Keen to get your kids coding but not sure where to start? Who knew it could be as low-tech as crayons, paper, scissors and glue?!
Like any parent who wants the best for her children, I figure in today’s tech-crazy climate it would behoove my three year old daughter to learn coding as soon as possible. There’s an almost overwhelming array of kids coding classes in Singapore to choose from, but I’d heard that Coding Lab was particularly little-kid-friendly, plus I love that its founder is not only female, but a mama herself. Women in tech for the win!
Another plus for Coding Lab is that they offer lots of one-off workshops in addition to their weekly classes. This really appealed to me as 1) my daughter’s schedule is already super full and 2) it’s a great way to try it out before making too much of a commitment.
I was super keen to do their recent Guess How Much I Love You –themed workshop at Trehaus, but unfortunately the timing didn’t work out (note that they will be doing a full week’s worth of literature-themed workshops during school holidays, though!). Candice also mentioned that they do bi-weekly “Coding with Pororo” classes for kids 4-7 at Pororo Park at Marina Square – the price includes all-day admission to the super fun indoor playground there – so we decided to give it a try.
While I’m all for learning how to code, I’m also a stickler about screen time and generally only let Maggie onto the iPad during airplane flights (and yet she’s figured out more shortcuts on my iPhone than I have). So I was relieved when we walked into the bright, colourful classroom to see tables filled with crayons, coloring sheets and puzzle pieces. Turns out screen time is just a small piece of the coding puzzle, particularly when kiddos are just starting out.
The class led by a young, female instructor – girl power! – began with a warmup, I imagine to help the kids get some wiggles out before they sat down to concentrate. The instructor then took them through some of the Pororo characters, which led to coloring, cutting (with scissors! Such a thrill for my 3-year-old!), and pasting.
After manually moving the characters around a grid (a little tricky for Maggie, who doesn’t really know her left and right yet), the kids hopped onto Coding Lab’s iPads and worked their way up to ScratchJr, the renowned kids’ coding language. It’s super intuitive with its drag-and-drop function – any toddler can handle it, although I think the concept of instructions might have been a little advanced for Maggie.
By class’s end, each of the children had Pororo and his friends moving around, picking up objects, and more. It’s very basic, yes, but the concept of sequencing is such a key stepping stone in coding, and it was fabulous to see it in action. I think Maggie was still a bit young – ideally kids should be able to read, and it’s definitely important to know their left and right – but she nonetheless enjoyed herself, and I will definitely bring her back for more workshops when she turns 4.
Want to know more, check out our Ultimate Guide to Holiday Camps to see Coding Lab’s full schedule of holiday camps and classes for kids ages 4 to 16!
Coding Lab, 264 Upper Bukit Timah Road, #03-06, Singapore 588208, Tel: (+65) 6528 2282, www.codinglab.com.sg
Images courtesy of the author.