Kids love to play with computers, smartphones, tablets, and other devices. However, they sometimes may not have built an interest into understanding how these devices were programmed to work. This is where intentionality comes in. Tech is taking over the world and getting your kids ready for the future it is imperative that they have tech skills.
The problem of building an interest in tech for their kids is one that some parents face. That interest cannot be built by allowing them play with your smartphone or tablet always. Infact, there is such a thing as too much tech and there are ways to limit tech time appropriately.
There are many ways to get kids interested in tech beyond playing games and scrolling through social media platforms. Here are some practical examples;
1. Enrol them in a Code Club Program
Many schools and organisations have come to understand the need for kids to have basic tech skills and as such, are offering Coding lessons in Code Clubs situated in their schools or training centres. These Code Clubs use curriculums that are structured according to age groups and the lessons are progressive from basic tech skills using easy software like Scratch, learning programming languages like Python, HTML, Java, building up to web and app development with Robotics.
This is the reason our training arm, Asetech Academy started the Asetech Kodeklub which is a learning program incorporated into Primary and Secondary schools with the aim of teaching kids and teens basic coding skills. Our curriculum is structured for kids and teens of all ages, for them to learn how to code, build apps and websites, including robotics. Around the globe, nations are understanding and embracing the need for kids and teens to have tech skills. The UK has a Code Club program built for 9–13-year-olds to learn how to code and build their own tech products.
There are also separate Summer Code Camps kids can take advantage of, like the Asetech Easter Kodeklub program which runs for the month of April and the Summer KodeKlub which runs in the month of August in our training facility. One month or three weeks of concentrated tech classed will vastly improve and build up their interest, showing them the possibilities that are available with tech.
Aside from physical clubs, there are several online classes kids can take to start developing their tech skills, like Khan Academy which is a free educational website for K-12 students, offering lessons on STEAM-related subjects.
By registering kids for Code Clubs, you are sparking up their interest and allowing their minds take shape as future thinkers and problem solvers of tomorrow, as well as giving them an edge in whatever career they choose to undertake in the future.
2. Take them to tech events
Tech events sparks imagination, creativity, and interest. Take your kids to tech events in and around your city. There are many types of tech events, some of which are hackathons and pitch events. Some training academies and organisations set up hackathons and other hands-on tech events which primarily highlights the projects tech talents have built, and teaches newbies some interesting new and easy skill which usually gets them hooked on tech. Being surrounded by likeminded people, some of whom are older and have built amazing tech products or have a successful tech career can be the spark that will ignite kids’ drive for tech.
While some of these events may not be free, it should be considered as an investment into the future of the kids. You can find tech events near your location by joining tech communities and using websites like eventbrite.com.
3. Get them tech toys, books, and developer boards
Tech toys, boards, and books are a great and inexpensive way to spark kids’ interest in tech. There are toys like the Base Station toy with which kids can build their own interplanetary headquarters and learn the basics of electrical circuit. There are other toys like the Artie 3000 which is a robot that codes. There are many toys like minicomputers, aircraft and trucks, etc that are easily affordable on shopping websites like Konga and Jumia and kid-focused tech books like Chicken Clicking by Jeanne Willis which teaches internet safety to kids, and Crafty Science by Jane Bull which teaches kids how to make science projects from common materials found around the home. There are so many more books that can spark an interest in tech and are suitable for kids of different age ranges.
4. Build tech projects with them
Whether you are a techie or not, you can spark their interest by joining them to do tech projects at home. It is even more fun for kids when parents assist or spearhead tech projects at home. It encourages and shows approval.
There are diverse simple projects for non-techies, that is people with minimal or zero tech skills. Hackster.io has several videos that will show you how to build some tech projects with inexpensive, everyday materials.
6. Coding Apps on phones and tablets
Many times, parents give their kids their phones, tablets, and laptops to stop them from crying, to keep them busy, and for many other reasons. Instead of allowing them play games or watch hours of cartoon on the phone, tablet, or laptop, you can download apps like Swift Playgrounds LEGO Mindstorms app (Apple and Android) and Bee Bot (iPad), which are both free. Kids and teens can learn to edit the web using Mozilla Thimble in a web browser.
Sparking the interest of kids and teens for tech knowledge can be done and is simple in some instances. Put into practise any or all the steps outlined below and watch your children break into the tech world with vigour. Who knows, your child may build the next revolutionary product.