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Programming for children. Programming is a game.

Programming for children. Programming is a game.

In our country, it’s strange to relate programming as a skill focused on children. However, there are increasingly more initiatives (mostly on Anglo-Saxon world) to teach computational thinking to children from an early age. Note that computational thinking is not only about learning a programming language, but focuses on basic concepts like logic, cause-effect relationship, algorithms construction as a method of solving problems …

If you’re not still convinced, you can order one of these cute robots, Bo and Yana, which can be controlled via mobile phone or tablet, and can be programmed to perform movements and actions. They are designed for different age groups, ranging from 5 to 8 years, 8 to 12 years, and over 12.

If you are more traditional, there are also some child tales that, apart from teaching to children the pleasure of reading, they also allow them discover how computers work and the basis of programming, through very nice drawings. One of the best known is “Hello Ruby” by Linda Liukas (4 to 7 years) or “Lauren Ipsum” by Carlos Bueno (8 to 12 years).

A more active initiative, which is perfect for holidays, is to enroll children in a summer camp focused on programming. This is an initiative that takes places mainly in United States and Canada since 1999. For example, at iD Tech Campus children from 7 to 12 and youngsters from 13 to 18 will have a great time. Closer, we can find a summer technological campus in Madrid.

This way of understanding programming as an educational game suitable for children is still strange to us. We need to break the myth that programming it’s a difficult skill and not suitable for children. Programming teaches them to think, and it also opens a wide range of possibilities for their personal, educational and professional future.

Marta Mas