Updated: June 20th 2023
TL;DR: SKIP TO THE FAQ!
Are Kids Spending Less Time On Screens?
With schools back in full swing and Covid restrictions non-existent, kids are in REAL classrooms, with real people! But does that mean your kids are spending less time on their screens in class or when they are at home?
If you have kids between the ages of 10-18, probably not, in fact, they may be more immersed than ever if they’d been using Google Classroom to support their learning while they were learning at home.
And, you’ve no doubt heard about the importance of computer literacy and getting your kids into programming and coding. Teaching them lifelong skills in our technology rich world may be the best thing we can do for them besides teaching them how to manage their time online.
Do you know if your kids are learning the right things at school and how you can not only supplement their education at home but make the most of their screen time? With so many apps, toys, and books available, it’s hard to know where to start or which ones are worth the investment of time and money.
If your kids have expressed interest in gaming technology and think they’d like to learn more about how to create a tech game themselves, whether it be a virtual reality app like Roblox or Minecraft this post will help point you as parents, and them in the right direction.
Coding for Kids: Top 6 Choices For Tech Games You’ll Approve Of For Kids
Does your child spend hours playing Minecraft and is constantly amazed by the worlds that are built by other people in the game but think it’s out of reach for them? No more!
Your child can learn to code and build their own Minecraft world with these new STEM lessons and worlds inspired by the NASA Artemis Missions.
Free Coding Adventure for Kids
Kids and their parents can join in on a free hour of code: “A Minecraft Tale of Two Villages”! Dive into this free Minecraft Education lesson where you’ll:
- create and code the 3D game, Minecraft.
- understand logic development.
- virtual reality game development.
- develop empathy, cooperation, and social-emotional skills while coding!
Parents can download a free trial, purchase licenses, and access trainings and tutorials.
NOTE: We attended a similar trial Minecraft class from campk12.com. The instructor seemed knowledgeable but the lesson felt disjointed and rushed. Nevermind the fact that she was talking about herself way too much. Overall, the point of the lesson was clear though and the resulting game my son created looked pretty cool.
It’s so important that your kids are able to connect with an instructor that is focused on their needs. I imagine it isn’t easy to do through a screen so I felt for her a bit. But we won’t be registering for classes at campk12.com for this reason and it seemed expensive. They wanted a 48 class commitment and even though they said something about it being guaranteed, it didn’t feel right.
Virtual reality games for kids are all the rage in 2023 and what better way to ensure your child’s screen time is used for educational purposes tham to build their own Roblox game.
Fuel your child’s creative confidence by learning to code using computer science principles animation, 3-D design and development by joining the Roblox studio. This Intro course to coding in game design will help your child learn how to build their first game in Roblox. The course is two hours long and completely free.
Design for kids age is 10 to 16, Hopscotch is a bite-sized intro to programming fundamentals through learning how software is made. The drag and drop functioning blocks of code allow kids to build their own programs. There are no mistakes, just learning, which supports creative and critical thinking, problem solving and confidence in kids. Hopscotch cofounders Jocelyn Leavitt and Samantha John hope to get girls into programming earlier and help fill the void of women in tech. Get started today by downloading the app in the app store.
4. Hello Ruby
Get girls into coding with this book from Hello Ruby that aims to teach 4-7 year olds about programming and open source culture through a smart, mischievous female protagonist and her whimsical adventures.
The first book, Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding is about imagination and adventure. Ruby is a little girl who makes friends with Snow Leopard and Penguins while solving problems. This book isn’t about coding per say, it’s more about problem solving through programming concepts. It’s a great tool for kids, parents and educators to learn to understand programming in a fun and creative way.
Parents get a workbook so they can learn and help their kids solve problems in the accompanying activity book.
Hello Ruby is now published in over 22 languages, including Japanese, Korean, Dutch and even Finnish.
Scratch is a brainchild of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT’s Media Lab and is the world’s largest coding community for children. Its simple visual interface allows young people to create their own digital stories games and animations.
It promotes computational thinking and problem-solving skills creative teaching and learning collaboration positive self expression an equity in the computer programming world. It’s always free and is available in over 70 languages. It uses drag and drop blue blocks of code similar to Hopscotch.
You can get started with Tynker for free with the option for at home plans from as little as $7.50 per month. They occasionally run workshops exclusively for girls as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are kids spending less time on screens in classrooms and at home now that Covid restrictions are no longer is place?
With schools back in full swing and Covid restrictions all but a distant memory, kids may not be spending less time on screens. In fact, if they had been using Google Classroom while learning at home, they might be more immersed than ever. It would be important to check with the health authority in your area and any studies that have been done on the subject.
For our family, it still has an impact as far as we can tell. Kids are spending more time on screens at our local school and I don’t see that changing any time soon.
What are some tech games that are suitable for kids between the ages of 10-18?
Some tech games suitable for kids between the ages of 4-18 are Minecraft, Roblox, Hopscotch, Hello Ruby, Scratch, and Tynker.
How can my child learn to code and create their own Minecraft world?
Your child can learn to code and build their own Minecraft world through new STEM lessons and worlds inspired by the NASA Artemis Missions. They can join free coding adventures, like “A Minecraft Tale of Two Villages,” where they will have the opportunity to create and code the 3D game, understand logic development, explore virtual reality game development, and develop empathy, cooperation, and social-emotional skills while coding. Parents can also access resources such as free trials, licenses, and trainings to support their child’s learning journey.
What is Hopscotch, and how does it help kids learn programming fundamentals?
Hopscotch is a bite-sized intro to programming fundamentals designed for kids aged 10 to 16. It uses drag and drop functioning blocks of code, allowing kids to build their own programs. Hopscotch promotes creative and critical thinking, problem solving, and confidence in kids.
What is Hello Ruby, and how does it aim to teach programming to young children?
Hello Ruby is a book that aims to teach 4-7 year olds about programming and open source culture. It features a smart, mischievous female protagonist and her whimsical adventures. The book comes with tools for kids, parents, and educators to learn and understand programming in a fun and creative way.
What does Tynker offer in terms of coding education for kids, and what age group does it cater to?
What is Scratch, and how does it help children create digital stories, games, and animations?
Scratch is a coding platform created by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT’s Media Lab. It is the world’s largest coding community for children and provides a simple visual interface for creating digital stories, games, and animations. It promotes computational thinking, problem-solving skills, collaboration, and positive self-expression
Do you know any other cool, fun, hip new programming and tech apps, toys and tools out there? I’d love to hear about them!