Sponsored by YouthCode
With technology being ubiquitous in our world today, it’s hard not to be concerned with how much screen time a parent should allow a child. This concern usually stems from the perception that most screen time is passive consumption of content that has little or no value. But a simple shift in screen time can result in positive learning experiences that enable youth to interact with the digital world and develop key 21st century life skills.
Following are a few reasons how a shift to coding can benefit your child’s screen time.
- Coding enables children to be active producers of technology rather than passive consumers. As producers and creators of technology, children can be inspired to solve problems and make a difference in the world we live.
- Coding strengthens problem solving and critical thinking skills as well as learning or reinforcing important mathematical concepts such as patterns, variables, coordinates and the like.
- Coding develops a deeper level of fluency with the digital world. It is one thing to know how to use technologies but it’s another to understand the science behind them. With coding, kids begin to learn and understand the digital world they inhabit.
- Coding is the future. Technology is used all around us and in virtually every field. It’s foundational knowledge that all children need.
- Coding builds confidence. As children create and share stories, games, art and other projects, they immediately realize the result of their ability.
- Coding is easy to learn and fun. Most children don’t even realize they are learning because…
Coding apps come in a range of formats designed for different ages and abilities, often incorporating bright colors, cute characters, and elements of game design to appeal to kids. As beginners, kids typically learn by solving problems and puzzles or creating programs by dragging and dropping visual blocks of code (not far removed from building with LEGOs).
Following are some apps we believe your tech-savvy child will enjoy.
- The Foos – Story-based coding game has kids play through increasingly challenging levels.
- Kodable – Solid beginner game that introduces coding concepts and has lots of parent resources.
- Scratch Jr. and Scratch – Kids drag and drop blocks of code, snap them together, and watch them work.
- Tynker – Let your kids learn coding logic through games as well as creating mods for Minecraft.
- Hopscotch – With an appealing interface, boys and girls share creations with an online community while parents guide their producers with access to free curriculum.
- Lightbot – By meeting programming goals, kids unlock new levels and learn more advanced concepts.
- Code.org – Originators of the Hour of Code movement, kids ages 4+ can access free classes on computer science fundamentals.
Or if a local classroom learning experience is your preference, then YouthCode can help. YouthCode is a central Iowa program offering coding classes to youth ages 9+. All classes are instructor-led and use the block-based programming language Scratch. Classes consist of eight sessions with unplugged activities to learn basic computer science concepts and hands-on computer time for students to create projects based on the themes of art, storytelling, music & sound, game design or sports.
So if screen time is your frustration time, try redirecting your child’s focus to coding. There are plenty of reasons and resources to start today!