I learned to code when I was about 10 years old. My dad brought home a Commodore VIC-20 with a cassette drive that we hooked up to the TV. My first program was probably similar to every other kid’s from my generation:
10 PRINT "HELLO"
20 GOTO 10
It was simple but I made the computer DO something. In middle school and high school I took computer classes that taught me how to code. I even started learning C when I started college. In the end I determined that a life behind a monitor staring a code wasn’t for me. I never stuck with it but it did teach me to think.
“Everybody…should learn how to program a computer…because it teaches you how to think.” –Steve Jobs
Even today, I occassionally have to break out the old coding skills despite having tons of tools available to solve problems, having a purpose-built program to accomplish a task can be much more efficient.
Learning to code, even simple programs, teaches kids to think logically. They are given a set of rules and must operate within those guidelines in order to accomplish a task. Logically ordering steps and learning to work within the limitations of a set of defined parameters stretches their most important muscle: their brain.
OK, so their brain isn’t really a muscle but I think you get my point. There are a number of free resources available online that you can use to teach your kids to code. I’d encourage you to checkout Code.org for free and inexpensive ways to teach your kids how to code.
Did you learn to code as a kid? Do you think your kids could benefit from learning to code?