There was a time when coding was new and unexplored by those other than the nerds in the back room. As the years have progressed, coding skills have become more important and needed. It had to because it has increasingly become an integral part of our lives. As more apps and platforms are being developed, the need for even more experienced developers is becoming apparent.
The STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) have started to gain even more popularity with a significant focus on technology and engineering (we aren’t just learning about friction and biology in ‘science’ anymore.) STEM is evolving so much so that by 2026 STEM jobs are expected to grow by at least 10.8%, and according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, college graduates from a STEM program are expected to earn between 29% and 39% more per hour than their non-STEM classmates.
Screen time can cause developmental issues ONLY if it is mismanaged.
Sadly, there have been too many parents and experts shaming screen time because it reportedly causes aggressive behavior, depression, and other negative developmental issues. I agree that it can if it’s mismanaged. These parents and experts often fail to recognize the importance and significance of those screens when it comes to education. Coding is a common modern-day skill that requires access to technology, and if we are constantly battling with our mom-shaming ‘friends’ about too much screen time, then we are looking at it the wrong way.
Yes, sitting mindlessly in front of a TV for hours is not good.
Yes, the blue light emitted by the screen affects our sleep patterns.
Yes, there some terrible ideas and beliefs quickly spread over the internet.
However, we can’t always be protecting our children from the negative woes of the internet. Screentime is still essential because it gives kids a creative outlet to build, learn logic and sequencing, and expand their minds. It’s also a universal skill and comes with no bias or preconceived notions. More importantly, it is something that is taught to kids as young as three! I know this because I had my boys playing around with coding apps as soon as we let them on an iPad.
Since coding is one of the most desirable skills for the future, it’s time to rethink your screen time approach and consider some educational programs for your kids.
Here are my suggestions:
Why this robot is cool: You get to build the robot yourself and program it using the downloadable app. It signs songs and avoids obstacles with its built-in sensors.
Age range: 6 - 12+
It’s a puzzle you can program! This fun game teaches younger kids sequencing, which helps increase problem-solving and math skills. Simply install the app on your iOS or Android device, and your child can quickly learn how to bring their character through a mase with logic and sequencing.
Age range: k -2
If your kids are as obsessed with Minecraft as mine are, perhaps it’s time they step back from the building and fighting in the game to learn the logic that goes into making those actions happen.
Age range: 6+
Similar to the MakeBlock only this is sphere you can code. You can program BOLT with the Sphero Edu app from nearly any mobile or desktop device. It rolls around, lights up and does some other pretty cool things.
Age range: 6+
Whether your kids just starting or have become an advanced coder, Tynker is your one-stop store and community for coding apps. Each course comes with an intro video or fun game (intro) that walks you through the process of coding, game design, robotics & iOT, Minecraft Modding, and other advanced languages.
Age range: 3+
Cute and fun, this coding app teaches your little one logic, problem-solving, and the fundamentals of coding.
Age range: 2+
This online game is based on the Code Master Programming Logic Game and is for beginners to advanced coders. (You can purchase a physical game as well, but the online version is good enough!) Oh, and the manufacturer Thinkfun, has plenty of other mind busting games for kids.
Age range: 4+
A tad pricy ($160), but cool! Osmo has little guys develop lifelong skills and a love for learning. Some may argue it’s not ‘coding,’ but the foundation for understanding how to code is wrapped up nicely in the Osmo games.
Age range: Toddlers +
At its core, Lightbot teaches coding skills without the player even knowing. Similar to Osmo, it focuses on the concepts related to programming without the particulars of actually writing lines of code. Topics include sequencing, overloading, procedures, recursive loops, and conditionals...as in ‘coding’ ;)
Age range: 6+
Learning to code is an essential skill because it helps develop problem-solving skills, creates new career opportunities, improves interpersonal skills, and helps expand the mind. There are hundreds of games and apps out there to help your child learn how to code, but I suggest investing in only two to get started. Have them conquer the game/app before advancing them on to something else. So take the time to enjoy it with them.
Hey, maybe you’ll learn a new skill yourself?