4 Reasons Why Kids Should Learn to Program

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Last Updated: April 5, 2013 5:00 pm
4 Reasons Why Kids Should Learn to Program

4 Reasons Why Kids Should Learn to Program

In recent years, the importance of programming has become a subject of increasing international awareness, moving from the narrow domain of the “geek” to the broader world, including the K-12 education space. Earlier this year, President Obama endorsed mandatory computer programming education in schools. And recently, a viral video from code.org encouraged students to learn to code. For those of us in Silicon Valley, it is especially clear that the ability to code is taking on an unprecedented level of importance.

Programming hasn’t become this popular by accident. There is a growing understanding that knowing how to program is essential, especially for younger generations. Simply memorizing facts is less and less relevant in a world where Google can satisfy just about any question in a matter of milliseconds; it is technical skills that will enable children to succeed, and that set of skills must include programming.

Here are a few reasons why learning programming is important:

1. Programming is a basic literacy in the digital age.

Kids are growing up in a very different world than that of their parents. Cell phones, computers, YouTube, Netflix, and Facebook are embedded in their daily lives. Even toys are digital, and many are programmable, such as Legos and the new-generation LeapFrogs.

It is one thing to know how to use these technologies. It’s another, however, to understand the logic behind them. When learning to program, kids understand and tinker with the digital world they inhabit. Coding draws back the seeming “magic” of technology so they can truly understand the logic and science that controls this technology – a discovery that is all the more magical.

Our reliance on technology will only increase.  The students of today must be able to not only passively consume this technology, but also understand and control it, becoming an active part of this huge digital shift.

2. Programming can change the world.

For the last several centuries, people relied on the written word to spread ideas. The ability to write was the ability to create change. Today, writing is not enough: to enact change, it is crucial to leverage the digital medium.

Consider the Arab Spring. Social media enabled a revolutionary wave of protests and demonstrations that changed the course of the Middle East. Writing played a crucial role in exposing the injustices taking place in the region, but people also needed a way to organize and protest. An essay, no matter how well-written, couldn’t have brought about this change by itself.

We’re seeing all around us that programming is changing the world!

3. “You have an idea for then next big innovation? Great. Can you bring it to life?”

Everyone has ideas. Only a select few can make them happen. The ability to code separates those who merely have an idea from those who can make their ideas a reality.

If you want your child to be a thinker and innovator who can bring ideas to life, encourage him or her to learn how to program. Programming gives children confidence that they can be designers and builders.

4. Programming doesn’t have to be hard to learn.

In fact, Tynker makes it a straightforward process. One of Tynker’s most important features is that it gives immediate feedback, which is crucial for learning programming. If a child programs an object to move in a certain way and then immediately sees the results they wanted, then they know they’ve manipulated the code correctly. This type of instant positive reinforcement is an incredibly powerful educational tool.

Learning how to program is like learning any other language in that the skill must be practiced and tested out. Just as languages open up the ability to communicate with worlds of people, programming gives children the ability to create technologies that impact those around them. With just a computer, kids can use their programming skills to build things that could change the world.

Tynker’s guided learning systems allow kids to choose their own learning path and transition from block-based coding to text coding when they’re ready. If your child likes Minecraft, they’ll love learning to code as they mod Minecraft. And children with a passion for gaming can learn to code as they build their own games.

If your kids aren’t already learning to program, now’s the time to start!

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About Tynker

Tynker enables children to learn computer programming in a fun and imaginative way. More than 60 million kids worldwide have started learning to code using Tynker.


  1. Ken Simon 11 years ago

    I read about Tynker for the first time this morning, and I think that yours is an exciting venture. I am in my 40s. When I was in the 5th grade in the early 1980s, we learned BASIC by filling out bubble cards and sending them off downtown. There was a sense of anticipation as we waited a week(!) for the printouts of our results. Did our programs work? Was there an error or a problem with the results – meaning a mystery to puzzle out? That was in a Los Angeles public school. Sadly, after elementary school, there was no curricular support for programming, and although I kept at it as a hobby for a while, my attention waned without any structured support to keep me learning and developing those skills. Even so, I think that learning those programming fundamentals at such a young age enabled me to understand logic and gave me the ability to troubleshoot computer problems in a common sense way, something that I later used in my professional career. That’s why I see such a great opportunity in what you’re doing. I hope that the school systems that adopt Tynker understand that they’ll need to support the development of programming skills all the way up to the 12th grade. Otherwise, they’ve laid a foundation but failed to build anything upon it!

  2. Chris 11 years ago

    Great post. Don’t forget its a gateway into so many careers now. It is one of the base employable skills of this century, like Maths or English. It is that critical.


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