Experts from the Pixel IT school for children and teenagers have gathered in one place the best directions for immersing yourself in programming from an early age. In the article, you will find out what schoolchildren from the age of 6 are studying in programs such as Scratch and Scratch Junior, Kodu Game Lab, Minecraft, Roblox Studio, Unity, as well as in HTML and CSS website development classes.
Scratch and Scratch Junior
Age: from 8 to 12 years old.
What is it: Scratch is a programming language that was created specifically for children’s learning. The child develops IT skills in a special visual programming environment, which resembles a Lego constructor in terms of its block interface. It is possible to create simple computer games in Scratch, as well as animations. Scratch Junior is a light version of the program that is suitable for younger children aged 6–8.
What are they studying: Children understand mathematical operations, create simple game menus, set up character speech synthesis and work with visual effects.
Kodu Game Lab
Age: from 6 to 9 years old.
What is it: Kids at Kodu Game Lab create 3D worlds in a playful way. The program is designed so that students do not need additional knowledge of programming languages, only the block language Kodu. The toolkit is simple enough for even the youngest kids to try their hand at game development.
What are they studying: This is a constructor for future IT-specialists of the game industry. Students delve into game algorithms, design entire worlds, create main and secondary characters, come up with plots, scenarios, and most importantly, study genres and game mechanics.
Python in Minecraft
Age: from 9 to 13 years old.
What is it: among young fans of online games popular Minecraft — a game in the “sandbox” genre. In the virtual world, users can create anything thanks to endless possibilities: from a small house to an entire city. In addition to tools and a field for creativity, programming languages can be used in Minecraft. In the classroom, children learn to code in Python without leaving their favorite game.
What are they studying: Future programmers inside the virtual world create 2D and 3D figures, as well as characters with artificial intelligence. More experienced students write more than 100 lines of code to create a great game inside Minecraft and then play it with friends.
Age: from 9 to 14 years old.
What is it: Roblox is an online platform where users can not only explore endless game worlds, but also create their own. To manage the game environment in Roblox Studio, children use the Lua programming language.
What are they studying: The guys first learn how to create blocks inside the platform, and then work with shadows, animation of characters and objects, textures, and complex special effects.
Age: from 10 to 14 years old.
What is it: Unity is a cross-platform environment for developing any game. This is a complete tool for future gaming development engineers.
What are they studying: With the help of the C# language, students create the interface of a future game, think over game mechanics, characters, and difficulty levels. There is no constructor or visual programming in this program, children write lines of code, as adult IT specialists do.
Creation of sites on HTML and CSS
Age: from 12 years old.
What is it: If the previous programs are aimed at immersing yourself in programming through the creation of games, then this one is closely related to web development. HTML is the foundation of many websites, while CSS is the style sheet.
What are they studying: Any site consists of a set of classic elements: visual, text and elements. The children learn how to correctly place the components of the site, manage elements and fonts, as well as add interactive blocks and build a clear narrative structure.
You can learn more about each direction by watching these video tutorials. If your child often sits at a computer or asks a lot of questions about the Internet and games, then programming is his area. Children are tech-savvy, more interested than us in how games, programs and applications work. It is easier for them to learn new topics and directions due to a large supply of energy and involvement.