Education, STEM Learning

8 Reasons Coding for Kids is Not Just Another Fad

8 Reasons Coding for Kids is Not Just Another Fad
Image by Виктория Бородинова from Pixabay

Is Coding a Fad?

In short, no. Coding is a field that is growing and changing quickly; there is a world of opportunity for young students looking to get involved in the tech world. Opponents to this position might argue that today’s popular languages, like Python, won’t be used ten or fifteen years down the line. So what’s the use in learning these programming languages?

While it is true that programming will continue to advance, it is important to remember that there is so much more to learning a coding language like Python than memorizing syntax and applications. When we teach coding, we teach concepts beyond one particular language. Students gain knowledge about how computers process and “think” about a given problem, regardless of which language they are learning. They gain important intuition about fundamental concepts, like basic control structures (e.g. loops and conditional statements) and algorithms, that will undoubtedly be useful in our highly technological future. Below are 8 of the many reasons why coding for kids is not just another trendy or silly fad.

1. Our world is growing more technological

In the 21st century, we have seen enormous developments in the technology industry. The world is moving in a direction that is both fast-paced and information-centered. Data is quickly becoming one of the most valuable resources in the global economy, and individuals with digital literacy are becoming more valued in the labor market. With all of this in mind, it’s hard to ignore the massive role that fields like data science and software engineering, both largely centered around coding, are going to have. Figures estimate seemingly outrageous numbers – an estimated fifty billion smart devices are projected to be in use by 2020 – illustrating the abundance of technology in our lives.

With such statistics in our near futures, it is clear to see that industries are changing. The internet is a hub of information, applications, e-commerce, social networking, and communication platforms, all of which are designed to increase efficiency, performance, and convenience. As industries become digitized, new jobs are simultaneously emerging. Coding is an asset that will only continue to grow as we move forward as an increasingly connected society.

2. It teaches kids to strategize for unique solutions

Computer science is a highly useful tool beyond its direct applications. As there is rarely one right answer to a given problem, computer science encourages students to create solutions that are unique. For computer scientists, this means that coders have a great amount of leeway to create their own intuitive solutions.

Coding for kids pushes young students to actually learn, not just memorize facts and regurgitate them. It challenges students to critically think about a problem, what they want to accomplish, and how to get it done. There are plenty of kid-friendly coding languages, such as Scratch, that give young students the opportunity to build unique projects using coding techniques. Scratch also allows coders to share their projects with the world. This connectivity can inspire new and aspiring coders to learn from their peers and guide them through more complicated projects and concepts. This collaborative environment also allows students to work together and learn from one another. Encouraging kids to utilize these programs not only teaches them useful skills for computer science, but it also allows them to exercise their creativity.

3. It teaches students to not give up

Most coders will advise, while there is plenty of room for creativity in coding, there is also plenty of room for error. Learning to code teaches students how not to give up on their solutions, but rather to debug their code, even when repeated error messages appear. Coders tease out solutions by using their understanding of computational thinking (see point 6) to isolate any errors and achieve the goal at hand.

That code can always be improved upon motivates coding students to go back and better their solutions, an incredibly valuable skill set to have in general. Code also instills resilience, yet another invaluable tool in the workplace. While programming can feel tedious, frustrating, and difficult at times, the process of problem solving inherently makes for better coders and better students.

4. It can be applied to almost everything that students are learning

Computer science is expanding into every corner of the world, with applications for anything one can imagine and automated services that are permeating thousands of business models worldwide. On top of that, programming incorporates many mathematical concepts, and it can complement the concepts students are learning in their math classes.

Coding for kids and adults also promotes problem-solving, an important skill for any student. Beyond math, students can use code to support other interests they may have. With coding, young professionals’ career options extend across industries. By teaching kids how to code, students will find the confidence and tools to explore aspects of software engineering, data analysis, video game development, and mobile app development – in just about any industry that they know and love.

5. Coding for kids is challenging and collaborative

Coding challenges young students to explore new fields. Computer science is a collaborative field, allowing individuals to work together to complement one another’s skill sets, and write code that is efficient and intuitive. Students can and often do learn to code in a group setting, so that they can discuss their ideas and learn from each other’s successes. Learning to code encourages students to work together when they reach a roadblock. It promotes collaboration via idea exchange and allows students’ to compare and contrast solutions. Teaching kids about computer programming can be a catalyst for inspiring teamwork and leadership among students.

6. It teaches students about computational thinking

Whichever languages a student decides to pursue – Python, Java, or any of the long list of popular coding languages today – will help them develop computational thinking. This means that students will learn how to effectively break down problems into manageable parts, observe patterns in data, identify how these patterns are generated, and develop the step-by-step instructions for solving those problems.

Computational thinking and digital literacy are arguably the most important aspect to learning to code at any age due to the huge technological shift in nearly every industry on the global market (see point 1). Establishing a foundation in computational thinking will pave the way for future success in and outside CS related fields. All students can benefit from understanding computational thinking, as it applies to the technological aspects of daily life.

7. It’s good for the brain

Like any good challenge, coding is an excellent way to strengthen young, developing brains. It encourages students to combine their knowledge of computational learning and out-of-the-box thinking to strategize unique solutions.

Multiple studies support the hypothesis that learning to code has real, long term benefits on young children. Researchers have found that individuals who code tend to have reduced odds of getting neurodegenerative diseases in older age. Coders also tend to do better in cognitive tasks, because coding activates areas of the brain that are associated with memory, attention, and logic. Learning to code at an early age supports neural connections in these regions, leading to high performance in other fields, as well.

8. It’s fun!

While we may be slightly biased, computer science is an educational way to bring fun into your children’s lives! Computer science is one of the few fields of study in which students can see the immediate outcome of their work as they build out their projects – by running their code, they get instant, live feedback.

Programs like Scratch and utilize software that is kid-friendly and permits students to visualize their projects as they come to life! They can build code that creates a videogame or a website and share their work with friends. Developing kids’ proficiency with computer science now will lead to a future generation of coders who have the skill set to advance our world.

I hope you enjoyed this guest article from a Juni Learning contributor.
This article originally appeared on

Easter, Kids, STEM Learning, Toy Reviews

Easter Gifts: Creatto Light-Up Crafting Kits

Creatto Light-Up Crafting Kits

If you are scanning Amazon from home to find some Easter and at-home STEM learning fun then consider these Creatto light-up crafting kits. These are three-dimensional creations that light up and the kids build themselves. They won’t even know it’s STEM building because the pieces are so fun to work with and build.

You can build a light-up moose, elephant, shark, unicorn or kitty. These crafting kits stand on their own and require only batteries. See the video below:

There is a manual and videos to help the kids build. You don’t need hardware or tools. The plastic pieces connect with each other. This means you don’t have to commit to building only the animal in your booklet. You can connect them any way you like and get creative!

The string of LED lights makes for a particularly fun sight to display anywhere such as your bedroom or game room.

Creatto Light-Up Kits are available at retailers such as Amazon.

Education, STEM Learning

Engage Your Child in Science with this Homeschool Science Curriculum

This post is sponsored by College Prep Science. Copyright 2020 by Greg Landry

These days all of us have had a small dose of homeschooling our kids. The Teachers for my 6th grader have been great at checking in and sending assignments that are easy for him to follow and keep track of. I can’t imagine a classroom of 20-30 of tweens especially the ones who have zero interest in a given subject. It’s hard to focus when you are not engaged or interested as an adult , yet a tween or teen?!!

College Prep Science is homeschooling education to help the uninterested student find interest by using an Appropriate Homeschool Science Curriculum for “Non-Science” Students

What I’ve Learned from Teaching Thousands of StudentsGreg Landry

Over the past 20+ years I’ve learned a lot from teaching thousands of homeschooled students (and university students who were homeschooled). One thing I’ve learned is that it’s a huge mistake to teach “college-prep” science to “non-science” students! And, in my experience, about 70% of homeschooled students are “non-science” students.

The depth, breadth, and pedagogy of many college-prep biology, chemistry, and physics classes, and a homeschool science curriculum in those subjects, leaves many “non-science” students frustrated, uninterested, and ultimately learning very little. I find that students in this situation often don’t have an overall understanding of the subject matter that is so critical in these sciences. They can’t see the forest because they’re lost in the trees. 

So, how do we define “non-science” students? I think the simplest and broadest definition is that “non-science” students are unlikely to be college science majors or they may not be planning to attend college. They should not be taught biology, chemistry, and physics as if they are going to be college science majors. I believe that’s a disservice to them and ultimately deprives them of fully grasping the big picture and magnificence of God’s Creation. 

So, I developed “life prep” versions of my biology, chemistry, and physics online classes and wrote the textbooks specifically for “non-science” students – students who may be “artsy,” “techie,” “handy,” or just may not particularly care for science. Equivalent in-depth and breadth to a standard public or private high school class but specifically designed to be interesting and appealing to “non-science” students, and with minimal math.

Many of students’ assignments and assessments are done in their choice of format, including, but not limited to: artwork, video, graphics, sketches/drawings, hand-crafted models, graphic novels, audio, wiki pages, game creation, graphic organizers, podcasts, e-portfolio, or just the simple written word. Much of students’ work in these classes are geared toward helping them to learn via their particular bent – their God-given talents and interests.

– Life Prep Biology (8th-12th) – Two Semester Class
– Life Prep Chemistry (9th-12th) – Two Semester Class
– Life Prep Physics (9th-12th) – Two Semester Class
– We also offer self-paced recorded classes for 3rd -6th-grade students

In the words of a homeschool parent…

“Greg, …what you did for our daughter will have far-reaching effects. You showed her that learning can be enjoyable…”
Thankful in Indiana
Jim H.

These “life prep” online homeschool science curriculum classes also include lab experiments in our very cool virtual homeschool science laboratory and graded lab reports. Students attend class once weekly (either live or by recording), turn-in homework, and are tested on a regular basis. These classes are all-inclusive and provide students with an enjoyable, comprehensive science experience.​Homeschool dad, scientist, and former college professor, Greg Landry, offers live, online homeschool science classes, Homeschool ACT Prep Bootcamp, the Homeschool Mom’s Science Podcast, in-person two-day science lab intensives nationwide, freebies for homeschool moms, and student-produced homeschool print publications.