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TEACH YOUR CHILD CODING THROUGH EVERYDAY ACTIVITIES

Coding can often seem like a nebulous subject that lives in a corner, far from the rest. I'm thinking of the elephant graveyard in Lion King, you know, "everything the light touches" and all that. Well, the light doesn't seem to touch the coding. It's generally avoided by parents until they cave and buy an app or a robot for their kid thinking that's the only way they can learn.



Coding can often seem like a nebulous subject that lives in a corner, far from the rest. I'm thinking of the elephant graveyard in Lion King, you know, "everything the light touches" and all that. Well, the light doesn't seem to touch the coding. It's generally avoided by parents until they cave and buy an app or a robot for their kid thinking that's the only way they can learn.


I'm prepared to laugh in the face of danger. You don't have to be stuck choosing between a video game or a robot. Opportunities to teach coding can pop up in every area of life... and I'm not just talking to those who already know how to code themselves. Programming is just a language for expressing concepts we all are familiar with.


Hakuna Matata!



Four ideas to practice coding concepts in real life


So where do we start? It's easier than you think!



Clean your room. Everything from cleaning your room to looking for your keys is just an algorithm. Optimizing that algorithm will lead to a more efficient solution and therefore a quicker reward. For looking for your keys, for example, do you search all of one room first (depth-first search) or skim over the most likely places in each room before going back to the next most likely and so on (breadth-first search)? Talk algorithms like this through with your child before embarking on your task. What do they think? Give it a try! Next time, try a different algorithm. Compare. Contrast. Discuss. This is the heart of programming.



Problem solve. Next time you have a problem, even a small one, ask your child if they have any ideas for how to fix it. Give them the space and supplies to follow through on their design. Then use it, and let them know how helpful it was! My 5-year-old invented “Jonesi cones”... basically little paper road cones. He enthusiastically runs and grabs them whenever I'm sweeping so that everyone would know not to step in and scatter my dirt pile.