People are fascinated by the level that technological advances reached. There is no aspect of our lives that technology does not affect. However, these developments are not achieved without the human mind and skills behind it. People build the future on technology. It is no surprise that the skill of the 21st century is programming. We even started teaching the children coding. Hence, today’s kids with programming ability will be tomorrow’s experts. If you wonder what the best way to teach children coding is, it is game programming. It has several reasons. First, kids love playing games. Game designing is a fun activity rather than mandatory studying. Besides, the features of game development are more exciting and colorful. So, children do not get bored and quit.
However, the benefits of programming do not end with being attractive. It offers advantages that last life-long. Hence, parents put much attention to teaching kids coding. The problem is that not all of us are aware of programming languages, especially the ones for children. There are simple game development tools for making children excited about programming, like Scratch. On the other hand, game programming in C++ is for deeper understanding. Therefore, choosing the right software can be challenging. To assist you in this process, I will share some tools of game programming for kids. Besides, I also want to give you more insights into this topic based on the most frequently asked questions.
With the increased interest in teaching the kids programming skills, the number of languages rises, too. You can find tools for game development and design of various complexity. If you think it is hard to choose, continue reading. I will help you to choose the right program in the subsequent section.
Scratch is a kid-friendly, fun way of programming. Developer Mitch Resnick build this software for children aged between 5 and 16. This software has an intuitive interface that is easy to use. Hence, children do not get frustrated by typing. The tool is famous for its simplicity and appealing visuals. Besides, it allows for great flexibility. The developer simplified the animation or game programming process extensively. As a result, even starters can build custom games in a short time. Kids love working with this language as they feel like real designers.
Another reason for its popularity is the online community. More than 15 million users all over the world follow this community. The helpfulness is the building of this community as an advanced user’s guide beginners. People should store their codes on the servers. As a result, others can access them and analyze how advanced developers build their games.
This language is entirely for-free and is compatible with Mac, Windows, or Linux. It can even work without an internet connection. Besides, the software contributes to education through tutorials and curriculum instructions that parents can use. There exist cards that facilitate learning the programming concept even when kids are not working on the computer. For its dedication to game programming for kids, Scratch is one of the best tools to teach children coding.
Another free language, which offers text-based coding, is Lua. By taking care of other issues like Memory Management, Lua ensure that it simplifies the work of beginners. The example of games developed by this software can be Angry Birds. Usually, developers use it for IOS or Android game development.
Lua is fast and light, together with being easy to install. Just download the software and follow the instructions. Similar to Scratch, Lua also has a community that supports cooperation and assistance to beginners.
This programming language has a short learning curve, which means that kids and teens will master it quickly. Game programming with Lua is relatively simple. Besides, it is a great tool that has promising opportunities. A kid learning Lua will have an advantage in future careers. It is a language that was used for World of Warcraft and Adobe Photoshop utilizes.
The advantage of Blockly over Scratch is that it shows the codes on the right side of the screen. When you link the blocks, the codes appear in that part. This feature is beneficial because older kids might not like the cats and cartoons of Scratch. Codes make them feel like experts.
This programming language teaches children building IOS apps. Since 2016, Swift has been offering coding lessons and challenges. It is entirely for free. One does not need to have a coding background to use the language. The app is kid-friendly, and game programming is very engaging here. It offers different tutorials for creating commands. These commands move a game character called Byte in a 3D environment. It is one of the advantages of Swift. Swift playground translates the commands into game-like behavior, which is unusual for children.
To follow the tutorials, kids need to have reading and problem-solving skills. Hence, the right age for Swift is around 10. Codes are in the form of ‘drag and drop,’ so children will avoid typos.
The drawback of the language is that it only works on Ipad. Besides, one can only engage in IOS game development with this programming. The app does not give kids much flexibility and freedom like Scratch software. The tasks are strict and rigid pathway exists. Designers created this pathway, and children can only follow this way. Hence, for creative kids, game programming can get annoying as they will feel pressured. But as it has appealing graphics, it can be an excellent app for schools where children use iPads in the classes. Besides, Apple announced that it would provide new services such as building AR-enabled apps. Therefore, in the future, the software can become more flexible.
C++ is one of the sophisticated programming languages for kids. However, it is hard to be sure about its fit for children. Some experts think that C++ is too advanced. This language requires well-established math skills. It can be challenging, and kids can lose their motivation for coding. On the other, this programming language has more features than the others mentioned above. A child who starts learning C++ will start his journey many steps ahead of her peers. Generally, my advice would be teaching game programming in C++ to children aged 10+ or to teens. They have more patience and knowledge of math compared to their younger peers.
Though it has a long learning curve, this language offers a deep understanding of coding. C++ is not only exceptional for game design but software and various programs, too.
I introduced to you several tools of game programming for kids. However, you can get lost among so many options. The main question is how to know that the program is well-suited for the children. To answer this question, the first thing you must do is getting more information about the tool. Then, you will be able to analyze the benefits and drawbacks they offer. Besides, you can compare the child’s abilities to the requirements of the software. Another way is understanding the differences between the types of software. There is a big difference between compiled languages and interpreted ones. This distinction affects the complexity level, too. For instance, game programming in C++, which is a compiled language, can be quite tricky for a beginner. To help you more, I also want to give you a brief description of various types of programming languages.
In compiled software, one writes the code then uses another program to parse that code. A famous example of a compiled programming language is C++. If you use it, you code with C but need another tool to parse and run on executable. The problem is that editing is difficult here. One wrong syntax can damage all codes. Then, you need to go back to the drawing board to fix the mistake. Generally, people believe that compiled programs are hard to learn and work. Hence, game programming in C++ is not the best choice for kids who start coding.
Let’s start with a simple one. Procedural languages are traditional ones. It runs through logical statements and mostly is based on “IF” and “THEN” functions. Game programming with procedural languages is more understandable for the children. On the other hand, OOP- Object-Oriented Programming utilizes objects that interact with each other and with other objects. Relations in this language are more complex and less linear. It uses a holistic approach to programming. Hence, they can be more challenging for kids.
It is common knowledge that children learn faster. Experts have always advised teaching new languages to children as they learn quickly. Alternatively, the rise of swimming lessons for toddlers was another example of their learning capabilities. Additionally, nowadays, kids are very interested in smartphones or tablets. They play games on PC like Minecraft or watch Youtube channels. Hence, it should not be surprising that children have the skills, time, and energy to master coding.
The ages that experts advice for starting programming change a lot. A few years ago, it was around 7. People thought that children at seven own enough capabilities to learn to code. However, nowadays, even 4-5 years old kids learn game programming. Learning to code through games teaches children the basics of programming in an engaging way. Hence, I believe starting as early as four age would only be beneficial.
There are a lot of benefits to teaching children coding. In general, it develops several skills like math, problem-solving, or critical-thinking. Besides, programming is a valuable asset for a future career.
For excelling game development, children learn the basics of computers of coding. It helps kids to understand how things work. They analyze how programming languages work to solve a particular challenge creatively and logically. It is one of the reasons why coding should be in the curriculum of schools, too. Another reason is that coding will teach children that failure is not the end. They will make a lot of mistakes and go back to fix them. Kids will understand that failing is a part of learning. Debugging will become a fun part of game development. Besides, these abilities- problem-solving and resilience from failure- benefit during different phases of children’s lives. They are also great tools to face the challenges and overcome them when they get older. Hence, game programming aids children in learning to solve the difficulties which they enjoy for a life-time.
Coding is not only typing the codes. The main goal is understanding how these codes work. It teaches children to think out-of-box and logically. Using development tutorials teach them self-studying, which positively affects thinking and creativity. Kids do not wait for someone to teach them. Instead, they try to figure out the problem by themselves. Children should view the bigger picture and divide it into small pieces. It is also called a ‘decomposition’ process, which is an essential part of computational thinking. Kids take a complex idea then use their creativity to make it work. If their solution does not work, they try again. The process continues until they find an effective way. Hence, children learn how to think effectively.
Teaching children programming is not like their school studies. There is no punishment for experimenting or being creative in game programming for kids. They can confidently try new ideas. If they do not work, they can come up with new ones. After all, kids create their games. Game is something they love, and now, they have one which belongs to them. When they see the outcomes of their work, they get more motivated.
Programming is the future. It is not only helpful in the technological field. Almost in every industry and sector, programming benefits the operations. A kid that masters this skill will have a life-time advantage for career opportunities. No matter their field of interest- banking, public health, or retail- they will have a valuable asset to achieve success.
Besides, there is an increasing demand for professional programmers. This lack means that when children get older, they will have a high probability of finding a job. Therefore, teaching children coding from young ages will help them avoid the frustration of employment in the future.
Children have fun when they create something of their own. Whether it is lego building or game development, the process is more engaging than solving the math exercises. However, what makes game programming supersede lego building is that coding brings more benefits for the future. Let’s be honest; teaching children math is one of the challenging tasks. Besides, most of them still do not like it. In any case, kids learn math skills without even realizing it with the help of programming languages for children. They will also start to like math tasks if it leads to their games. It is one of the most significant motives to teach kids programming.