Kids and Coding: What are the Benefits?
As a parent, you’re aware of the benefits of playtime, reading aloud together, and eating veggies with your child—they all help your child feel and be their best.
But what about coding? Is that something that’s just for grown-ups?
Not at all! Coding has all the brain benefits of learning a new language with all the fun benefits of your child’s favorite games. In fact, coding experts say the best time to begin teaching programming to kids is between the ages of 2 and 7. But regardless of your child’s age, the benefits of kids learning to code range from promoting academic excellence to inspiring creativity.
Let’s take a look at the top 7 benefits.
#1 Develops Logic Skills
Coding truly is like learning a new language—the language of computers. Coding is the art of directing a computer to carry out certain tasks. But no matter how smart the device, a computer is only as savvy as its programmer. Commands must be issued in a clear, logical order for programs to function.
It’s kind of like making a sandwich.
The PB&J Experiment
A favorite metaphor for understanding programming logic requires a quick trip to the kitchen for the PB&J Experiment.
If you were directing someone on how to make a PB&J, your instructions would probably look something like this:
- Put peanut butter on one slice of bread.
- Put jelly on the other.
- Combine the pieces and bon appetit.
As humans, we know intuitively that “putting peanut butter on bread” means opening the jar, scooping out some peanut goodness with a knife, and spreading it on a slice of bread.
But a computer takes things much more literally. A computer would hear “put peanut butter on bread” and place the whole jar on top of the loaf.
In PB&Js and programming, you need to be specific in your commands and work in a logical order. So a simple command like “put peanut butter on bread” turns into something like this:
- Remove slice of bread from loaf. Place on cutting board surface.
- Pick up peanut butter jar with one hand. Open the jar by twisting the lid counter-clockwise. Set jar lid aside.
- Pick up the knife by its handle.
- Insert a third of the knife into the peanut butter.
- Take knife out of the jar carefully.
- Set jar on counter so the jar’s opening is facing up.
- Press the knife to the bread and move it across the bread to evenly distribute peanut butter.
And that’s just the PB part of the PB and J.
To practice computer coding is to practice logical thinking, which will benefit your child in their academic pursuits and their everyday life.
#2 Improves Communication and Organization Skills
As we’ve mentioned, computers are only as smart as the humans who program them. Kids have to take their coding goals and articulate them into actionable commands. And if you’ve ever used the phrase, “Use your words, sweetheart,” you know the value of children learning to distill their emotions, wants, and needs into words.
Computer coding teaches kids not only how to use their words but also how to organize them. The communication and organizational skills that result from teaching kids coding can also help your children:
- Plan out and write academic essays
- Design science experiments
- Improve decision-making abilities
- Engage in complex conversations
#3 Propels Self-Learning
One of the most important lessons children learn through their kids coding class curriculum is how to learn.
A coding wiz listed on Forbes 2019 30 under 30, Jon Mattingly, believes kids are perfectly primed for not only coding, but how to learn:
“Childhood and early adolescence are the critical age ranges for children to learn anything, including programming, because their brains are still developing and learning ‘how to learn.’”
As kids work on their own coding projects, they have to be resourceful and learn how to tackle problems, learn new programming skills to solve those problems, and achieve their coding goals—all on their own time. And if a kid knows she can teach herself new programming tricks and tips, she knows she has the power to learn and master anything.
#4 Establishes Creative Problem Solving
No matter if you’re coding in college or the third grade, programming requires creativity.
Every coding project is a puzzle with multiple possible solutions. It’s up to your kid and their imagination to try different ways of looking at the problem, which inspires creativity in children. The more creatively your child approaches the issue, the more insight they’ll have to figure it all out.
The creative problem solving skills kids learn from computer programming can be applied across the board. Just ask professor of computer science at Leeds University (and father to young coders himself), Dan Crow:
“Computational thinking teaches you how to tackle large problems by breaking them down into a sequence of smaller, more manageable problems. It allows you to tackle complex problems in efficient ways that operate at a huge scale. It involves creating models of the real world with a suitable level of abstraction, and focusing on the most pertinent aspects. It helps you go from specific solutions to general ones.”
#5 Teaches Persistence
Do you remember when your child was first learning to ride a bike? There was likely a tumble or two as your child was figuring out those wheels. But you may have told your child something like, “It’s not about how many times you fall; it’s about how many times you get back up and try again.”
Coding helps kids learn resilience in the face of failure. Coding requires you to try various solutions to computer programming issues—and if those solutions fail, you try again. Some call it perseverance; some call it resilience. Tricia Berry, Deputy Director of the Center for STEM Education at the University of Texas, calls it grit:
“Coding by its nature forces students to try, fail, and try again, thus helping kids become critical thinkers with the grit and commitment to persevere because they are motivated by the opportunity to create something truly personal and social at the same time.”
Whether your child is learning to ride a bike or code a cool cycling game of their own invention, learning to pick themselves up after they fall is a skill they’ll use throughout their life.
#6 Opens New Doors for Their Future
Your kids are still figuring out their passions and futures—today, they might want to be a fireman, and tomorrow they might want to be an astronaut. Coding skills can pave the path to a fulfilling career for your kids. Here are just a few compelling reasons why a coding class might be a wise add to your child’s extracurriculars (and eventually resume):
National Association of Colleges and Employers reports that computer science is the second highest-paid college degree.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has identified professions in software development as one of the fastest-growing occupations in the professional world, with a projected 21.5% increase in job opportunities over the next ten years.
A report conducted by technology research institute Burning Glass Technologies revealed that it pays to code—literally. Jobs that require programming skills pay $22,000 more per year than jobs that don’t.
- This same report also showed that coding benefits careers in multiple industries, including:
- Information Technology
- Data Analysis
- Arts and Design
Even if your first grader’s career choice is professional wrestling, knowledge of basic coding concepts can still benefit their career path, wherever it leads in the long run.
#7 It’s Fun!
Coding isn’t just a bunch of bland 1’s and 0’s—it’s a whole new creative outlet in the digital world. According to a survey conducted by Change the Equation, more than half of polled students ranked computer science as one of the subjects they liked “a lot.” And it’s easy to understand why. Through coding, your child can:
- Build fun new websites about their favorite things
- Create gorgeous media art for the fridge and the family holiday e-card
- Develop video games your children’s friends will ooh and aah over
- And so much more
Reap the Benefits of Coding with Disney Codeillusion
Kids and Disney Codeillusion go together like peanut butter and jelly, like Aladdin and Abu, like Anna and Elsa. Disney Codeillusion teaches your child coding through an RPG-style classroom starring your favorite characters from the magical world of Disney.
Designed by coding and education experts, Disney Codeillusion immerses your child in a coding adventure that will teach them four of the most utilized coding languages, including:
Disney Codeillusion comes with 125 comprehensive lessons, a complimentary magic book that helps commemorate your child’s coding milestones, and a ton of fun. No need to run your child to another class or extracurricular activity on time—each lesson is self-guided, so your child can practice at their own pace.
Guided by helpful and familiar Disney characters, your child will practice coding through fun games and art. And if they get stuck on a problem, Disney Codeillusion’s “no-stuck” features will help lead them to the answers they’re looking for. Through these magical and engaging lessons, your child will practice:
- Web Design
- Media Art
- Game Development
Try your Disney Codeillusion free trial and see the benefits of coding for kids come to life like magic.
Venture Beat. What’s the Right Age for Kids to Learn to Code? https://venturebeat.com/2013/06/25/whats-the-right-age-for-kids-to-learn-to-code-debate/
National Association of Colleges and Employers. The Top-Paid Majors for the Class of 2018. https://www.naceweb.org/job-market/compensation/the-top-paid-majors-for-the-class-of-2018/
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment Projections: Fastest growing occupations. https://www.bls.gov/emp/tables/fastest-growing-occupations.htm
Burning Glass Technologies. Beyond Point and Click: The Expanding Demand for Coding Skills. https://www.burning-glass.com/research-project/coding-skills/
MIT. Programming Peanut Butter and Jelly. http://static.zerorobotics.mit.edu/docs/team-activities/ProgrammingPeanutButterAndJelly.pdf
The Guardian. Why every child should learn to code. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/feb/07/year-of-code-dan-crow-songkick