Can my 6 year old really code? - 6 Coding concepts your kid is old enough to understand.

Updated: Jun 21, 2021

As a parent, you must've heard the buzz about teaching kids how to code. Have you ever wondered what is the best age for kids to start learning how to code or if coding is good for kids? If yes, then this article is for you.

Short answer?

Your child's mind may be ready to learn code as young as six years old in fact, the sooner they start learning it, the bigger the benefits, provided they are taught in a learner paced, solution oriented manner.

At Chapter X Academy, we teach kids coding with the goal to aid their cognitive development and mental growth. As a company founded and run by parents, we know the difference mindful teaching can make in a kid's life and we ensure our courses are designed to achieve the same.

You can check out the courses we offer and book a free coding class for your kid from our website here.

Here are 6 coding concepts your child is old enough to understand at the age of 6:

1. Algorithm

As your kids get dressed in the morning, you can teach them the concept of algorithms using the sequence of events they participate in as they get dressed.

Simply put, an algorithm can be defined as a series of commands or activities that need to be performed in a particular order in order to achieve a desired result or goal.

For example, in order to get dressed, they need to first take a bath, then dry off, then wear their undergarments and then finally put on their clothes. They can't dry off before they bathe and they certainly can't wear their clothes before their undergarments unless they're dressing up to be Superman!

And your kids already know that they have to perform these activities in a particular order to be able to get dressed successfully. If you tell them, that the sequence they are following is called an algorithm to get dressed, you've taught them a coding concept! You can go one step further and actually create an algorithm sheet for them so they know how an algorithm looks. Just take a sheet of paper title it "Algorithm to get ready" and jot down the list of tasks they need to accomplish in order to achieve their result.

2. Sequencing

Sequencing is another concept that your child already knows, and can be made to understand via any daily task that requires a set of tasks to be finished in a particular order.

Sequencing is the process of attaching a specific order to the tasks required to accomplish a goal.

Let us take the above example of getting dressed, there are certain steps that don't need to be performed in a particular order to get dressed. For instance, you can bathe first and then brush your teeth or you can brush first and then bathe, you will be able to get ready just the same. However, as explained before, there are certain parts of the "algorithm" that need to be completed in a certain order to achieve our goal. So those parts need to be put in a strict "sequence".

A great way to demonstrate sequencing is to cook a simple meal together and divide each step of the recipe in to "task cards". Then jumble up these cards and hand them to your child, ask them to put the steps in to right order to get the recipe of the dish you're going to make. Here is a list of our favourite healthy recipes you can make with your kids together.

3. Loop

Chances are, the word "loop" already has a meaning in your kid's mind. They play with hula hoops, they have seen bangles, many of their games involve doing a series of tasks repeatedly till they win. Which is the event that stops the "loop".

In coding, loops are a sequence of tasks that are repeated endlessly unless the computer is instructed to stop the loop when certain conditions are met.

To explain loop to your kids, have them write down the "algorithm" to something they do everyday. The example algorithm in the first paragraph of this blog is also a great example of a loop as kids have to follow those steps everyday in order to get dressed either for school or sunday picnic.

4. Decomposition

Decomposition is a very important concept in the world of programming. It is also a great lesson in solving seemingly big problems and your child might benefit from learning this even if they don't end up becoming a computer programmer.

Decomposition is the process of breaking down a complex problem or challenge into smaller "sub-challenges" if you will. It enables programmers to understand the problem better and solve the challenge they are facing.

Decomposition is an especially good concept for kids to understand as it will enable them to tackles any challenges they face instead of getting overwhelmed by them. The best way to teach them decomposition is to ask them to teach you an activity that involved several sub activities. For example, you can ask them to teach you how to draw a scenery. When they say, for example start by drawing a sun, tell them to teach you how to draw the sun.

You can also have a lot of fun by asking them to write a set of instructions to accomplish the above activity, please ensure you follow their instructions to the letter in order to teach them the concept properly.

If you'd like to introduce your child to coding, we would love to offer a free coding class for them. You can check out the courses we offer and book a free coding class for your kid from our website here.

5. Branch

Checking conditions that determine the course of action is what branching is all about.

In other words, branching helps in customizing a sequence of tasks to entail based on different condition.

You might use an example of their school day with different steps to illustrate the coding idea of branching to kids. Begin by making a list of the general sequence of activities your child undertakes on a school day. The list might look something like this:

  1. Wake up and get ready for school

  2. Have breakfast

  3. Board the school bus

  4. Walk to class upon reaching school

  5. Study all classes

  6. Board the school bus

  7. Walk to home when school bus reaches home

  8. Rest and play

  9. Do homework

  10. Have dinner

  11. Get ready for bedtime

  12. Sleep

Now ask your child to make a similar list but for a day when they have to add another activity to this routine. For example, if they have a coding class with Chapter X Academy, on a particular day, how would their "Daily Routine Algorithm" change?

This change in algorithm based on varied conditions is called branching, when an activity starts the same for all users but goes through different tasks based on individual inputs.

6. Debugging

Debugging isn't usually the most straightforward coding concept to grasp.

Children can sometimes become irritable if they don't get the solution straight away.

But problem-solving is a very important lesson for life and computer programming which is why we highly recommend you introduce your kids to debugging and would love to help you do that via our thoughtfully designed, learner paced coding classes for kids aged 6 and up.

Debugging is the process of resolving a problem within the algorithm instructions in order to achieve the intended result.

Understand that along with fixing errors, debugging also means to be able to foresee a problem and fixing it beforehand. A great way to teach kids how to debug is to give them a wrongly written activity algorithm and ask them to locate the error before they follow the instructions to reach the goal.

Even if your kids don't all grow up to be computer programmers, there are so many amazing benefits to teach coding to kids. Of course, the catch being that their coding classes MUST BE FUN. Because understandably, the best way to teach kids something is to make it so fun, that they voluntarily spend their free time practicing it. Coding can make kids better communicators, great problem solvers, improve mathematical skills and have all the cognitive benefits that learning a new language has on the brain, because coding is, essentially a language and has historically has the same impacts on the brain.

I'm a mother of two wonderful kids and wanted to teach my kids coding for the same reason, but I found that all affordable coding classes available in India lacked the dedication to cognitive growth that actually help kids. This was my vision behind starting Chapter X Academy and I would love to get to know your kid in a free trial session.

If you liked what you read today, do check our our website and courses-

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