There are many wonderful ways to teach children life skills they will need for the future, from playing board games together to creating chores and reward systems to giving positive reinforcement for their actions. Every parent is completely unique in their approach to teaching their children, but there is one common thread in all parenting: We want the best for our children. One way we give our children the best is by preparing them for the future. But how do we prepare a child for a world that does not yet exist?
Learning coding languages is like learning any new language such as French, Spanish, or Italian. With coding, not only do you need to learn commands, you also need to learn a new way of logical thinking. This can take lots of time, cause lots of frustration, and makes many people want to quit before they really begin. Learning to code would be next to impossible for many children if this was the only way for them to code.
Scratch is a drag-and-drop platform for code for children 8 years of age and older. Like digital building blocks, Scratch works when children drag and drop blocks of code into a correct sequence to build a program. More visual than handwriting text-based code, Scratch allows children a much simpler form of building a program in a controlled environment. For children younger than 8 years old, Scratch Jr is even more simplified for little growing minds, using pictures rather than phrases.
Scratch offers many project ideas for kids, from creating interactive stories to making movies. From the Scratch Ideas page, children can let their imagination and motivation take over. There are dozens of tutorials to choose from, and many ways to get started. Some examples include animating an adventure game, making music, and adding effects to interactive stories. Within the Scratch Community, users can share their projects and inspiration for endless ideas.
During the global quarantine of 2020, as we sought to work, learn, and communicate solely with digital devices, we learned more than ever before how important the internet is to our ever-changing world. And while there is plenty of professional and parental debates over screen time (and official recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics), screen time for children can be limited to smaller amounts of time while still being creative in nature. When children become creators versus consumers, many life skills can begin to develop such as:
Whether it’s crayons, markers, play dough, or building blocks, tools for a child’s imagination are priceless. Scratch is a digital tool that allows children’s imagination to take shape in a digital world, but it also prepares them for a world that does not yet exist. Giving our children the best headstart for their future is our collective dream as parents, and teaching them to code is an advantage that contributes to their life skills, creativity, and higher education.
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