While flying home from Boston a couple of weeks ago, I had a fascinating conversation with a young college student. She was completing her internship at an architecture firm and we were discussing my son's future. I shared my son's love of languages and his interest in science. Quickly, she connected the two fields and asked, "Has he thought about computer science?"
I had just purchased a year's subscription to Tynker for my youngest Minecraft-loving student to get him inspired to learn with a game that he loves. It teaches students code by integrating actions in Minecraft with coding language. My older son fell in love. I think my friend on the plane was on to something.
Therefore, I'm closing out the science portion of my 31+ Days of Hands-On Learning Stations with hands-on learning stations that involve computer science.
Ways to Learn Coding For Free
Our world is growing ever more digital, and by the time our children grow up, coding will be a valuable language to know in any industry they pursue. If you're not ready to invest in a paid program for learning coding, there are some great free options:
- Scratch: Developed by the MIT lab, this online code editor takes students through simple tutorials to learn the basics of coding.
- Code Academy - This resource is amazing. You can learn step by step how to build a website in HTML and CSS. Students will need to be proficient readers to follow these instructions, but they'll have an amazing skill set at the end of the course if they make it through.
- Hopscotch - This free app teaches coding through a variety of applications. It's fun and free, and kids will love it!
- Hour of Code by Khan Academy is a great beginner resource for getting students' feet wet in the coding world. There are hours of additional resources there if the student wishes to continue.
Paid Computer Science Resources
If your child shows a deeper interest in coding, there are some great paid resources to take your child to the next level.
- Tynker - The appeal for this resource is that it teaches coding, but also modding for Minecraft. (My old mom brain is just assuming that Minecrafters know what modding is). It has hours of coding instruction, with results that keep kids coming back for more.
- Kodable - Students work through game levels learning coding concepts as they go. The basic lessons are free, but you can upgrade with a one time purchase to gain access to advanced lessons. The beginner games are really cute and very simple.
- Gamestar Mechanic - Students who love gaming will love getting to design and build their own games. There is a one time fee for this program.
We live in a digital world. Giving your students access to hands on learning in computer science will give them opportunities in the future that we never imagined would be possible.
What do you think about teaching kids to code?
Check out more hands-on learning stations inspiration in my 31+ Days of Hands-On Learning series! Here are some more hands-on learning stations that feature science concepts.
- Construction Fun
- Snap Circuits
- Balance Practice
- Engineering Feats
- Investigate Nature
- Cultivating Curiosity with Documentaries
- Fire Prevention and Safety
Check out the rest of the series for stations featuring other subjects: