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How to keep your kids coding during term time

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The only way to get better at coding is to practice it! Even the top coders had to start somewhere and we all know that practice makes perfect. But with everyone’s lives busier than ever it’s difficult to fit in practice in between school and all the extra-curricular activities your children are involved in. However, here at blue{shift} we believe that as little as one hour a week will help your child develop their coding skills, setting them up for a fantastic future in the technology and programming world!

We’ve rounded up some of the best websites that your child can use to practice their coding with. Whether they are complete beginners or more advanced coders there is always something more your child can do to develop their programming skills. Here’s a list of some amazing websites that we recommend to all our little coders.

Scratch Jr

Scratch Jr was created by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for 5 to 7 year olds to practice their coding skills. As it’s a block-based program, even children unable to read will be able to code with Scratch Jr. Blocks can be dragged and dropped into position, blocks are colour coordinated according to their function, and pre-made characters (or sprites) or hand-drawn characters can be inserted, allowing your child to create completely unique animations or games. Free on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, this is a perfect way to introduce your little one to code in a fun and engaging way.

For slightly older kids who are able to read, the original Scratch platform is a great way for kids to expand their coding knowledge by adding in more complex functions.

Abcya

Abcya.com is an amazing website for a wide-range of ages, delivering fantastic, engaging educational games. With a kid -friendly interface and games arranged into age groups, this website is incredibly easy for kids and adults to navigate and allows children to practice basic ICT skills such as touch typing. Available on both tablets and computers this is a really easy, fun, and accessible way for kids to gain confidence using technology.

Khan Academy

For those students who are more experienced at coding and are ready to move onto a text-based language we highly recommend the courses available on Khan Academy. The website was created in 2006 by Salman Khan, an ex-financial analyst who started creating educational videos on YouTube to great acclaim. His coding tutorials provide a step-by-step guide on how to use the JavaScript language and has fun activities, including learning how to create digital art, that will challenge the top coders. If your child becomes confident enough to start using JavaScript independently then P5.js is an online editor we use at our own after school clubs and holiday camps, though they will need to sign up if they wish to save their work.

Code.org

Code.org is a great website that has free coding lessons for all ages. The fun elements of coding are really emphasised at Code.org, where children can replicate and modify popular games such as Angry Birds and Minecraft. The website was created by Hadi Partovi, who wanted to encourage school students in the US to learn computer science. For those with very limited time, Code.org have created their sister website hourofcode.com where students are able to challenge their coding skills in one hour tutorials. Why not have a browse through their website here.

Little Coders

If you think your child is not quite at the stage where they are able to teach themselves or follow an online tutorial there are still options available to you during term time. Blue{shift} offer after school clubs for 5 and 6 year olds with little or no coding experience. Taking place every Wednesday at 4:45pm at the The Corner House, Brook Green, Little Coders with teach your child basic ICT skills in a fun and engaging way. At first work will initially focus on using iPads, ensuring students are confident using them safely before going on to use apps like Scratch Jr and programming Dash robots. By the end of the term your child will have developed computational thinking skills and learnt basic coding logic and reasoning skills.

 To find out more about what after school clubs blue{shift} offer take a look here or contact us at hello@blueshiftcoding.com.