A Flowchart for Kids Learning to Code

In the past decade, the world has gone crazy for code-themed education. There’s an iPad app or robot caterpillar for every age. Many of these toys and games are perfectly fun activities that do very little to teach actual computer science concepts. To be kind, they overpromise. (To be less kind, their claims are bunk.)

That doesn’t mean we should teach our kids to code in the same way we teach adults. When it comes to interest and concentration, kids are all over the map. Some might be perfectly comfortable powering through an online Codecademy course about JavaScript. Others won’t stay engaged unless they have the opportunity for creativity and free play.

After three daughters and plenty of experiments, I’ve learned that you get the best parent-effort-to-child-learning ratio when you start with smaller chunks and discrete activities. I call this approach a “taste of programming,” and — in true nerd parent fashion — I used my experience to build a flowchart that can guide you through the options.

Interesting in learning more?

As always, feel free to email me (matthew @ prosetech.com) if you have experiences to share or suggestions about what I should add to the flowchart.