Programming is a great skill that kids these days should learn and develop, especially when exposed to different advanced digital technologies. To start code learning and programming, they must be familiar with its main language ‒ the programming languages.
Here are things you need to know about programming languages. You will also unravel the details of the top 7 languages your child can learn. But first, let’s see the situation of current code learning for kids.
Code learning today
Unlike the past years when people learn coding the hard way, basic programming is easier and more fun at the same time today. The basics of programming are things that kids of all ages can learn and do one day with their computers, including the coding fundamentals and building interactive games and websites.
And one thing that parents have a hard time doing is deciding what programming language they should let their kids learn. Because the reality is, there are so many programming languages you can choose from. But choosing the best one for your kids would depend on you and your kids.
You can see our list of coding languages which parents can choose for their kids. If you are also unsure how you can make your kids' experience fun in learning programming, you can also read Ways to improve online coding for your kids.
But for your convenience, here are the seven most common programming languages that your kids can start learning in coding classes:
Suggested Programming Languages for Your Kids
Scratch is a free programming language that your kids would enjoy using. It's a language that uses a block-based technology that allows kids to drag and drop blogs so they can program interactive games, stories, simulations and websites. It was developed by Mitch Resnick and continues to be maintained by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group in MIT.
This programming platform allows kids to code with ease without the frustration of typing codes manually using a keyboard. The real codes in Scratch are underneath the block system, so kids don't get overwhelmed when learning the basics of coding.
Scratch is one of the easiest and most appealing languages that kids today, even adults, can learn. It offers a simplified process of coding where kids can easily grasp the idea of creating games, animations, and interactive stories. They get to feel like professional programmers and game creators within minutes, all thanks to Scratch.
Blockly is a free programming language developed by Google which also uses visual blocks, just like Scratch. Through blocks, users can learn the master code underneath those blocks.
Blockly is developed for children 8 years old and above who want to learn coding skills whether at home or in school. This platform is also easy to use. The blocks are like actual multi-shaped blocks with different colours that children love to play with. Within the Blockly interface, your kids can also access a toolbox containing the blocks, bin, and space allotted to write actual codes.
Just like when your children are playing actual blocks at home, kids can also take out the blocks inside the toolbox and then arrange them according to the right sequence until they can solve the given problem, for instance, the maze below. Once all blocks are arranged, you can run the program, then Blockly will check if what your kids did was correct. If not, your kids can try again and solve the problem by rearranging the blocks until no more errors, just like that.
Python is a programming language that allows the kid to write codes manually using a keyboard. It's very different from the two previous languages that I mentioned because this is text-based. If you want your kids to learn and experience basic coding skills just like a programmer, Python is one of the best programming languages that your kids should learn.
Unlike in Scratch and Blockly, your kids will not be using blocks, but they would use written text codes. Children as early as 8 years old can learn how to use codes through Python.
Even if this language is text-based, it does not mean that it is less fun. Python, especially Python 3, allows kids to experience a unique and highly-engaging coding experience. Companies that use Python allow your children to learn and create various game genres just using Python codes.
Your kids will stumble upon a few challenges that would test their patience and dedication as they write the codes. They would also learn how to solve problems by constructing programming ideas in their minds and putting them into action through kids coding classes. It would continuously challenge the kids with the already built common functionalities within the Python libraries. With all the perks of Python, this is definitely one of the most recommended programming languages for kids.
If your kids play Minecraft, then Java is definitely one of your best programming language choices for them. Although this language is a bit harder than Python or other programming languages, introducing this to your kids can make learning other programming codes easier. Since you will teach kids the innate interests of Minecraft, it will be more effective to teach kids coding online.
There are several toolkits, tutorials and online resources out there if you want your kids to create something using Java. Paired with their interest in Minecraft, your children can start with the basics of Java. From there, they would be able to walk through behind the scenes of how Minecraft works by introducing them to its mods or modifications; this game is highly optimisable. Your kids can do mods or changes within the game, like the landscapes, character's objects, specifics and just about anything.
So, for your kids to make mods in the game, they need to write codes. And since Minecraft runs on Java, the game allows the players to access and make changes around Java source code. In this way, they get to learn the game that they like and at the same time learn the complicated things of coding, giving them both a challenge and excitement in learning how to code.
LUA is a fast and easy to learn programming language that kids can use to learn text-based coding. It is a free language, embeddable, simple and beginner-friendly, which is just perfect for kids.
LUA is fast, simple, and easy, making it great for programming embedded devices, like iOS and Android games and apps. One of the most popular game apps that run on LUA is Angry Birds. And one of the great kids coding platforms that use LUA is Roblox Studio. Your kids can create fun and exciting game genres using LUA codes. You can create your first game in Roblox Studio using tutorials, or you can ask for help and guidance from other LUA users because it also has a big and active online community, just like Scratch. You can easily download and install LUA on your desktop or laptop.
C# is a programming language that Microsoft developed. It uses .NET that is commonly used in developing websites, apps, and games. It is best for creating 3D games, so C# is popular in most 3rd party apps of Microsoft. It is why your kids can definitely start using C# to learn how to code, especially for beginners.
C# is much similar to Java. And since Java is a bit harder language, it will be much easier to learn other programming languages. If your kids are a fan of Microsoft, they will definitely like learning codes using C#.
C++ is one of the best programming languages available that can run using devices such as your computers. This language can provide deep understanding and experience for kids to learn more about coding. Kids can create games, software and other programs using C++. This language is text-based, so your kids will manually write codes using a keyboard.
Your kids will definitely have a clear grasp of programming techniques and principles, especially when they are interested in creating their own game versions. They will get to feel what professional programmers use in their jobs, and your kids will definitely have an edge when they get to pursue STEM education and career.
Suggestions in choosing the suitable programming language for your kid
The type of programming language is different for every child. There is no right or fixed programming language for all kids.
Depending on the age, innate talent for coding and interests of your child, you can pinpoint which type of programming language your child would be most interested in and fit into their needs.
If your children are below 7 years old, they can start learning codes using visual programming like Scratch or Blockly. They can start with text-based programming languages for more mature children or those with an innate talent for coding.
It all depends on your child. Talk to them and introduce them to the seven programming languages that were listed in this article. Other than that, there are still ways to begin teaching coding for kids.
Materials to introduce programming languages
Several parents start teaching code for kids through storybooks, picture books, and even tech toys. You could also try unplugged coding and programming activities for your children. Moreover, teachers suggest using STEM education to help kids to learn to code for kids.
However, you can start immediately with the programming languages mentioned above. So, you can begin using gadgets such as laptops, computers, and tablets. It will help your child to experience the use of coding and programming languages on their own.
Furthermore, your kids can start exploring and experimenting with these programming languages on their favourite apps and platforms such as Minecraft, Roblox, and other online games for kids.
You see, you need to introduce these materials and equipment to your children as early as possible. It will help them today and in the future.
Learn to code whilst younger
Experts strongly suggest that kids start learning how to code at a certain age and the earliest years as possible, which depends on your child's interests and innate capabilities to code.
Acquiring the basic coding skills at such a young age can eventually benefit their overall cognitive development. It can improve their academic performance in different subject areas such as Math, Science, and Arts.
Aside from that, programming can strengthen their problem-solving skills and the critical, analytical and logical thinking that they can use in coding and everyday life as kids and when they grow up as professionals. Kids can also master computational thinking skills as they are getting prepared for various tasks and coding challenges.
Where to learn coding using these programming languages?
Kids code schools like Skill Samurai are open for Australian kids, boys and girls, aged 7 to 18. They start with Scratch coding up to high-level programming. Through this, kids would be able to have a great headstart in the world of computer sciences.
At Skill Samurai, kids will have a fun, exciting, and educational code learning experience! It ensures boredom-free face-to-face classes while introducing varieties of programming languages to your kids.
If you prefer them to stay limited in resources, you may just use the suggested materials above. But then, if you want your child to unravel the world of coding and programming in a clear and concrete learning path, you should enrol them in code school and after school care programs.
The curriculum under Skill Samurai STEM, robotics, and code school prioritise code learning from foundational to advanced level. They also include reward systems like badges for every completed learning level. Through this, kids are more motivated to learn various programming languages more decently.
Make your child a master coder and programmer whilst they are young.
Skill Samurai is in Castle Hill and Rouse Hill in Sydney, Australia. You can check out the courses, curriculum, and incredible coding activities they offer.
See more here.