The first step is to realize that many young children are not comfortable sitting for long periods of time in front of a computer. That is why you should keep your sessions pretty brief. Kids also need to see results very quickly or they will become bored (or perhaps lose focus on the task), so do not take on big projects and do things in baby steps where results are quickly obvious. Also, keep in mind that some kids simply won’t resonate with coding and you have to let them quit. If you force them to continue, then later in life when they are more sedate (their teenage years), they will be soured on the idea of coding. With those snippets of advice out of the way, here are a few new ways to teach coding to kids.
Try Coding Games
If you're looking for a fun way to teach coding to kids, why not try coding games? From digital challenges such as programming robots or designing virtual worlds to classic board games that teach the fundamentals of computer science, these engaging games are a great way to teach coding in an enjoyable environment.
However, don’t opt for stand-alone apps that offer coding games. You need a more rounded experience. You also need something that teaches as much as it entertains. This is because the kids will naturally gravitate to the fun parts of the game and will stop absorbing information. Modern apps are looking to make money, so singular coding apps are often heavy on fun and light on actual learning.
Instead, you need coding games from online courses. That way, there is a meaning and purpose behind each game. The online courses you find are all structured in their own way, but for example, you may find a course that teaches a certain principle and then offer the kids a game based on that principle.
Try To Diversify Rote Memorization
Usually, we remember the things we are supposed to memorize because we use them frequently. For example, you know where and when to end with a semi-colon because you often use it. However, when you teach kids, especially in short sessions, they are not using principles repeatedly with enough regularity to learn them (at least not in the beginning).
Try to diversify how your kids learn these things. Thankfully, there are things like WhatsApp and other messaging services that allow you to play around with the things your kids should remember. For example, when you give your kids a list of things to do, format them in code. When you give your kids instructions through their phones, give them logic coding (like telling them they can have popcorn IF they clean their rooms).
Diversify in whatever creative ways you can think of. If you write something on the family whiteboard or digital sign, and your kids have a response, then have them place a hashtag before their response if it doesn't affect the primary goal of the task (aka, commenting out the comment as with HTML coding).
Getting The Parents Involved
There are times when kids will undertake even the most boring tasks if their parents are involved. We have all seen the kids on the street. Their dad is screwing nails into the fence while the kid is helping by diligently smashing rocks with a hammer.
Getting the parents involved is a good start but taking on projects together is an even better way to drive engagement. Taking on a project often involves having the child know at least a bit about coding before starting, but it only takes a little learning before children and their parents can take on simple projects with simple objectives.
Recap Before Every Session
This is vitally important, especially during the first year of teaching. The kid will forget almost everything you teach, and they will forget every single time. Yet, if you give them a quick refresher and a quick recap before each session, they will pick it up and start moving forwards much faster.
A refresher is almost like giving the course basics again but doing it in a very brief manner. It assumes that somewhere in the child’s mind, they have understood the concepts, but they have forgotten the specifics (which we are all guilty of even in our adult lives). A recap is slightly different. That is where you go over the things you were doing in just the last session, hopefully with the goal of progressing forwards into the next lesson. Your current lesson may not even relate to the last lesson, but a quick recap will help solidify the knowledge in the child’s head.
If you give your refreshers and recaps and your kid remembers the stuff from last time, it doesn't mean you should stop giving them. Oddly, it probably means that your teaching methods are working and that you should keep them up.
If your kid is exceptional and knows everything you mention in your refreshers and recaps, try turning them into a test/game. Ask your kid to complete sentences, and have your kid become the teacher from time to time to teach you what was taught in the last session.