There have been a lot of toys and games popping up that secretly teach kids programming basics and how to code, but why is it so important to teach programming skills to our kids?

Well first off, there is a huge demand for computer science and programming skills. According to Code.org, there will be 1.4 million more computer science jobs than there will be people to fill them by 2020.

Secondly, learning how to program teaches kids skills that they can use in everyday life, not just programming. Programming skills can improve a child’s problem-solving abilities, teach them to communicate and work collaboratively, and help them to think creatively and reason systematically.

With fun tools like the ones listed below, teaching your kid how to program can be fun, and some of the tools are for all ages!

Alice
Alice is a 3D programming environment that introduces object-oriented programming and teaches fundamental programming concepts in the context of creating video games and animated movies. Users drag and drop tiles to create a program, just like in Scratch and Blockly. Users can immediately see how their animation programs run, which helps them understand the relationship between programming statements and their effects.

Blockly
Blockly is a visual programming editor, similar to Scratch. Instead of typing out commands, users drag and drop blocks together in order to build an application. There is a maze tutorial available that introduces kids to programming.

Blockly

Bo and Yana
Created by veteran programmers from Amazon, Apple, Frog Design and Google, Bo and Yana are interactive robots that are designed to teach children as young as 5 years old how to code. With Bo and Yana, kids learn programming through exploration, play and discovery. The robots are sold separately and connect wirelessly with Android and Apple mobile devices.

Bo and Yana

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Code Monkey Island
Created by Web designer and developer Raj Sidhu, Code Monkey Island is a board game that teaches kids ages 8 and up programming concepts and how to apply them. Through the game, kids learn control structures, data structures, Boolean logic and operators, and assignment and mathematical operations.

Code Monkey Island

About Christina Cardoza

Christina Cardoza, formerly known as Christina Mulligan, is the Online & Social Media Editor of SD Times. She covers agile, DevOps, AI, and drones. Follow her on twitter at @chriscatdoza!