The end of the school year is usually a celebration for kids and a scramble for parents to figure out summer activities and potentially childcare. This is hardly a typical end-of-the-school-year situation, though. Many traditional summer activities for kids, like camps and classes, aren’t being held due to COVID or hiring issues. A recent Gallup poll also showed that 70% of white-collar workers are still working remotely. That means many parents are facing another summer of trying to work from home while kids are off from school and without the summer activities they normally rely on.
After a school year that was heavily impacted by the pandemic, the summer slide is also a real concern, especially if kids struggled with the abnormal class schedule. Having kids learn to code this summer can solve all these problems — kids get to learn a new, valuable skill that will also help them in school. And all of it can be done from home so parents who are working remotely don’t have to worry about their kids zoning out on video games or YouTube all day.
Who Can Learn to Code
Before getting into the many benefits of coding for kids, you may be wondering about what skills they need in order to start learning. Kids as young as 8 years old can start learning the fundamentals of coding — the main requirements are some basic typing and computer skills. Coding isn’t just for kids who are at the top of their class or who have an obsession with technology, either. Any child can learn the fundamentals of programming to start making their own games and websites. How far they choose to take these skills is totally up to them!
Younger kids can start learning some basic programming concepts even if they aren’t ready for full coding fundamentals yet. Books and toys geared towards preschoolers and kindergarteners help kids learn about patterns and putting blocks together to create actions, which is the very start of learning to think like a programmer.
Coding to Combat Summer Slide
According to a survey from the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), kids in grades 3-5 lost about 20 percent of what they learned in reading and 27 percent of what they learned in math during summer break. And that’s during a normal school year — many school districts struggled to adapt to a virtual setting this year. For parents who are worried about their kids being behind this fall due to the summer slide and an unusual 2020/2021 school year, coding can help them improve many skills that are important in school.
Problem-solving is required for math, science, and life in general, and coding is all about solving problems. Every coding project starts with a problem that needs to be solved, whether that’s figuring out how to gather user data, how to build a game that includes a way to keep score, or just building a simple website.
Programmers of every level also have to spend time debugging their code, figuring out why their code isn’t running as planned and what they need to adjust or fix. Practicing problem-solving with coding can help kids take the same approach to lessons and assignments in school.
The other beauty of coding is that it can be tied into every school subject. Kids can create their own game that involves solving math problems, build a website about their favorite books, document science experiments with an interactive website that includes videos — the possibilities are endless. Encouraging kids to build on what they learned during the school year using coding is a great way to prevent summer slides and keep kids engaged during the summer months.
Preparing Kids for a Technology-Focused Future
Although learning to code is a great summer activity for kids, it’s so much more than that and can seriously give kids a leg up for the future. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs for computer science majors will grow 21% by 2028, and that’s growing from a pretty high demand right now. According to Code.org, there are nearly 430,000 open computing jobs nationwide right now, but only 71,226 students graduated with a computer science major last year. Kids who discover a love of programming now certainly have the potential for great job security as adults.
But kids don’t have to go on to major in computer science to benefit from learning how to code now. Any job that involves working with spreadsheets, any sort of website or app, or any technology in general benefits from having a background in programming. Technology is already a part of our everyday lives and those who can understand how that technology works will have a head start in any field.
Virtual Summer Coding Classes
For parents facing an uncertain summer, trying to find fun things for their kids to do among limited options (often while still keeping up with responsibilities at work), virtual coding classes are a great option. You’ll be amazed at how much kids can learn in one summer, and how excited they’ll be to show you the games and websites they create. Better yet, they’ll be having fun!