This post on Goop about toys for young hackers inspired me to think about the sort of things my son is going to grow up playing with. Back in the day, we thought Etch-a-Sketch, Donkey Kong, Oil Panic and PacMan were the height of coolness. Today, kids are learning online and using tablets and laptops from being babies. My two-year-old already knows how to open his favourite ‘Talking Tom’ game and Garbage Truck videos on YouTube on my iPad (which isn’t great for me – it drives me crazy!)
Teaching tech to kids is going to help create the next gen of developers and coders. Our kids are going to grow up in a more advanced world to us, so we need to encourage them and guide their learning so they can get the best out of technology.
Here are my favourite tech resources for kids aged three and up:
Zu3D is stop-motion animation software for children (and grown ups!) Be creative and technical at the same time, while having a LOT of fun in the process. They even have a shop selling backdrops, webcams and characters so you can start up your own little movie empire. Work together with younger kids to help them, or leave older ones to their own devices – everyone will love watching the results.
Teach your kids (from aged eight) to program with interactive stories, games, and animations, then share your creations with others in the online community. Give your kids valuable lessons in collaboration while teaching them to think creatively.
Created to promote computer science to everybody, Code is filled with bite-sized training for all ages (four-year-olds can even learn how to write their own computer program!) It aims to show kids that science, tech, IT and maths are all fun. There’s even a Frozen game you can build if your little one is obsessed with Elsa.
Although these websites don’t teach tech skills (other than the co-ordination to use a mouse to point and click answers) this online learning system is fab. The reading and the number versions appeal to all kids as it has (very cleverly) turned learning into a game with instant rewards. It starts from the age of three too, so it helps develop valuable skills ready for school.
Can you recommend any other resources to inspire the next generation of hackers? If so, please leave them in the comments as I’d love to check out some new ones.