It’s easy, uncomplicated, and involves incorporating skills kids are required to possess while computer programming. Introducing this to them naturally, in an attractive and lighthearted manner that captures a child’s attention, is the best way to teach programming to preschoolers.
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Let’s take a look at the top 8 ways to teach programming for preschoolers!
1. Online Programming Tools for Preschoolers
Gone are the times of books and notepads. Computers are the best devices to use while teaching coding, where all the magic happens. These tools are super simple, focus on the basics, and present coding through animations. Several games and puzzles are available online, and as a parent or educator, you can pick one that you find comfortable.
Always choose tools built by experts. It’s step-by-step, easy to use, attractive, and safe. The more engaging the game is, the better will a child learn coding from it. Kids learn best by practicing and by online coding activities for preschoolers.
2. YouTube Videos
YouTube tutorials are an undervalued source of knowledge and information. Several great content creators aim at coding to different social demographics. Kids can go back to the videos and hear them again and practice step-by-step coding tutorials. Programming for preschoolers is not similar to explaining it to adults, so ensure the channel focuses on young student audiences.
Several of such videos suggest online tools used to teach kids coding, which you can access to practice. While many of these are paid tools, they are definitely worth the investment. Users have to watch the tutorial video that explains how to use the tool. Run a YouTube search: Add your preschooler’s age and the coding activity he/she is interested in. Hit search and find the video that the preschooler is comfortable or not.
3. Coding Puzzles for Preschoolers
Problem-solving is a skill that we should all learn early in life. It is an important life skill that computer programmers possess because coding develops a logical bent of mind. Give your preschooler puzzle sets. It has a problem which they need to solve, ideally within a given time frame.
Each piece of such puzzles represents a specific code. These pieces need to be attached appropriately to develop the desired outcome. The preschooler identifies parts of code, how the elements interact with each other, and how to piece them together to solve the bigger picture!
Apart from a logical bent of mind, puzzles also create tenacity, patience, and determination in students. Such skills are crucial to learning. Learning them early in life will empower the student to push through every stage of their lives.
4. Go on a Programming Treasure Hunt
A programming treasure hunt imbibes several aspects into a preschooler that they will need as an adult programmer. Teaching programming to preschoolers can be daunting, and using fun real-time games is a great way to get their adrenaline going! Children receive hints which lead to the treasure in paper chits. As they understand each clue, it will lead them to the next. Write down instructions or directions in each chit.
This process will subsequently teach preschoolers algorithms like how a set of instructions filled into a computer.
Draw a map with instructions, or place chits in different hidden areas with instructions. For example: Write code for “1 step ahead”, “3 steps behind”, ‘look under the table’ and so on. If they make a mistake, they must start again to debug the code.
It teaches them sequential thinking that they can apply once they practice writing code. If they make mistakes, they must go back and start again (debug the code!) until they find where the treasure is hidden. You can add the instructions to place the different parts of the code together and reach the solution!
5. Story Sequences and Logical Coding
Story-telling – We all love listening to them and telling them. Story-telling is the perfect way to teach preschoolers computer skills. Your preschoolers will not approach the content as something to “mug up” or ”learn”. Instead, they will listen and understand the content. It enables them to truly understand the steps, how one thing leads to another, and cause-and-effect relationships.
For instance, you can use pictures and placards, put them in order yourself while telling the story, or mix them up and have the kids figure it out themselves! It depends on which level of learning they are. As a result, your preschoolers will learn logical thinking and sequencing, which is integral to understanding how to code.
6. Solve a Programming-for-Preschoolers Maze
Coding on the computer is fun, and a little off-time from screens is even better. It rejuvenates children and helps them get some physical activity. We all loved good maze as kids, so why not mix mazes and coding? Give them hints in the form of code, and if they go in the wrong direction, they must try again from the start! Now you know why everyone says coding builds dedication and drive – You need to get every step right, else you are back at square 1. Above all, nobody likes that.
In other words, getting it right is super satisfying, and your preschooler will want to achieve it.
Therefore, you can add some extra fun to make a blindfolded maze! After that, one child can act as a computer while the other is a programmer. Subsequently, the programmer gives instructions or algorithm to lead the blindfolded computer through the maze.
7. Math Games
In addition to these coding activities for preschoolers, you can try out Math games as well! It is, of course, super popular with kids who love Math, so if your student is not into Math, you can design their learning plan accordingly. Games that require participants to utilize their mathematics skills are perfect for teaching coding due to the computational thinking aspect we want kids to develop with time.
Therefore number sense games, board games, mazes, and treasure hunt games that involve maths are a great option. For instance, you can create a grid maze. What your preschooler would have to do is count the spaces within a specific grid. This can be used to give their ‘computer’ the correct instructions to move accordingly.
8. LEGO Coding Activities for Preschoolers
Pick a LEGO set that is perfect for all ages and skill levels. You can pick a variety of them for different age groups to support their development. The LEGO sets come with instruction manuals that you can use to teach kids with ease. They can also read it themselves. They can also write code that you can follow to build LEGO structures. Building instructions and ‘algorithms’ is a key coding concept.