Programming for preschoolers must be made fun because we all know that kids learn effectively when they’re enjoying themselves! A playful and joyous environment attracts them, gives them a rush of happiness, and captivates their focus. Holistic education includes this. Coding activities for preschoolers must be taught to them in an age-appropriate manner that lays down their basics. Educators have developed several great techniques to make teaching programming to kindergartners effective.
It’s easy, uncomplicated, and involves incorporating the 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 span is the best way to teach programming for preschoolers.
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, coding must be taught in its natural environment, where all the magic happens. Coding activities for preschoolers should be conducted on computers themselves. These tools are super simple, focus on basics, and present coding in the form of animations. Simple games and puzzles can be found online, and as a parent or educator, you can pick one that you’re comfortable with!
When you choose a programming tool, ensure that it is developed by experts who have an understanding of children’s cognitive and developmental phases, that it is step-by-step, easy to use, attractive, and safe. The more engaging the game is, the better will a child be able to learn coding from it. Kids learn best by practicing and online coding activities for preschoolers.
2. YouTube Videos
YouTube tutorials are an undervalued source of knowledge and information. There are several great content creators who aim at coding to different social demographics. Kids can go back to the videos and hear it again, and practice step-by-step coding tutorials. Programming for preschoolers is clearly very different from explaining coding to adults, so ensure the channel focuses on young student audiences.
Several of such videos suggest online tools that they use to teach kids coding, which you can access to practice. While many of these are paid logical coding tools, they are definitely worth the investment. Your child would simply have to watch the tutorial video which explains how to code on the online tool and practice on it. 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 with!
3. Coding Puzzles for Preschoolers
Problem-solving is a key 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 possesses a problem which they need to solve, ideally within a given time frame. Each piece of such puzzles represents a specific code. The pieces need to be attached together appropriately to develop the desired outcome. The preschooler identifies parts of codes, 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 of course important to learn especially early on in life so that students are empowered to push through every stage of their lives.
4. Go on a Programming Treasure Hunt
A programming treasure hunt imbibes several great aspects into a preschooler which 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 hint, it will lead them to the next. Write down instructions or directions in each chit. This process will subsequently teach preschoolers algorithms – i.e 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 in order to “debug the code”. This teaches them sequential thinking which they can apply once they practice writing code. If they make a mistake they must go back and start again (debug the code!) until they find where the treasure is hidden. You can add code to the instructions in order for them 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 a great way for teaching preschoolers computer skills. Your preschoolers will not approach the content as something to “mug up” or “learn”, they would listen and understand the content instead. This enables them to truly understand the different steps, how one thing leads to another, and cause-and-effect relationships. For instance, you can use pictures and placards, and 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 great, and a little off-time from screens is even better. It rejuvenates children and helps them get some physical activity. We all loved a good maze as kids, so why not mix mazes and coding? Give them hints in the form of code, and if they go in an incorrect 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 or you’re 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! This 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 to teach 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 Math are a good 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 would be used to give their ‘computer’ the right 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 in order 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.