Coding Bootcamps for Kids:
Programming and computer literacy are heavily needed in the job market of the future. This is why teaching your kid to code is fast becoming a popular trend. Starting your child on their coding journey is a sure way to give them an excellent set of skills that will serve them well in the future.
But how do you show them that coding isn’t dull? How do you get them to stick with it? What are the best programming languages for kids to learn? What programs, courses, and bootcamps are worth your while?
These are just some of the questions we’re going to look at and answer in this coding bootcamp for kids article.
What is coding?
Computer programming at its core means telling a computer to carry out a set of instructions
Each language has its own pros and cons in terms of carrying out tasks. If a language wasn’t up to the job, a new one was created that would. Computer games are usually coded in Java, or C++ while databases may be created using PHP or SQL.
You may be surprised to know that many of the concepts and syntax are the same. Knowing just one language can give you the ability to learn another one quickly.
Why should you teach kids to code?
Learning to code is possibly one of the most vital skills needed for the future.
This doesn’t mean that every child should grow up to become a software developer. There are plenty of non-coding-related jobs that aren’t going anywhere.
But knowing how to code can grant your child several benefits that will help them grow and develop.
- Learning a foreign language as an adult is challenging work. For kids, the younger they learn a language, the easier it is for them to pick up. Learning to code is just like learning a foreign language, and for the kids, the earlier, the better!
- Steve Jobs is famous for saying, “Coding teaches you how to think.” What did he mean by that? Coding requires knowledge and skills beyond learning a programming language. It requires knowledge of maths, critical thinking, and problem solving, creativity, and teamwork
- Some sectors of hi-tech may have as many as 3.5 million unfulfilled jobs in 2021, and it’s expected to rise even further
- Software and computer engineering positions, on average, pay way more than other jobs. The Bureau of Labor lists the median pay for software engineers at $103,560 per year, and it’s expected to rise by as much as 24% until 2026
- Computers are needed in nearly every industry, and sectors like healthcare and construction are rapidly shifting more and more towards online services and utilizing the cloud
What is a bootcamp for kids, and at what age can they start learning to code?
You can start teaching your kids to code from as early as 5 years old. If this seems too young, don’t forget that kids at this age can soak up information like a new language much more quickly than an adult. Plus, there are block-like languages that are more visual than other languages and perfect for younger children.
Many bootcamps and programs have gamified their curriculum to make the experience as fun as possible and to help ensure kids stay motivated and engaged when learning to code. They also use a project and research-based approach by using games, mobile apps, and other child-orientated methods.
Types of learning methods for kids
A coding bootcamp for kids is a training program catered explicitly towards younger students. Intense bootcamps for adults aren’t suitable for younger students as they’re too intensive and require too much time.
There’s more than one way to sign your kids up for coding class. Here are the most typical ones:
Convenient and usually offer both self-paced courses or live tuition. Self-paced learning is excellent in terms of comfort, especially when you and your children have a busy schedule. If you want your kids to get the most out of their time, look for online courses with online support such as live teaching or mentor support they can turn to for any questions or problems.
Tech camps have risen in popularity in recent years. It’s a great way to get your kids interesting in coding by letting them socialize with other like-minded children Finding time during the school year can be tricky. Some tech camps offer winter and summer options when there’s no school. These are the closest ‘bootcamp’ experiences available for young kids interested in coding.
Do It Yourself (DIY)
There are several high-quality books you can purchase online or from bookstores that tackle different programming languages for kids. If your child prefers a more hands-on approach to learning, consider purchasing a robotics kit. There are also subscription kits available that send a weekly or monthly package to unwrap and learn how to implement and use.
A good idea is to identify the type of content your child enjoys. If they enjoy learning from videos, there are many YouTube tutorials or online classes with pre-recorded videos.
Suppose they prefer to get their hands dirty and physically touch components as they learn. In that case, there are computer-building and robotic kits.
Do they enjoy the social aspect of learning? In that case, finding a winter or summer camp may be the best decision you’ll make.
Making sense of all the different curriculums
There’s no shortage of kid-orientated curriculums and resources out there. Most software developers know that many coding concepts used in developing games, apps, and websites are the same ones they’ll use elsewhere. Loops, conditionals, functions, classes, variables – these are the foundations of any programming language.
Don’t just take the program’s word on it that their curriculum is the best or one that’s suited for kids. Check with your kid if they’re interested in joining it. If you can, ask a software developer friend to inspect the curriculum. They could have important feedback on whether the bootcamp or course is worth the time and money.
What are the best programming languages for kids?
Choosing a programming language for a child to learn heavily depends on their age. Here’s a short selection of the most relevant ones to consider.
If they’re between the ages of 5-8, your best bet is to pick a visual block language. Instead of lines of code, this program is made up of graphical blocks, which the kids can drag and drop blocks of code and sort into place to create working code. The blocks are also colored differently to help differentiate them and make it easy for kids to identify their purpose. This way, they don’t have to type any words and can get to grips with syntax without learning the language formally.
HTML and CSS
Suppose your kid has a keen interest in building websites. In that case, they’ll want to take a web development course that focuses on HTML and CSS, as these are the building blocks of any website. Compared to other languages, HTML and CSS are relatively simple and can be learned quickly and at a young age.
Python is an excellent language for kids to use. While it’s a high-level programming language, it’s powerful, easy to read, and can be used to create a wide range of things. Kids from 10+ are probably ready to tackle Python and enter the programming world.
Tips to get the most out of your kid’s coding bootcamp and learning adventure
Kids can be fickle at the best of times, so you’ll want to check out these tips to help your child reach their full learning potential.
Don’t make it boring
Learning to code shouldn’t feel like another class in school or just another bunch of homework to do at home. It should be relaxed, interesting and exciting! Don’t even bother signing them up for academic-focused classes, and especially stay away from adult-oriented classes.
The trick is finding an engaging course without being too challenging and mundane. If your child dreads their next coding lesson, they won’t take it seriously, and they won’t stick with it for long.
Some of the more exciting programs know what kids want to do with their coding skills, like learning to create a new sword in Minecraft or creating an app that makes funny sounds when pressed.
What learning method works best for your child?
Some kids learn best with a one-on-one tutor. Others thrive in group exercises. Maybe your kid can’t get enough of learning from fun YouTube videos. Coding for young children is growing in popularity, and the number of offline and online options continues to grow.
Talk to other kids’ parents and see if they’d be interested in hiring a tutuot to teach a group simultaneously. This way, you can get specialized teaching, and it’s local too.
Find your child a role mentor
Finding your kid a mentor and role model can go a long way. It could be a family friend who is a programmer, a teacher, a work colleague, or even a professional tutor.
With a mentor, it’s easy for your child to talk to them about their learning adventure and turn to them when they need help. It also helps to motivate a child when their role model is interested in the same things they are.
Know when to stop
Forcing your child to learn something he doesn’t want to usually doesn’t end well and may just end up wasting everybody’s time and your hard-earned money. Take it slow and don’t rush too hard and fast to try and get your child programming. It’s a long journey, and there’ll be many bumps along the way.
Think of it like learning piano. It takes lots of practice and discipline to perfect, and it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a skill that develops slowly over time, and it’s ok to take breaks and come back to it after a short while when it’s too much of a burden.
List of free and paid learning programs, resources, classes, bootcamps, apps, and more
We’ve put together a list of excellent tools and programs you can introduce to your child to help them start their programming education. They’re a mix of free and paid courses, apps, classes, online videos, and bootcamps for kids aged 5+.