App Development Tools and Games for Kids to Learn Programming
Today, an increasing number of mechanical toys and video games are grabbing the attention of our youth. Many kids are becoming interested in the technologies underlying them and wondering what they can do to begin making their own creations. This often involves learning the basics of coding.
Coding is the process of using programming languages to write scripts containing lines of code to tell a computer to perform specific tasks.
Coding is a viable career choice. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual pay for computer programmers is $86,550, and 250,000 individuals work in the profession. Examples of jobs in the field include:
These are only a few examples of jobs in this diverse field. While BLS projects that the number of jobs will decline by 7% from 2018 to 2028, coding is a skill that is growing in demand across many industries.
App development is a related field that is focused on the design and creation of apps — software designed to satisfy specific user needs. Lifestyle and utility apps, social media apps, and mobile games are made possible by the efforts of countless app developers, and coding plays an integral part in their work. With high earning potential and many avenues for advancement, it’s clear that a passion for coding at a young age bodes well for future employment opportunities.
Children who take an interest in app development can learn skills that will help them going forward. Not only will they gain expertise with highly employable skills for their professional futures, but they will also learn some essential life skills along the way. Read on to learn more about app development and resources you can leverage to further your child’s passion in this important field.
Why Should Kids Learn App Development?
There are many career opportunities for individuals versed in app development fundamentals, and those skills have uses beyond the purview of this field. Practically every business in the modern world needs an online presence, and app and web development are required to make that happen. Learning coding opens countless doors in one’s career, and getting started at a young age can help learners become experts.
App development is playing an increasingly important role in the modern world and, as such, should be an area of focus for parents and teachers alike. When kids learn app development, they are given new avenues for creative expression, enhancing their critical thinking, and improving their creative problem-solving skills.
Tools Needed to Learn App Development
It’s easy to dismiss coding as a viable outlet for your child if you don’t already have a high-powered computer or other advanced technology at home. However, this is a misconception. The reality is that most kids who want to learn to code or develop apps only need access to an internet connection and a smartphone, other mobile device, or basic computer.
As you’ll see later in this guide, there are many free and low-cost resources available online for young learners who want to begin learning to code. Many devices are compatible with these, including:
Some of the options discussed in this guide involve hardware in addition to these devices that will be used to facilitate learning. It’s important to review the required specifications of any specific resource before investing in it, but the minimum requirements are generally accessible.
Coding Courses & Platforms for Beginners
When teaching coding, it can help to keep children motivated through gamification — or the use of game mechanics to drive engagement. Traditional lessons can be gamified, or games themselves can be leveraged to improve learning outcomes. This is true for app development, as many coding games offer effective methods while maintaining the interest of young users.
Interested in learning more? Review the free and paid app development games listed below to find a solution that suits your budget and child’s needs.
Coding Courses & Platforms for Moderate Skill Levels
Once a child has become adept at coding, the above platforms may be too limited or simplistic to foster further development. At this point, they should move on to more advanced learning platforms for individuals with moderate skill levels. Such platforms have an increased focus on learning real-world programming languages and more directly demonstrate how coding skills apply in the real world.
Online Coding Games
Many of the above platforms leverage games to teach software development, and there are some dedicated games that strive to do the same. These generally have deeper game mechanics and strive to teach programming basics while tasking users with completing specific tasks. These range from brief, bite-sized experiences to full-length stories. The primary motivation for many of these is the gaming experience — not necessarily the drive to learn. Nevertheless, they can be effective tools to drive interest in the subject.
Tips to Get Kids Interested in Coding
Parents and teachers must make an effort to help children see the world of possibilities waiting for them, and this holds true for app development. Young learners need to understand the importance of coding, as well as the integral role they can play in software development. Perhaps most importantly, they must know that they have support during times of confusion or frustration while learning the subject. There are many ways to accomplish each of these. The following tips will help readers get children interested in app development.