You must have heard numerous times the importance of learning coding and computer science.
But, how do you get your kids started, especially when they are young?
This is a big challenge even for people who are engineers themselves and are deep in the tech industry. We have met many parents like that in Silicon Valley. After all, knowing how to code is very different from designing an effective learning approach for kids, especially one that’s both educational AND fun for kids.
In particular, many high-tech parents have asked us about how to introduce their kids to coding before they are old enough to take our classes.
Look no further! We are sharing 4 games that are great for kids ages 6 and beyond who are interested in Computer Science and coding. They cover a variety to skills and areas. Your kids will surely fall in love with them!
A staple in many families’ homes, Minecraft combines creativity and education in powerful ways. The game (if you don’t know already) involves building practically anything using blocks and creating your own world with them. It’s all 3D, and really cool. Go on adventures, build a city, make friends — you decide what you want to do in this game.
Playing Minecraft can also develop children’s ability to grasp spatial awareness. This spatial thinking aspect is an important part of brain development and can lead to a more confident understanding of subjects such as math, science, and engineering.
Playing the game itself is a lot of fun, but the game is even more interesting because you can mod (modify) it. The mod allows players to change certain aspects of how the game was originally written and build their own games with it. There are many mods you can download from the internet. The inspiring coders can also program their own mod using code.
(For older kids, grades 5 and above, they can sign up a free Minecraft trial to jump-start their coding skills.)
With the way things are moving, coding is the future. So, learning about coding early is a great idea for any kiddo. Luckily, there’s ScratchJr to help with getting started!
ScratchJr is a branch of Scratch, a great project at MIT. It’s one of the most popular kids’ coding platforms out there right now. Backed by rigorous research, millions of students of all ages have used it to build projects.
Perfect for ages 5–7, ScratchJr introduces computational thinking/coding through interactive stories, games, and easy to navigate interfaces. Kids can create characters and animations however they like and then use programming blocks to continue the story. Make it move, dance, change colors — whatever your child can dream up, they can do it!
If your child has tried ScratchJr and loved it, they can sign up for a free Scratch coding class (for grade 3 and above) to give Scratch a try as well.
While kids love to learn coding, many parents are concerned about having their kids glued to a screen at a young age. Osmo addresses this concern by connecting the physical world with the virtual world in a fun and effective way. Not only that, Osmo has won many prestigious awards, including one of Time’s 2014 Best Inventions.
Your child can explore math and play puzzles on a table in the physical world while seeing their creations come to life in the virtual world. It’s fascinating!
Osmo has also introduced a set of coding games where kids can connect physical coding blocks to control characters in the device and build games. It is a unique take on learning STEM and coding.
There are many robot toys out there, but few truly introduce the essence of robotics. Qbotik is an exception. The goal of the game is to “rescue” cubes, with each level offering increasingly more challenging tasks. Try to move a robotic arm. Seems easy, right? Not so! Give it a try and you will see how hard it is.
The game was “developed for STEM education as part of a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for educational applications,” Jeff Sprenger, one of the creators of Xemory Software, told us. “The idea was to give students hands-on experiences controlling two different kinds of robots in simulation.”
The game introduces concepts like degrees of freedom (motorized joints), gravity, rotation, torque, and forces. It’s a great way to understand how real robotic systems work and have a fun challenge. Play this game to test your abilities!
Finding the right educational games is challenging. Hopefully, this quick exploration has been helpful in your searching.
If you are looking to expand their knowledge in a way that offers rigorous learning and is fun, join these classes at Create & Learn. They are sure to excite your kids. Plus the trial classes are free. Give it a try!