It’s been two weeks since the June holidays started, and we hope that you parents are holding up well! Now that your kids might have more time on their hands, you might be fretting at how you can get your kids to spend it wisely.
Instead of wrestling the kids to hit the books day after day, why not change up their usual schedule and combine both learn and play together? The fun of learning can be found beyond books too, and we can help our children build soft skills for their future use.
One way is through encouraging your kids to learn more about coding. By now, many of them may have already have done a basic course in primary and secondary school under MOE’s Code for Fun enrichment programme. And that’s only the start of it!
Here are some added benefits to learning coding from a young age:
1. Coding teaches computational thinking
Much of coding is about computational thinking. It is knowing how to break down complex problems into actionable steps to solve the problem in an effective manner.
In a way, it’s a problem-solving skill that is applied digitally. Remember those Maths equations in school that require you to work backwards to find the solution? Children learning to code are also given a vague idea or goal to work towards. They need to exercise their creativity to think about how they can approach the problem and solve it.
2. Coding improves persistence and resilience
Not every problem can be tackled using the same methods. Sometimes, the usual solution that normally works can also fail without any explanation.
The best part about coding is that it allows children to review whether their solutions work in real-time. If they didn’t get the desired outcome, they can simply troubleshoot the issue, break it down again, and try a different method until something eventually works.
This is known as debugging in computer programming, which is a highly sought-after skill in the workplace. Those who can anticipate problems and changes while working through them confidently can develop incredible persistence and resilience to see their ideas through. It is not an easy trait to teach; but with coding, we can encourage our children to learn to persevere when they’re faced with a problem or obstacle.
3. Coding is fun and satisfying
Nothing is more satisfying than seeing something work out after you spend time on it. Coding is rewarding because children get to see the ideas that they have worked on for days and weeks come to life in front of them. And they can present it to their peers and parents to say, “I did it!”
After going through the process, they get to learn what works and what doesn’t, and get feedback on what they can improve on next time. It motivates them to build their confidence to solve challenging problems or projects all by themselves, much like how they tackle Mathematics problems in school. Coding also allows them to see how they can solve real-life problems and challenges without relying on the usual question and answer format too, allowing them to learn in a fun way.
4. Coding improves creativity and communication
Coding provides children with a means of expressing their ideas. Now, instead of passively watching a video or playing a game, they can feel more motivated to create and pursue their own projects. This is especially more so for our children who have grown up watching popular media being created by groups of passionate fans who had an idea that they wanted to actualise.
In addition, the skills that they picked up from coding can help them in school too. Coding teaches soft skills like organisation, data analysis and clear communication by getting children to think through the actionable steps that they need to communicate to the computer. This is important for children who face hurdles trying to express their thoughts to their peers, or when they feel daunted by problem sums at school. Instead of panicking and giving up, they learn to slowly work through the problem on their own to try and find a proper solution for it.
One thing that is not to be underestimated these days is that kids are smart, and the Internet is helping them to get smarter every day. In fact, your kids may already be learning coding through games like Minecraft or Roblox where they build complex megastructures or games to play with their friends. Or they may know how to utilise simple bots and modify the games they play to enrich their own playing experience. They may also already know how to search up ways to debug an error that they are facing on their computers or apps.
While we may think that our kids are not actively learning when they engage in these activities, the truth is that learning can take place when we least expect it! As parents, we’ll need to be able to pick up on these interests, and help our children to cultivate it during their free time. Although these activities may not result in a lifelong interest, they will at least encourage your child to have the confidence to pursue lifelong learning.
If you are keen to help your child learn in a fun way, check out our online store for coding products and educational toys! We also have educational magazines for children to learn about STEAM topics in a fun and engaging way, with flash cards, guides and assessment books if your child needs more help with work during the June holidays!