“The kids of today tap, swipe and pinch their way through the world. But unless we give them tools to build with computers, we are raising only consumers instead of creators,” says programmer Linda Liukas. That’s why parents and teachers should introduce coding as a creative act — a playful form of making that requires imagination, bravery and perseverance. Ready to teach your kids how to code? Here are 5 great places to start.
1) Hello Ruby
Hello Ruby is a whimsical website (and book!) created by Liukas to explain programming fundamentals to kids. The detailed lesson plans are appropriate for kids 5+.
Code.org teaches students the basics of programming through a free series of guided exercises — and is one of several resources on this list to be recommended by the TED Technology Team. To bring coding into your classroom, check out the Hour of Code model.
Created and maintained by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT’s Media Lab, Scratch is a both a programming language and an evolving community of young coders. To get started, dive into these resources.
4) Girls Who Code
Will the next generation of computer scientists include more Ada Lovelaces? Yes, if teachers and parents inspire more girls to start coding — and to embrace risk. “Most girls are taught to avoid risk and failure,” says founder Reshma Saujani. “Coding is an endless process of trial and error.” Learn more about the Girls Who Code curriculum here.
5) CS Unplugged
Even a Waldorf school can get excited about these computer science teaching tools. “CS Unplugged has activities you can do without a computer to teach programming fundamentals,” says Liukas.
Image credit: Celeste Lai/TED-Ed
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TechCrashCourse is another website where you can learn C, C++ and Java programming. This website is very useful for beginners.