Coding falls somewhere between math and language arts. Within programming, there are logic puzzles, order of operations, and formulas (like in mathematics), and there are also grammar rules and syntax that need to be followed (like with language).
Depending on where you stand with math and language skills, you might assume that learning how to code sounds rigorous, boring, or too complex. When considering the question “is coding hard?”, you may be inclined to say yes.
But nothing could be further from the truth!
In this article, we’ll show you how to make coding fun for all ages, with advice broken down for kids, teenagers, and adults.
Make Coding Fun For Kids
When it comes to educating younger learners, one piece of advice stands at the forefront: make it interactive.
To educate rambunctious, high-energy children, you need to engage their interests, keep their focus, and then allow them to explore. Nothing quite speaks to all three of these qualities like games.
Games allow children to create within a given boundary. Games have rules (much like coding), but within that set of rules, there are nearly limitless possibilities (again, like coding). To that end, try any of the following inventive games to show younger learners how coding is fun:
- Robot spaghetti challenge – For this coding game, you’ll need some pre-cooked spaghetti noodles, a jar of pasta sauce, and some serving bowls. Lay out the three items on a table and simply ask students to write down exactly how to make a bowl of spaghetti. This becomes a challenge because you are going to act like a robot who runs on code. That means you have to take everything literally.
Each “line of code” has to be a single action, and there are no shortcuts. See what happens when you take their instructions word-for-word. Hint: This one might get a little messy, so be sure to have some paper towels on hand.
- Get out of the rat maze! – For this game, you can have individual worksheets with a maze drawn on them, or you can turn an entire classroom into a maze. The trick with this coding game is that other students have to help the “rat” escape the maze and get the cheese with only single word commands: left, right, straight, backward, etc. This game will push students to think like a computer program, facilitating one action at a time.
There are so many unique games that embolden the ideas of coding—even without using a computer.
Note: Playing isn’t just beneficial for younger kids. Per Psychology Today: “Play, in almost any form, has myriad benefits for adults. It reduces stress, improves feelings of optimism, [and builds] cognitive flexibility.”1 If you want to boost your learning performance, make sure to add a little playtime into your regimen.
Make Coding Fun for Teenagers
Teenagers can be more resistant to learning new skills. This is often correlated with social and emotional factors outside of the classroom or learning environment. Donna Wilson and Marcus Conyers, co-authors and co-educators, explain this phenomenon: “By their early teens, many youths have already formed an image of themselves as intellectually capable—or not.”2
Many older students need encouragement to find learning a new skill enjoyable. They need to be challenged, certainly, but in ways that build confidence and excitement.
Make coding fun for teenagers by breaking up complex programming projects into smaller, bite-sized chunks. Or start out their programming education with coding projects that can be finished within a single sitting, for example:
- Programming a simple media art project – Learning to code doesn’t have to be all about textbook problems and solving code bugs. If you have an artistic teenager on your hands, be sure to engage them where they are with a simple media art project in a programming language like Processing.
Practice makes perfect in coding, so building small projects is a fun way to put students’ coding skills to the test. Even writing a simple computer program is a great starting point. An easy project can give them the creative spark they need to start a lifelong coding journey.
Make Coding Fun for Adults
Adults understand intuitively how ubiquitous electronics are. Electronics are on our wrists, in our pockets, and now, they’re even built into our refrigerators. And for many adults who want to make programming fun, it starts with understanding code’s applicability.
To stimulate some excitement when you’re learning how to code, don’t forget how applicable the programming skills you’ll gain are. For example:
- HTML & CSS – These two languages will allow you to build websites, online portfolios, simple web-based games, and so much more.
- Processing – Processing is the artist’s connection to coding. It’s a programming language that freely allows you to create memorable art projects from your computer.
We interact with computer code every day, and finding that connection to the process is an incredible way to pique anyone's curiosity.
Disney Codeillusion: Coding Made Magical and Fun
Disney Codeillusion combines all the best aspects of what makes learning to code fun and wraps them up into one role-playing coding adventure. Learners of all ages can discover the magic of coding through:
- The Disney Codeillusion Magic Book, which takes the gameplay off the screen and into the physical world with tangible mystery puzzles, postcards and much more.
- Over 125 bite-sized lessons, that break down the comprehensive material into engaging, workable chunks.
- Real-world programming knowledge, like website design, game development, and media art with real-world applicability.
Want to experience the magic of coding for yourself? Start your coding journey with a FREE trial today.
- Psychology Today.Play. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/play
- Edutopia. The Teenage Brain is Wired to Learn—So Make Sure Your Students Know It. https://www.edutopia.org/article/teenage-brain-is-wired-to-learn-donna-wilson-marcus-conyers