Yana Blog > #parenting, #coding, #stem

Kids & Coding

Hope those of you traveling are enjoying a fun time!  My kids have been enjoying time in the afterschool this week.

First, some results from our last poll below.  Seems like Solo Parenting isn't easy but many of you made it work.

When it comes to kids and coding, most parents I've talked to know the importance: just look around us, phones/apps everywhere!  Their headache seems to be more how to get kids interested in coding.

So I've been trying to get my son to learn to code.  Actually, back up a bit, even though I know how to code, I decided to have other people teach him first. Because I noticed I can get pretty intense about teaching, and that made my son back off. 

So instead I signed him up for 3 weeks of coding camp, one week each over the last 3 summers.  The first one when he was 7, he ran home the first day and asked me to sign him up again for the next summer.  Turned out he discovered Minecraft!  I shouldn've guessed that he'd like Minecraft.  My son at 10 still loves Legos, and Minecraft is really kind of virtual Legos. ;-)

Coding, on the other hand, hmm... it was less clear what he learned that summer. ;-) The next two summers we went with a coding camp taught by teachers who are more focused on learning. And the 2nd summer he took home a raspberry pi computer he put together in camp.  It was much cooler.  Thought  It was still a bit unclear to me though what he learned for coding exactly.  We did go to one or two Scratch events where my son made some animations with a tutor's help.

Last December, my turned 10 and I found him still typing in search terms one finger at a time.  Okay, it's time for him to learn to type!  You can't really code for real without knowing how to touch type.

My solution? I announced the only way he can earn screen time (10 minutes or so) is by doing typing lessons.  "Sure, okay." He said.  And soon he got fascinated by the rating on how accurately he typed.  He'd actually repeat a typing lesson to get it above 95% accurate.  Why?  I have no idea. :)

So within a month, he can touch type, more or less.  The typing assignments became just typing regular old paragraphs.  Okay, time to move on to coding.  I chose python because it's a real programming language that I'd use myself.  And I googled online for good books on it and found Teaching Kids to Code, and told my son once again we have a new way to earn screen time. 

It worked pretty well.  My son would dutifully type in a sample program from the book and see it run. He showed us his Madlib program, or his programmed drawings.  He can even change a few words here and there to make the program do something different.  Before we know it, he's about 1/3 through the book.

The other day he said "I love coding!"  

It's a start. :-D

New Poll: How do your kids feel about coding?

< Back to blog