Let’s face it: Our kids and these tiny screens are going to be together for the long haul. Might as well teach the ins and outs of all things digital from early on, right? I’m talking about coding for kids: teaching children how to speak programming languages fluently. Getting youngsters interested in coding and STEM-centric activities? Yes, please! We at Cool Mom Tech support this plan 100 percent.
This is where ScratchJr iPad app comes in. The free, educational app helps 5-7-year-olds try their hand at programming by creating their own interactive stories and games using graphical programming blocks. These blocks can be snapped together, making the animated characters move, sing, dance, and come to life.
There’s also a paint editor so kids can change the look of their characters. They can even add their own voices and sounds to their creations, or really personalize it by dropping in pics of themselves. (Yes, selfies are going to be around forever — accept it.)
This cool coding for kids app is a collaboration between MIT Media Lab, Tufts University, and tech startup Playful Invention Company (PICO), and its aim is to help young kids express themselves with computers. Like with writing or learning a new language like French or Spanish, computer programming — even at this introductory level — can help children better organize their thoughts and express their ideas in new and meaningful ways.
Using ScratchJr, kids can lean how to problem solve and develop their sequencing skills (thinking in steps) — excellent things to have in their academic toolbox moving forward. As the app’s developers like to say, with ScratchJr, kids aren’t just leaning to code, they are coding to learn.