Like me, probably most of you ask yourself the next questions:
I am a happy father of a two year old baby and this inspired me to write this article.
Kids of our era are not like us anymore. While for most of us technology has slowly been discovered during our life, and we’ve been forced to adapt, for nowadays children hi-tech is the present. They are born with it. Ever since they can stand and eat, technology become a part of their world and in no time everything gets natural.
My kid, now 2 years and a half, can use the common functions of a smartphone 10 times faster than my mom and dad. Pushing buttons, using touchscreen, navigating, software in general feels so natural for them, and in no time they will get better than us, because their brain is like a sponge.
The real question is:
Will this wave of technology make them better or not?
The answer comes from psychologists and researchers. In the last decade this experts have made thorough studies regarding how technology affects children behavior. During few years they tested kids experiences in various environments trying to understand which domain influenced their understanding and decision process.
One of the technology topics which had an impressive positive impact was programming. Learning to code develops problem solving and computational thinking skills.
Computational thinking allows toddlers to assimilate concepts like recursion, algorithms and heuristics—even if they don’t fully understand the terms, they’ll learn the basic concepts. Parents who are not familiar with these terms can read here an interesting explanation.
To make a better idea, here are the main principles of programming which may help your kid in real life situations:
Many times kids tend to take a decision based on “direct advantage” or “subjective subconscious influence”. You may say that this is normal because they are children and still small, but this is not true.
During experiments it turned out that kids which learn programming have made decisions based on a more objective evaluation. Experts associated this behavior with the conditional statements from programming (IF, WHILE, SWITCH). While the other kids did not even considered secondary options (options considered not a direct advantage), the little programmers actually compared all options before choosing one.
During observation, the experts found that kids who were involved in programming courses, have given more attention in prioritizing day-to-day tasks. Compared with the other children, which started to do tasks according to their importance, the little programmers tended to start with tasks that were the smallest. Also, some of them impressively grouped the small tasks and finished quickly by solving in parallel. This behavior is associated with “Multi-threading” principles and also with “Queues” and “Stacks”.
The parents of children who were involved in coding courses claimed that they also observed an improvement in their kids organize and economy instincts. Researchers said that this kids logic is visible influenced by the level of programming understanding. Children with the highest IQ involved in the experiment were the most impacted on this topic, their perspective on timing and structure being much complex.
Maybe one of the most interesting aspects, the ability to analyze and fix things. While most of the regular kids reported to an adult each time they had a situation or a problem which didn’t worked or was broken, kids that learned to code paid more effort in understanding why that thing wasn’t working. Besides that, they also tried various solutions to fix it. This ability not to abandon a task immediately, but rather stop and analyze impediments, will probably count the most in a preschooler growing process.
Now that we know the benefits of teaching kids to code, we need to find a way to make them like this new domain. This is a very important topic as the results of a bad approach might have consequences on a long term. Why? Well, as well as Math, programming is not so attractive for a toddler, although for few kids Math is love at first sight.
Here is a list with what no to do if you want to make your kids learn coding:
Instead, if you really want to be successful, you should try a more fun approach to give your kids something interesting, something attractive, something really creative. Trying to explain your kid how a piece of code can calculate automatically a + b, is probably not he best start.
In order to trigger their interest you need to associate coding with things that they already love, like playing, cartoons, robots, puzzle or another activity. There are various interactive programs that can raise your children interest.
Among the most successful is probably the most practical too: Coding Robot Toys. Almost all kids love robots. They watch cartoons, they see movies or read comic books with robots, many of them dream to become a robot. Giving them the possibility to have their own robot and teach it what to do will probably impress them the most.
One of the most successful initiative in this direction comes from Wonder Workshop. Together with scientists and psychologists, their engineers made an amazing programmable robot for little kids. They created a little robot called “Dash” which quickly became the kids best friend! They simply loved it immediately.
This amazing robot comes with apps for every age group, learning level, and play style. Dash is a real robot, charged and ready to play out of the box. Responding to voice, navigating objects, dancing, and singing. Dash has five main programs: Wonder, Path, Xylo, Blockly and Go, each one coming with awesome activities like:
See bellow the Official Dash Robot video:
If your kid future matters for you, and you want to make him happy, the Dash robot is probably the best gift that you can get for him. Follow the link bellow and buy the Dash Robot with a discount from the Official Wonder Workshop Amazon store:
If you or your kids are interested into more complex robots projects, or you want to check the latest innovation in the robots world, I recommend probably the best Robotics blog available at this moment.
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