You’ve likely seen your child take an interest in one of the many avenues that modern-day technology has to offer. Whether you’ve watched them debate the hottest new gaming app with their friends or have simply noticed them questioning why things work the way they do, every child’s early education can benefit from an introduction to computer science.
In particular, Java is a great way to embrace creativity, enhance problem-solving skills, and learn the fundamentals of coding. The challenges that will likely arise throughout the process will teach them perseverance and patience, skills that are transferable to nearly every other aspect of their lives.
Taking the first step into learning Java doesn’t have to be scary, and there are many ways as a parent that you can support them while they learn the fundamentals and acquire these wildly useful skills.
Perhaps it’s best to start with an answer to the simple question: what is Java?
In short, Java is a twenty-year-old object-oriented programming language that makes use of powerful code to make robust apps and games. If you’ve ever used Twitter, Gmail, Minecraft, or any other popular mobile app or game, you’ve been exposed to Java.
Your child may have some interest in one of the above applications. Better yet, Java is platform independent, and one of the easiest programming languages to learn. It allows a user to write code once and run it on any set of computing platforms.
Learn Java For Kids — How To Get Started
Jumping into the world of Java doesn’t have to be scary. A simple navigation to the Java website and download of Java SDK and IntelliJ will have you well on your way. The SDK is the software development kit, and the IntelliJ is what allows you to write and run the code. These can also be downloaded free of cost.
Once you set up your Java development environment, it’s time to tackle the basic concepts of object-oriented programming.
Let’s discuss a few.
Class files are the folders that house java code. To get started, your child will need to create a new file to discover how the first line of code is written. A basic understanding of what variables are and how they work may come easily to your child if they’re involved in the digital space: the levels in a game, high scores, and challenges often found in mobile gaming are all easy examples for them to pick up.
This is a whole new world for children, so questions will arise. When they do, it poses a great opportunity for them to learn skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and independent learning.
Fundamental Practices To Master
Learning to write code is most definitely a “one foot in front of the other” process. Gaining a fundamental understanding of the following five concepts will set your child up for success.
[Read: Python Coding for Kids]
In the beginning of your child’s code, they’ll declare all their variables. Whether they know it or not, they are already comfortable with what a variable is: the level of the game and the player’s name.
Once your child has committed to naming conventions, they’re there to stay. They will make a naming convention for every class, interface, method, and variable that they want to use – it’s important that these are intuitively understandable and will prevent confusion down the road.
[Read: What are Alphanumeric Characters?]
Single and Double Quotes
Double quotes represent strings whereas single quotes represent characters. When chaining characters into a string, use double quotes for everything that’s about to be chained.
Are a sequence of characters that are interpreted by a script.
Objects are the building blocks of Java code, and it’s important to use them wisely as they are one of the most memory-consuming operations in Java. If your child is interested in games like Minecraft, this may come naturally to them.
What Fun Things Can Java Do?
Learning strings, variables, and objects may not sound exciting or glamorous to your child at first. Thus, remind them that the basis of all of their favorite games lies in these codes.
Two things that your child may find exciting as they build their own game are building worthy opponents for their game characters or giving their new superhero the ability to fly. Watching your child explore the ins and outs of their favorite games is likely to be inspiring to you both.
How Can I Make Java More Fun?
To make this a more productive learning process, it’s important to ensure that this feels more like a fun and exciting new undertaking than a chore or another piece of homework. Start small, gauge their interest, and make sure you are readily available to celebrate their first pieces of code with them.
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Additionally, make a concerted effort to explore popular new mobile gaming apps, relaying to them that the developers of those games were working through the same learning process that they are; after all, everyone has to start from the beginning.
We are by no means implying that learning Java is a simple feat. However, the skills that the learning process will teach your child are invaluable. In their young frames of mind, children are inquisitive, creative, and willing to take risks, often more so than we as adults give them credit for.
As a parent, it is our job to invite our children to explore new learning and ensure that they are supported for the duration of doing so.
To learn more, check out the BYJU’S FutureSchool blog for more articles on Java and coding. You can also sign up for a FREE trial class in a 1:1 live learning environment to learn about coding, math, and music.