Can Kids Code? (A Simple Guide)

If you are a parent and have ever wondered, can kids code? Well in this article, I explore how easy it can be for kids to start and learn to code. I explore six of the most popular programming languages used today that kids can start learning today!

Kids can code. Kids as young as 6 or 7 years old can easily learn the very basic concepts of coding.

Exploring age a little more, it’s not uncommon for third and fourth-year kids to learn basic coding concepts by using block programming tools.

Fifth-grade and up kids can learn the text-based English language Python which when mastered is a fantastic starting point to learn other more complex coding languages like Java.

can kids code image
Coding allows kids to learn a new STEM skill while having fun at the same time too.

Table of Contents

  1. What Age Can Kids Start Coding?
  2. So What Is Coding? (6 Examples Of The Most Popular Languages)
  3. How Can I Get My Child To Code?
  4. Can Kids Code Frequently Asked Questions
  5. Final Thoughts On Can Kids Code

Love it or hate it, technology touches all our lives in one way or another and coding plays such an important role in the technology we use today. I have spent over 20 years as a professional programmer working for some of the largest companies in the world.

You are only able to read this article because a programmer coded the website and the browser software you’re using to view it on.

Today there are many options available making it easier than ever for kids to code and learn this life-long skill.

What Age Can Kids Start Coding?

A child’s brain is built for learning, so introducing them to coding basics in their early years at 6 or 7 years old is the perfect time to get started.

Learning to code is just like learning a new spoken language and kids can learn new languages with ease and learning to write code is no different.

Coding as a child offers many benefits particularly around STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). Coding can improve cognitive skills, problem-solving skills, coding can also help with understanding patterns, algorithms, and mathematics.

But it’s not just limited to kids. There’s no hard or fast rule around what age you should start coding, the most important thing is to just jump in and get started.

Coding is a set of special instructions telling a computer what to do. Coding, often referred to as programming, requires a developer also-known-as a computer programmer, to write the instructions in a specific way that the computer can understand and take action.

There are many different variants of special instructions, these are referred to as programming languages. Programming languages vary in complexity and ease of use.

Below are a few of the most popular languages used today and where applicable I show the code used for the classic Hello World coding example. The exciting thing is some of these examples your kid can start coding today.

Scratch

Kid Coding Difficulty Level : Easy

Scratch coding for kids was developed by MIT. It is the easiest code to learn by far. This block-based programming language uses a visual interface making it fun and easy to learn without the need to type.

Scratch coding for kids.

Python

Kid Coding Difficulty Level : Easy

Python is a great language for kids to start off with. It offers great flexibility in terms of what it can be used for. Python uses an object-oriented approach with the aim of allowing programmers to write clear logical code.

print('Hello, world!')
What is Python?

Java

Kid Coding Difficulty Level : Easy/Medium

Java is another object-oriented programming language. First introduced by Sun Microsystems and later acquired by Oracle in 1995. It’s a general-purpose language, perhaps not as easy to learn as Python. However, its a good option for more advanced beginner programers to learn. Your child may even be familiar with Java if they play Minecraft since the game runs on this language.

public class HelloWorld {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        System.out.println("Hello, World");
    }
}
Java beginners tutorial.

Swift

Kid Coding Difficulty Level : Medium

Swift is another general-purpose programming language developed by Apple for iOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS. It’s considered a great first programming language where kids can download Swift Playgrounds to an iPad, enabling them to get started coding straight away.

print("Hello, World!")
Swift for beginners.

C#

Kid Coding Difficulty Level : Medium/Difficult

C# is Microsoft’s flagship general-purpose programming language. C# (pronounced see sharp) uses both object-oriented and component-oriented concepts and is typically used within corporate and enterprise software development.

namespace HelloWorld
{
    class Hello {         
        static void Main(string[] args)
        {
            System.Console.WriteLine("Hello World!");
        }
    }
}
How to install Visual Studio.

C/C++

Kid Coding Difficulty Level : Medium/Difficult

C and C++ are not suited for beginners, these languages are suited for more advanced and older kid in my opinion. Both are object-oriented languages and are commonly used for developing software programs.

#include <iostream>
int main() {
    std::cout << "Hello World!";
    return 0;
}

How Can I Get My Child To Code?

There are various starting points depending on age. For young learners, 5-7 years of age ScratchJr is a fantastic choice. ScratchJr is a free introductory programming language that enables kids to program using blocks and bring interactive characters and games to life.

For kids aged 8 years and above, there is Scratch. Scratch is the big brother of ScratchJr mentioned above. This free tool allows kids to program games, stories, and animations. They can also share their programming projects and ideas with other kids fostering collaboration and creativity whilst having fun within a safe environment.

If your child feels they want to dive straight into learning a more mainstream programming language, then learning Python is a perfect choice. Python For Beginners offers a wealth of information, like how to install and set up your integrated development environment, Python code samples to get you started, how-to books and much more.

Speaking about environments, Python, Java, Swift, C# and C/C++ all require a PC computer and keyboard, and I do recommend getting a mechanical keyboard for coding, however ScratchJr and Scratch are both available as app downloads on most tablets.

Can Kids Code Frequently Asked Questions

Can coding be done on an iPad?

Yes, there are various apps available like ScratchJr and Scratch that enable kids to code on an iPad.

Can coding be self-taught?

Yes, there is no reason why you can’t just pick up a book or watch some YouTube videos and tech yourself.

What coding language should I learn?

If you are new to programming I would recommend starting with Python and progress from there.

Will coding be automated?

There is a concept called low-code that is gaining popularity. Low-code provides an environment that uses drag and drop rather than traditional programming environments and offers automation to a degree.

Final Thoughts On Can Kids Code

So, in conclusion, yes, kids can code. Kids can code beginning as early as 6 or 7 years old. There are many free fun resources to help them get started, and it doesn’t matter what language they start with as long as they have fun and learn a new skill.

Having your kids learn coding will put them ahead academically in STEM, and who knows, it may even lead to a full-time career at a major tech company coding the next big piece of software.

I hope you found this article useful and it provided some insights into can kids code. I encourage you and your kids to start coding today!


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