Do you know your Python from Scratch, your Lua from Java?
As technology continues to shape our futures, learning a computer programming language has become increasingly important for adults and kids alike. But, just as there are thousands of languages and dialects spoken across the world, there are many different programming languages, each with its own unique rules and applications. So what one should you start with?
One of the most common questions we get from parents is:
“What coding language should my child start learning first?”
Our recommendation for kids who are beginners aged 8 to 11 is Scratch. Whether they love gaming, building, or being creative – Scratch will have something for them.
What is a coding language?
A coding language is a set of vocabulary and rules that instruct a computer or computing device to perform specific tasks. Different from spoken languages, there aren’t any alphabets, but instead each coding language uses special commands and abbreviations in order to operate and “communicate”.
Why is learning to code important?
Learning coding enables kids’ curiosity and opens up a whole new world. It teaches your child a wide range of cognitive skills in logic, problem-solving and mathematics, and gives them the knowledge and confidence to create with – rather than merely consume – the technology around them.
In the past, parents wanted their children to become accountants, doctors, and lawyers. Today, you are just as likely to hear parents talking about their kids becoming software developers, computer scientists, and tech entrepreneurs. From creating video games to programming AI bots, coding is one of the most vital skills for young people in the 21st century.
(Read 8 reasons why we believe kids’ should learn to code in this blog post.)
What is Scratch?
Scratch’s popularity stems from its ‘drag-and-drop’ design. Instead of writing code, kids can learn through creating, dragging, and dropping colourful command blocks. This visual approach helps children to grasp the concept of programming quickly, making simplified, graphical programming tools such as Scratch perfect for beginners.
It’s a creative language, too: Scratch allows kids to easily create games, come up with interactive stories, animate characters, build apps, add music, voice-overs, and even sound effects. Plus, kids can reference 2D games already in existence, such as Asteroids and Donkey Kong, which were all created using the Scratch program.
It is a fantastic coding language for beginners, and it doesn’t take long to get to grips with it. It’s one of the easiest programming languages for kids to learn.
What is Roblox?
Lua is an easy to use coding language for games engines – and most notably in Roblox, the online game platform popular with children.
Different from other programming languages, Lua is used to embedding into your application, as it was initially developed to extend or add functionality to other programs. That means it can easily work alongside other codes and has a set of simple rules and operations.
This unique coding language is embedded in Roblox and gives kids the opportunity to learn a combination of block and text-based code to build a 3D world. The Roblox community allows like-minded kids to power their imagination!
Did you know… Well known applications such as Adobe Photoshop, World of Warcraft, and Angry Birds all utilise Lua code!
What is Python coding?
Python is one of the most widely-learned and used programming languages. It is a syntax-based (written) programming language and popular with young learners of 9+. Python’s popularity is in part due to its intuitive commands and syntax that are similar to “natural language” – i.e. less dependency on semicolons and curly brackets.
Python also forms the basis of some of the world’s most famous sites including Google, Spotify, Instagram, and Netflix!
The vast majority of UK schools that teach Computer Science are using Python so this is a programming language that can help your child get ahead in school, as well as letting them create and have fun.
(Find a more complex description here.)
READY TO START LEARNING TO CODE?
For all the reasons above and more, Scratch is an innovative platform and coding language that brings creativity and easy learning to new coders of all ages. To get started, your child can create an account for free on the Scratch website, scratch.mit.edu. They can create a blank project and play around with different blocks to see what they can create! For some inspiration, they can also reference projects made by other Scratchers in the Scratch Community.
LEARN TO CODE WITH FIRE TECH
Enable your child’s creativity to blossom on one of these three fantastic Junior Coding courses. We understand that children will be at different stages on their coding journey and welcome kids as young as 8 to join.
Whether your child is learning how to code for the first time, wanting to turn their video game passion into a perfected skill or wanting to create a mind-blowing project to get ahead a school, our expert tutors will be there to inspire and teach them!
Not sure what course is right for your child? Get in touch with our team by calling 020 3950 7310 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get them buzzing and building code in no time!
About Fire Tech
Fire Tech empowers a global community of young tech creators, coders and leaders across the world. Since 2013, Fire Tech has helped over 70,000 young people aged 8-17 across the world to create and explore using the latest technologies. They have partnered with some of the biggest companies like Amazon, featured on the BBC, The Guardian and The Economist.