Coding is everywhere—from the phones in our pockets to high-tech refrigerators that tell you when the milk is spoiled. But despite its ubiquity and high-demand in the job market, coding is a neglected subject in school and is rarely associated with children. Which begs the question, should kids learn to code?
The short answer: Yes, anyone can learn to code.
Not only is computer science a favored subject in school, it’s also a tremendously beneficial hobby for kids outside of the classroom.
Why Should Kids Learn to Code? We Have 12 Reasons
On top of being both compelling and engaging, coding promotes immense personal and intellectual growth that any proud parent will appreciate.
Here are the top 12 reasons why kids should practice coding:
- Develops technological literacy
- Teaches logic
- Enhances planning and organizational skills
- Improves communication skills
- Encourages empathy and collaboration
- Cultivates creativity
- Promotes resilience and self-confidence
- Teaches kids how to learn independently
- Fosters academic excellence
- High demand for coders in STEM
- Promotes excellence in other fields
- Kids love it!
Read on to discover why kids should learn how to code, how they can start exploring today, and which educational resource is best for teaching them.
#1 Learning to Code Develops Technological Literacy
Today’s children live in a vibrant world of smart devices, apps, and the internet. They are aging in an era where humans might go to Mars and cars might drive themselves, which can both be exciting and overwhelming.
Practicing code deepens a child’s understanding of technology and encourages novice coders to consider every piece of hardware and software they’re working with. An early understanding of tech helps children prepare for the ever-changing world of the 21st century.
#2 Coding Teaches Kids About Logic
The foundation of all thought, understanding, and communication is logic. At its core, coding is the act of giving a computer instructions. This requires an understanding of how the computer “thinks” and an ability to give it precise commands as efficiently as possible.
Discovering how to use logic through different types of coding is crucial for cultivating fundamental critical thinking and reasoning skills. It also prepares kids for excellence in subjects like math, physics, linguistics, philosophy, and beyond.
#3 Coding Helps Kids Practice Planning and Organization
To adequately solve a coding problem, children must map out their ideas, design actionable plans, and follow through on their goals. The practice of planning and organizing your thoughts before executing tasks also helps kids with:
- Essay writing
- Decision making
- Challenging math and physics assignments
- Engaging in difficult conversations and debates
#4 Coding Improves Their Written and Verbal Communication Skills
While it may seem like computers have all the answers, in practice, they actually need a lot of direction. A computer will take everything you tell them literally, and will never assume beyond what they’re told. That means that coders have to be extremely specific with their instructions, or their code won’t “run.”
The practice of learning to “talk” to computers presents a worthwhile challenge for kids—one that helps them develop integral communication skills that improve their verbal and written interactions with others at a young age.
In a team setting, the ability to communicate with thoroughness and accuracy is also the foundation of learning to write “pseudocode.” Pseudocode is how coders draw roadmaps for their fellow programmers to follow when working on the same “script,” or program.
#5 Coding Encourages Empathy and Collaboration
To work with fellow coders on a project, kids must practice how to communicate effectively and collaborate compassionately. Coding encourages kids to observe how others understand different concepts. To effectively explain their code, young coders must develop empathy for their co-collaborators.
#6 Coding Cultivates Creativity
As much an art as it is a science, coding inspires kids to get in the mindset of thinking outside the box to find solutions. Like any piece of art, a coding script is unique to the creator, sculpted by their individual perspective and imagination.
Coding encourages kids to:
- Approach a complex problem from different angles
- Reframe difficult questions
- Enjoy the process of creative problem solving
Kids can then implement these vital lessons to all aspects of their lives.
#7 Coding Promotes Resilience and Self-Confidence
Errors, troubleshooting, and debugging are all integral parts of the coding process. The first time novices run a program, it usually fails. However, the frustration of fixing their code is well worth the work when the computer finally aces its task.
These experiences help kids build resilience when faced with difficult problems. Coding gives kids the confidence to tackle challenges and the bravery to face failure without fear.
#8 Coding Teaches Kids How to Learn Independently
Unlike in a history or math assignment, the exact answer to a coding problem is rarely available online or tucked in the back of a book.
While bits and pieces of the solution can be foraged from forums or online learning resources, for the most part, coders have to tolerate the discomfort of not having an immediate answer. Kids have to piece it together on their own by using context clues, error messages, and helpful nudges.
When kids learn to code, they are ultimately discovering how to learn.
Margaret Mead says it best, “Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.
And coding does just that.
#9 Coding Fosters Academic Excellence
As if these eight benefits weren’t enough already, can you believe that coding might also make kids better at school? While logic and problem solving skills play an inherent role in better math and science grades, studies show that coding actually has a profound effect on the brain itself.
A 2014 study found that coding—and an understanding of its processes—activates five regions in the left hemisphere of the brain that are associated with the following:
- Verbal and numerical memory
- Natural language processing
- Artificial language processing
Proficiency in artificial language processing has been shown to improve grammar skills and pattern detection, while natural language processing may help with reading comprehension and foreign language learning.
None said it better than co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, “Learning to write programs stretches your mind, and helps you think better.”
#10 There Is a High Demand for Coders in STEM Fields
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” This is a question that kids hear too often.
While “firefighter,” “astronaut,” and “veterinarian” will always be stellar answers, there are so many reasons why “computer scientist” or “programmer” should make an appearance on that list.
Here are some comforting factoids for all the parents out there:
- Over the next ten years, computer science jobs will increase by 16%.
- On average, computer scientists make upwards of $79,000 a year.
- Lead programmers make an average annual salary of $104,000.
Your kids might eventually love the fulfilling and dynamic nature of coding jobs. With the ever-changing problems and rapid pace of tech, the work week will never be short of fascinating new puzzles to solve.
#11 Learning to Code Promotes Excellence in Other Fields
Not every kid dreams of being an engineer or computer scientist. Even if a child’s passion becomes health, finance, art, law, or beyond, coding will always be a welcome skill on their résumé. While there is always room for coders in STEM, every industry appreciates the skill set, attitude, and creativity coders bring to the table.
#12 Kids Love to Code!
This last benefit is also the most important one: coding is super fun for kids!
Whether it’s an after-school hobby or a life-long passion, coding is an incredibly enjoyable and fulfilling pastime for any kid. Not only does coding build skills that parents love, but it provides kids with a creative outlet that leaves them confident, enriched, and brimming with new ideas.
Coding is far more than a technical skill—it is the key that unlocks almost infinite possibilities for creation.
Learn to Code Through the Magic of Disney
For kids to get a headstart in coding, they need to use tools that are designed for engagement, enjoyment, and retention.
That’s why Disney Codeillusion is the perfect learning tool for your curious kiddos.
With 125 comprehensive lessons, an adjoining magic book, and a “no-stuck” philosophy, Disney Codeillusion is an interactive online coding program that kids will have so much fun with, they’ll forget they’re even learning!
Kids can team up with some of their favorite Disney characters to discover how to bring their imaginations to life with the following topics:
- Web Design
- Media Art
- Game Development
Along the way, they will practice how to use four common coding languages, including:
The gamified courses make learning to code easy and fun. Take it from 9-year-old Logan, an up-and-coming coder and a certified kid, “I like it because you can draw stuff and code stuff. I want to program more because of it!”
Let your kid try Disney Codeillusion’s free trial and prepare to be enchanted!
And parents, don’t be surprised if you want to learn, too.
Code.org. Why Computer Science? https://code.org/promote
Siegmund, Kastner, Apel, Parnin, Bethmann, Leich, Saake, Brechmann. Understanding Understanding Source Code with Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (Study). https://www.infosun.fim.uni-passau.de/cl/publications/docs/SKA+14.pdf
Teach Your Kids Code. 8 reasons why every child should learn to code. https://teachyourkidscode.com/why-coding-is-important-to-learn/
ZipRecruiter. Lead Programmer Salary. https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/Lead-Programmer-Salary
PayScale. Average Computer Scientist Salary. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Computer_Scientist/Salary
Code.org. Why Computer Science? https://code.org/promote
Occupational Outlook Handbook. Computer Information and Research Scientists. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-and-information-research-scientists.htm