Can kids program games? YES!
From June 22 to 26th, we held our summer workshop Scratching the Surface and, among other things, taught seven kids how to code using MIT Scratch. During the first two days, the kids developed and published their own Scratch games. Scratch’s intuitive drag and drop interface made it easy for the kids to start making projects right away. As they built their games, they hit a few challenges that taught them to think like a programmer by breaking down complex problems into simpler ones.
We at Tech 101 Kids feel coding is an integral skill for kids to learn, not because we want them all kids to become software developers, but because coding teaches kids a new way to think and systematically solve problems. See, computers can’t speak human and so, when given directions, they need to be told exactly what to do in it’s simplest terms. When coding a game, for example, the computer wouldn’t understand it if you told your character “jump”. You have to break down what jumping actually means (go up x seconds, then go back down for x seconds). This approach helps kids break down concepts and understand the building blocks upon which all higher-level concepts are formed.
But where should your kid start?
I thought my search for the best STEM resources to include in Tech 101 Kids would be hard. But the first article I came across contains a whopping 239 STEM websites for kids. Wow.
From Master’s In Data Science comes “The Ultimate STEM Guide: 239 Cool Sites About Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.” In it, they break down STEM resources by grade level and interest, including a section of resources specifically for girls.
Some of these websites I have used myself and highly recommend, like Scratch and Codecademy. Others I have not heard of but will definitely look at. I will be going through this list in the upcoming weeks and showing you which resources are the most helpful, but if you are really excited, you can check out the full list now at Mastersindatascience.org.