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Introducing computer coding as part of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curriculums is an important part of every child’s education. But with the complexity and fast-pace of today’s technological advances, it’s easy for parents to worry how they can instill a love of coding without having specialized training.
While a scientific background certainly doesn’t hurt as you support your child with school projects, all you need to help kids start is hands-on activities that build problem-solving skills, inspire them to ask questions, and provide them with tools to find the answers. The latest coding kits for kids meet them (and you) where they are with a playful balance of games, puzzles, and tangible creations that easily fit into day-to-day life.
A simple distillation of what it means to code is programming a step-by-step way to get from here to there. Choosing a kit that has a mix of basic coding terms and puzzles focused on process—without requiring a computer—makes it simple for beginners to grasp concepts in a tactile and straightforward fashion. Also look for a variety of activities per kit to stave off boredom in kids with limited attention spans.
If you or someone in your household has some experience with circuit boards and controllers to build interactive digital devices (like Arduino), consider a kid’s coding kit that uses these tools for a specific project. When they’re introduced to nuts, bolts, wires, and sensors in the context of a toy robot, it’s far less daunting than endless possibilities for tinkering. (Those can come later.)
Consider coding kits that blend a kid-friendly approach to programming languages with a customizable physical project—like the ability to drag-and-drop code on a mobile app. With a confidence-boosting foundation, they’ll be more likely to lead the way on what to build next.