“Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression.” Those are the words of the late Dr. Haim Ginott, who was a school teacher, a child psychologist and psychotherapist, and a parent educator.
The idea of introducing coding to kids down at the preschool and elementary school level has been made possible by the evolving nature of coding itself. There is now an increased emphasis on the development of children’s computational thinking as a foundational understanding for learning advanced programming at later stages of their life. This has been made possible with the help of children’s programming toys and coding robots.
Young children learn faster when learning is made fun, and it is beneficial to use programming toys to enhance critical thinking skills — comprising a vast set of problem-solving and analytical capabilities, habits, dispositions and approaches often required in the field of computer science and programming.
The question remains, how do coding robots foster learning in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM)?
How Programming Toys Foster Steam Learning
STEAM education prioritizes educating children, in all levels of education, core academic skills in fields of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. While these programming toys won’t teach your preschool or elementary school children advanced calculus and engineering mathematics, kids begin to understand the concepts through everyday play. Simple programming toys could teach younger kids how to associate sounds with letters, practice counting, and basic arithmetic, spell words for points, recognize patterns and match shapes and colors.
Building toys facilitate learning through construction as kids learn how to pay attention to detail and follow laid down building instructions in the manual. There are also musical programming toys that take advantage of children’s innate tendencies to develop their understanding of notes through musical challenges. When you introduce coding toys, in particular coding robots, the more advanced systems will allow younger children to explore this curricula through a single toy.
Ways To Integrate Programming Toys Into Early Education Curricula
Gone are the days when traditional preschool curriculum only included glorified daycare, and singing of the ABCs. There has been a movement, event a transformation, to what we now refer to as Academic preschools.
Academic preschool curricula has provision to educate 3-5-year-olds the basics of reading, writing, geography, math, science, and most importantly, computational skills necessary for coding. Programming toys take advantage of the power of play when integrated into the early childhood education curricula. According to Ascd.org, play is an ever-changing dynamic process that’s imaginative, multisensory, creative, and interactive, stimulating the whole brain all at once compared to formal academic activities. Take a look at some of the creative ways programming toys can be integrated into the five fields of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics in early childhood education:
1. Science: In the field of life and physical sciences, programming toys teach young kids to apply basic scientific skills while playing through the observation of structure, patterns, and behavior, and experimentation.
2. Technology: Programming toys that allow the practical application of scientific knowledge. For instance, coding robots that allow kids to put together a series of commands and instructions to guide the robot’s movements and actions in a fun way.
3. Engineering: Even preschool-aged children can use scientific principles to design and build things, and programming toys provide the best platforms for kids to create amazing things. They are the innovators coming up with inventive ways to develop the “personality” of the coding robot.
4. Arts: Kids can be artistic geniuses when they’re provided the best possible environment to thrive. Turn boring art classes into great experiences by introducing programming toys that deal with colors and art for the kids to play with. Kids can design their own look and feel, and tell a story through coding play.
5. Mathematics: Numerous programming toys on the market aim to teach arithmetic, computational, and logical skills and reasoning to kids. This will entirely boost their math proficiency as they move up the educational ladder.
Do not train children to learn by force and harshness, but direct them to it by what amuses their minds…” Early childhood educators are already stretched thin with routine academics and the thought of adding programming classes could feel like excess. However, coding toys are the smarter way to integrate programming into early childhood curricula so that learning can be fun, and children can grasp new concepts with ease.
KIBO, the learning robot designed specifically for kids, offers an inviting, engaging platform for young children to start their journey into creating with code in a fun and creative way. KIBO’s block-based coding language gives children control over the robot’s movements, sounds, and sensors, allowing them to express their imaginations with code. The KIBO curriculum for educators also teaches children to tell stories, create characters, and explore the world around them through code. KIBO is the number one choice in screen-free coding for kids – trusted by more parents and schools to introduce today’s youth to the wonders of technology and robotics.