Mark Zuckerberg believes that in the future everyone will be connected with programming elements, not only programmers. Since our children will have to live in this future, it is time to prepare them for difficulties, that is, to teach programming.
Why is it so important to teach children programming? Especially if he or she is future ballerina or football player? The answer is simple: to teach how to think logically and plan your actions. Parents boast that modern children are able to turn on tablets and computers almost from cradle. An interest in technology and desire for entertainment can be combined with learning and development by offering the child a game that will teach you to put together algorithms and write code.
How do you think at what age do you need to start learning programming? The creators of Kodable claim that their game is available to two-year-old. You can learn code before you learn letters. Driving through the maze funny faces is pretty easy for children. At the same time, they master programming indicating the sequence of actions. Tips and tricks are made with the help of graphics, so that children do not have to read anything.
Kodable is recommended for studying computer science in primary school: teachers and parents can monitor learning process, set difficulty levels and monitor progress. A great start for the little ones.
Code.org created by a non-profit organization, international movement “hour of code”. There you can find several educational courses for children and adults. The age at which you can start is four years. One game that will teach you everything at once at programming does not exist, but there is a step-by-step game training with characters of various cartoons. Moving from level to level, you can learn and create your own short programs.
It is available for smartphones or tablets. You control a small robot which must light bulbs in the right places. The main task for children is to design the path of toys with simple commands. The task for parents is to explain what pictures mean.
Not the fact that a child playing Lightbot will be a brilliant developer but will definitely learn how to plan actions and make simple algorithms. This application can also be recommended as one for beginners, even for preschoolers 4-6 years. The developers offer a more complex version which is suitable for children over nine years.
Parents, by the way, will be also happy to spend time on the preparation of routes. The robot is funny enough for children and serious enough not to bother adults.
“Pictomir” developed by Russian Academy of Sciences is a Russian analogue for similar video games. RAS has developed a system “KuMir” (“Idol”) for students who are already familiar with programming, but there is no game element in it. “Pictomir” which is designed for preschoolers is very exciting and very affordable for kids.
The robot paints fields, and children learn to make algorithms. All tips are made with graphics, so “Pictomir” is also available for kids who still do not know how to read. It is noticeable that scientists have tried to make the action clear even to toddlers. If parents do not speak English and do not understand the programs, but really want to develop logical thinking in children, “Pictomio” will be a real salvation. Mobile versions are available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone, but you will have to download the last two from the developer’s website.
Complete tasks and make algorithm of the arrow on the puzzle: even children can do this. However, an ordinary arrow is unlikely to entertain seven-year-olds for a long time, especially if it is their first of such games. But it can seriously intrigue children from ten years, already familiar with algorithmizing because the most interesting puzzles are found at more complex levels. Robozzle provides almost unlimited opportunities to create and search for new tasks, so it is most suitable not for learning the basics, but for constant repetition and practice.
Another easy-to-learn game. From the very first levels it will make you feel comfortable. Since there is little text, it is enough for children to distinguish individual letters to perform first tasks and shift boxes for fewer moves from place to place. On complex combinations, even adults will have to think carefully. Among other educational and entertaining applications, Cargo-Bot stands out with very nice graphics. By the way, Cargo-Bot was programmed entirely for iPad.
me, in which children learn step by step to control a funny monkey, is very simply and clearly. Each new level tells about peculiarities of programming. To perform the next task, you will have to apply knowledge from the previous lesson. To walk to the banana, you need a few minutes, so it is convenient to plan classes so that children remained passionate and would not get tired.
A big advantage of CodeMonkey is that this game gives an idea of the syntax because commands must be chosen by using icons, and the sequence of actions is written in lines of almost real code.
8Scratch / Programming Game
Including Scratch in this list is not quite fair, because it is not a game, but a specially designed environment for teaching children programming, which is a great educational tool. The authorship of Scratch belongs to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The features of Scratch are really impressive, although there are no tasks and levels, but there is unlimited space for imagination. Since the goal in each project must be established by yourself, and there are no universal solutions, but there is scope for creativity, which is in lack in games for training algorithmizing. Scratch is perfect for children from eight years old, who are already tired of chasing robots and monkeys.
We must not forget about the classics, even almost forgotten. Training games by CeeBot appeared in 2003 as a special development for educational institutions. Initially, the developers have created Colobot, game about colonization of a new planet, the main feature of which is writing programs to control characters of the game.
CeeBot is a training course containing several tasks with detailed instructions. The story is about programmable robots on a new planet which destroy local fauna. This game is not for the littlest ones, but for teenagers who have already become interested in computer science and know a thing or two about algorithm. CeeBot looks pale against the background of modern games, but where else will children control characters by creating their own programs close to the syntax of C++?
The game is for boys and girls from eight years. The game can be used in schools, there are separate bonuses for teachers.
Before each level, children will read funny and motivating quotes about programming, reminding that this code will not learn itself. CodeCombat captures stronger than RPG or shooters. This is one of the best combinations of relax and training.