Best Coding Books for Kids Today!
Anyone will tell you that technology today is amazing. From smart cars to smart toasters, everywhere we look we can see how technology has shaped our modern world. Just about any device you can think of has a computer inside it, and they’re all running code to talk to each other.
Together, this so-called ‘internet of things’ has defined technological innovation in recent years. One thing we know for certain, however, is that even newer and better technologies are around the corner, just waiting to be dreamt up. This is why it is so important that the next generation has the right skills to be the ones doing the dreaming. The following books are some of the best ways that children learn to code, one of the most important of these skills.
Books to Introduce Coding to Kids
A Beginner’s Guide to Coding by Marc Scott
This title is geared toward children ages 8 – 12. Full of eye-catching images and fun projects, A Beginner’s Guide to Coding helps children learn to code in two great languages for beginners: Scratch and Python. The section on Scratch guides children through a step-by-step process of creating an account on Scratch’s website then shows how to use Scratch to build several cool projects.
One great thing about a kid learning to code in Scratch from this book is that the visual style of Scratch – using shapes and colors to create code instead of complex technical jargon – provides a great first taste of coding. The skills learned in Scratch easily translate to other programming languages, such as the other one featured in this book: Python.
The section on Python builds on everything the reader learns in the Scratch section, introducing one of the most popular programming languages in use today. The author, Marc Scott, does a great job making the process of coding seem exciting and fun, and by the end of the book, as the reader codes along with the text, they will have created a basic chatbot and a simple computer game.
CoderDojo Nano: Build Your Own Website by Clyde Hatter
This is a great title for children ages 8 and up. Build Your Own Website takes a super fun approach to inspiring kids to learn to code. As part of the CoderDojo Nano series, the book places the reader into a team of coding ninjas. Their mission: get together with their friends and build an awesome website!
One of the great things about this book is that, just like the other books in the CoderDojo Nano series, it really shows kids that learning to code is not something you have to do alone and that working together with friends is the best way for kids to learn computer programming.
Lift the Flap Computers and Coding by Rosie Dickins
Lift the Flap Computers and Coding has a younger audience in mind and is best for children 7 and up. This title teaches children to code by going behind the scenes of computers and the internet in a fun way that keeps kids engaged. Every single page has a flap to lift up, revealing the secrets of how these things we all take for granted work.
For example, on one page the reader can lift up a flap on a computer and get a look inside the machine to see what’s going on as it talks to other computers over the internet. Other pages are devoted to teaching kids to code using simple commands and creating basic algorithms.
Throughout the book, the reader is drawn in by beautiful and quirky illustrations, as well as a fun treasure hunt and several clever puzzles. Lift the Flap Computers and Coding even gives an introduction to the Scratch programming language, as well as web links to lots of external resources geared toward helping kids learn to code.
Best Scratch Coding Book
It’s safe to say that the Scratch programming language has revolutionized how kids learn computer programming. It was originally developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who wanted to create something that would help kids learn to code. Inspired by their slogan, “Imagine, Program, Share,” they created the first version of Scratch in 2003.
What sets it apart from other programming languages is that instead of relying on complicated and intimidating syntax, Scratch teaches kids to code through a system of colored blocks. Each block represents some important code building block. Kids learn to code by connecting different blocks, and step by step they can create impressive computer programs.
The interface is designed with kids in mind – it is both visually interesting, but simple and straightforward enough to not confuse young learners. By simply dragging a few blocks onto the screen and clicking them, kids can see in real-time what their program is doing as they’re building it, giving them immediate feedback on how they’re doing.
A Visual Approach
“Coding Games in Scratch” by Jon Woodcock is a perfect companion to help a kid learn computer programming in Scratch. Aimed at children ages 8 to 12, this title utilizes a step-by-step visual approach, which breaks complex coding concepts down into bite-size chunks that kids will love. Each chapter combines computer programming theory with hands-on activities, letting kids develop a love of coding as they create fun computer games they can play with their friends.
By focusing on these practical tasks, the book teaches computer programming in a way that shows not just how computer code works, but why code is written a certain way. In doing so, kids learn solid coding fundamentals that can translate into any other programming language. The tasks in this book are sure to grab and hold attention spans as kids learn to code. The reader will create single-player platform games, multiplayer racing games, and tricky puzzle games that they’ll be proud to share with their parents and friends.
Best Python for Kids Coding Book
Whereas Scratch is easily the best option for an introductory coding language for kids, Python is the go-to choice for a beginning programmer looking to take the next step to a fully-featured language. It has been a favorite for beginners for a long time, and for plenty of good reasons.
It has a very simple syntax, which makes it very easy for kids to learn Python. Despite how easy it is for kids to learn, Python is also a very powerful language. These days it is widely used in some of the fastest-growing fields like machine learning, data science, and artificial intelligence.
Python is also popular for web development, finance, and even games. Because of Python’s easy learning curve and its broad range of uses it has been the fastest-growing language in popularity over the last five years. Teaching a kid Python opens up a whole world of possibilities.
Creativity and Imagination
Python for Kids: A Playful Introduction to Programming is the best Python coding book by Jason R. Briggs for kids, and has a suggested age range of 10 and older. Whereas other books about Python can be dull and boring, this title teaches kids to code by bringing the subject matter to life.
It features zany example programs featuring spies, magical creatures, evil monsters, and more. Beautiful color illustrations are generously sprinkled throughout which spark the imagination. At the end of every chapter, the reader will find devilish programming puzzles designed to challenge both child and parent alike.
Don’t be fooled by the fanciful themes, however – in reading this book, kids will learn programming using fundamental concepts like data structures, modular coding, loops, and conditionals, as well as creating graphics and animations. The book is designed so that parents and children can work through it together as well, and by the end of the book, they’ll have created two complete games that they’ll love to play and to show off.
Why is it Important to Teach Your Kids Coding
Teaching kids to code is something that offers so many rewards. For one, learning to code is like learning a new language – the language of computers. Just like learning French or Mandarin, teaching a kid a programming language exercises parts of their brain that are shown to have wide-ranging benefits to the rest of their education.
They’ll get a better idea of how machines “think”, and in talking with machines they will quickly learn the value of being precise and detailed in how they communicate. Also, learning computer programming helps kids build creativity and express themselves. Writing computer code might not seem like a creative task at first glance, but the wide-open possibilities of technology actually allow kids to express themselves with coding in ways they couldn’t possibly do with more traditional creative outlets.
With painting, for example, a kid might be able to draw what they imagine, but when kids learn to code they can bring that vision to life. Building games and other programs teach kids the value of creative work. Another great benefit of teaching kids to code is that it trains their mathematical minds. Some kids might find learning math through traditional textbooks to be daunting. In learning to code, however, kids will be picking up fundamental mathematical concepts like functions and formal logic, all while creating things they love.
Yet another benefit of teaching kids to code is that it helps them learn to organize their thoughts. When building even a simple application, kids will learn that it is vital to separate different parts of the program from each other logically, or else it will quickly become unmanageable. This process of keeping larger ideas grouped together with their related ideas is a skill that translates over to nearly any other field of study.
Another thing a kid learns early on when they start learning to code is the importance of breaking a problem down into smaller pieces, and solving each piece one by one. They also learn how to identify common patterns in whatever problem they’re trying to solve and how to group their solutions together so that they are reusable and resilient. Real-life problems that seem daunting or overwhelming at first quickly become manageable for kids who learn to code, as they apply the problem-solving skills that they honed while writing a video game or creating a web page.
Learn to Code for Kids Online
In addition to working through the books recommended above, another great way to learn coding online for kids is to take an online coding class. One great thing about taking an online coding class for kids is that they will gain a group of coding comrades that they can lean on for support.
They will get a chance to meet and interact with other kids who share their passion and interest in technology, and they will learn that coding is something you do together with others – it’s a team sport. Another great benefit when a kid learns to code online is that the skills they pick up will translate right back into their standard academic curriculum. More and more these days, kids are coding in the classroom all the time. By learning to code online, they will have a leg up in their classes.
Another great reason for kids to learn to code online is that it will help them practice solving problems. In trying to get that level to work perfectly in the computer game they’re building, or to make their website look just right, they’ll flex the problem-solving muscles that are used every day. And since they’re working together in an online coding class, they’ll have friends and classmates to rely on if a problem gets too tough.
They’ll also begin to deeply understand the computer thinking process. Nearly every job these days involves computers in some way. Even if a kid doesn’t grow up to be a coder, their intimate knowledge of how computers work that will benefit them. Lastly, having kids learn to code online exposes them to a whole breadth of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) skills. These STEM skills are highly sought after in every field and are the building blocks of the most satisfying and lucrative career paths.
Learning code is fun and rewarding for kids. It prepares them for the rapid pace of technological advancement in the world. Rather than being intimidating, languages like Scratch and Python make learning to code approachable and fun for kids. Don’t fret, there are plenty of books available to help guide them through. Children who learn computer programming come away with problem-solving and STEM skills, and are able to express themselves creatively. Learning to code online will help them make friends, gain confidence in their ability to organize their thoughts, and build fluency in technology that will help them in whatever they want to do in life.