Teaching coding to a 5 and 8 year old

Like much of the world, were on lockdown which means I’m schooling my 5 and 8 year old much of the time at home. This is mostly because I can do my radiology reporting from home early morning and late evening on most days.

I want to introduce the girls to coding. I’ve started with the iPad Swift Playgrounds app and they seem to be enjoying it. I was just wondering if any other parents have any thoughts about getting young kids into coding.

Playgrounds are AWESOME because they couched a lot of it in terms of a game
So it appeals to kids
But they kind of stop at a certain level and the gap between “hey I finished the game” and “how do I make an application” is pretty wide

TBH Xojo is dead easy to introduce hem to because its visual and so they can SEE their progress really quickly and make something (unlike writing Hello World in C etc which is still a long way from there to making an app with a UI)

I’d say the biggest mistake most programming course s make is they teach a TOOL and not general purpose concepts
Loops are loops are loops - sure syntax varies but syntax is easy to look up mostly
But concepts like OO inheritance etc are portable

Being a “programmer” or a “developer” [I HATE the term “coder”] involves way more than learning a language (be it Swift, Python, Xojo or whatever). First and foremost, you need to be able to identify the “problem”, and determine what steps (and data) are required to solve that problem… Then and only then can a “tool” be applied to automate that solution.

I think you’re onto something @DaveS. Coding for coding sake is hard to encourage. There needs to be a goal. I think that’s where playgrounds is good because the kids can see a short term goal. The issue with playgrounds is as @npalardy describes - it’s a game really first and foremost. It doesn’t really help you build an app.

I did consider Xojo and a few months ago my then 7 year old and I made a really simple number guessing game which she seemed to enjoy. The problem was that kids mostly want to play games so I guess I’m looking for a game development app that’s not as complex as GameMaker but not quite as simple as Scratch. A very small a niche!