“Programming teaches you how to think.”— Steve Jobs
Children learn more easily when they understand what they are learning. Sadly, today’s classrooms force children to memorize endless facts instead. And memorization comes at the expense of comprehension.
As a result, children end up racking their brains in front of books, memorizing dozens of formulas for hours until exam day. And once they finish their test, they empty their minds and move on to whatever they need to memorize next.
Even worse, they’re punished for making mistakes in class. They’re taught that the problems in their books have only one correct solution. And that there’s only one way to get to that solution.
This results in our children being punished for thinking differently, creatively, or even critically.
But teaching your how to code can undo this damage. Here’s how.
Coding Makes You Smarter
Coding has been found to improve parts of the brain associated with language processing, working memory, problem-solving, and spatial thinking.1
There are so many different ways to learn coding that improves the brain’s ability to form connections, analyze problems, and think in a divergent manner.
The goal of a programmer is to create something.
It’s not just about writing lines of code; it’s about coming up with as many different approaches as possible to achieve your goal. And to tackle a problem, you have to take vague concepts and turn them into concrete ideas.
It’s also commonly believed that the right hemisphere of the brain is associated with logical thinking and that the left hemisphere is associated with creative thinking.2
Coding introduces the right environment in which your child is forced to exercise both hemispheres. Your child must not only create something from scratch, but also learn how to tackle practical obstacles that hinder them, requiring critical thinking to overcome these roadblocks.
Coding Teaches You How to Create
One of the most important aspects of creativity is getting comfortable with the process of creation. It’s not easy to create. Most children are exposed to endless sources of entertainment, which they learn to consume nonstop. Consuming is easy, while creating is hard.
Encourage your children to code, and they’ll become creators rather than just consumers. The simplest way to accomplish this is to show them that the games they play are all based on coding. The most well-known games in the world, such as Fortnite, Minecraft, PUBG, all started out as tiny lines of code before growing into massively popular games.
There are plenty of resources available to help your child in creating small games that take no more than an afternoon to complete.3
Encourage them with these small steps. Then let them play their games. This will show them that coding can bring fun and joy into people’s lives.
Coding Teaches You Creative Problem-solving
What should you do if the code you wrote fails to function?
You must figure out the source of the problem. In real life, mistakes are made and learned from before arriving at the right answer. This is an incredibly important part of learning that is completely overlooked in classrooms.
Coding can teach your child that it’s okay to make mistakes. There is no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” approach to programming. Some ways may be more efficient than others, but whatever works, works.
When your child tries to code, they will run into obstacles. However, unlike sitting in a classroom with a strict teacher, they’re not punished for thinking of different ways when overcoming that obstacle. This encourages your children to think and rewards them for doing so as long as the end result is achieved.
It doesn’t matter if the answer is wacky as long as it works.
It doesn’t matter if it’s unusual or strange either.
Coding teaches your child that there are many different ways to solve a problem. And as long as they work, they’re all equally valid. Coding, in this sense, more closely resembles real life than any classroom.
If a person is given a goal and the freedom to choose how to accomplish that goal, they can fully exercise their critical thinking, creativity, and unique thinking when it comes to coding.
Coding Introduces Creative Limitations
Imagine being locked in a house with just an egg, a coin, and a cup of tea.
How are you going to get away?
I’m not sure what the solution is to this problem, but it will undoubtedly require some creativity.
Coding is full of these kinds of challenges, for example, “how can you accomplish a given task with a limited set of commands that a computer understands?”
Likewise, every program you code will have its own set of unique needs and constraints.
This makes the coding process similar to a puzzle, where you have to exercise technical creativity and innovation to get your code to work.
While having the freedom to accomplish a goal is great, sometimes constraints can force your mind to be more creative as well.
This is a very different way of learning. To solve a puzzle like this, you must be in control. And people enjoy being in charge.
Every day children are told how to act and behave. So it’s easy for some children to completely fall in love with coding because of the freedom it brings. Once they have a taste of being creative and in control, many don’t want to ever look back. They have complete freedom to do whatever they want, and not only is this a great way for your child to exercise their creativity, but also a way to share their creations with others.
Coding is an incredibly unique creative act in that it pays extremely well, unlike many traditional creative fields. As a parent, you have nothing to worry about when it comes to introducing your child to the creative world of coding.
It’s an incredibly practical skill in today’s digital age. Even if you don’t pursue it as a career, the benefits it brings to your child’s developing mind will carry over to other areas in life to help them succeed.
If this blog by BYJU’S FutureSchool captured your interest, then let us know your thoughts in the comments.