourself don’t know much about coding. That’s what the classes are for. Nevertheless, having you beside them will help them navigate the basics and not get distracted so easily.
It may take some time until you find a coding language that your child loves. It could really be anything that gets their interest, so don’t stick with just one. Try at least three different coding languages to find out which one excites your kid the most. The one that does get them jumping and smiling is the one to go all-in for!
Whether it’s drag and drop web design you choose or coding, getting your kid started on these fundamental things can be a great parenting hack. It can be a fun activity for them that also teaches them some important skills.
Schools all around the world are including basic coding classes for kids and making them mandatory. Even in high schools and colleges, these courses are becoming more and more common. However, as a parent, it’s your responsibility to take the right approach when it comes to kids learning to code or build websites.
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