Painting, Play-Doh and bed-time reading, But Coding? For kids as young as that?

A lot of parents are learning that is possible for children to start learning to code as soon as possible (3-5 years old).

Why should children under 5 start to learn programming? Learning to program can expand young minds, increasing the logic and extensibility of their thinking for the better. Believe it or not, children can start to code as soon as they have some basic language skills.There are some huge benefits if they do, not least for potentially being the budding future software and games developers of the future but also to their of early arithmetic and problem-general solving skills.

World leaders and trend-setters agree with me.

“t can't just be a handful of kids… Everybody's got to learn to code early. Part of what you want to do is introduce this with the ABCs and the colors.”. Barack Obama, US president

To prepare humanity for the next 100 years, we need more of our children to learn computer programming skills, regardless of their future profession. Along with reading and writing, the ability to program is going to define what an educated person is.” Salman Khan, Founder of Khan Academy

CEOs such as Bill Gates and Zuckerberg have even funded and supported causes aimed at teaching kids to code.

Why do these businesspeople (and presidents!) promote the benefits of getting kids into programming? Undoubtedly, they’re aware of the changes that society is going through as well as the direction of societal development ahead of us.

The 21st century is bringing in a whole raft of new technologies such as artificial intelligence and the internet of things from which coding skills are inseparable.

In the next 20 years, the proportion of jobs that may be replaced by robots is up to 47% in the United States and 35% in the United Kingdom. [1]

You are probably wondering how, a child, who has barely mastered the basics of mathematics and foreign languages can even begin to explore a subject as complex as computer programming? Especially, if neither parents knows a single thing about coding. At that age, it is not necessarily about learning or working with actual code, there are a range of toys that can simplify and simulate the concepts of coding for brains of that age. We will be getting onto that later!

As well we are setting up your children to compete in a dynamical future, there are other a few other important benefits to consider that will get you thinking.

The Benefits That Children Experience When They Learn To Code

Builds logical thinking skills

Learning to write programs is all about dividing big problems into small ones.

Kids will need to think about how to reasonably arrange the steps that make a program work in the right order. These steps correspond to the various inputs and calculations required for a desired output and understanding how these components interlink will greatly benefit a child’s logical analysis ability.

Cultivate children’s patience and concentration

The rigor of programming determines that any small error will cause the program to fail to run normally. Therefore, in the process of compiling the program, it is necessary to constantly debug, trial and error, which has been proven to improve a child’s patience and concentration.

Cultivate a child’s “coder’s brain”

If learning a foreign language is about communicating with other cultures, learning to code is about communicating with machine.

So, you can say that coding is composed of a syntax and even a sort of grammar. In many ways a programming language requires a sort of ‘programmers’ brain’ to turn this sort of abstraction into concrete.

Builds confidence

Children can see the direct result of their coding in their coding toy. That might be a robot able to perform some small tasks that has all the family interested.

Result-driven, hands-on development boosts confidence in kids.

Spurs creativity

With the completion of each task, children will start to take their programming skills and build ever more complex things.

Their imaginations are the limit when transforming their ideas into reality through coding.

Should My Child Learn to Code Over Playing an Instrument or Painting?

You may ask, what's the difference between letting children learn to draw and play piano, which also stimulate creativity, and getting them into coding?

Firstly, neither have a monopoly, kids ought to be trying all sorts to gauge what they like. Coding is not a dance, or instrument, it is it's own domain. When you are teaching children to program, you are actually teaching children how to use an important tool that'll set them up with possibilities in the future.

Learning to Code Can be Fun for Children

Many young children are quite honestly reluctant to practice piano, dance or other hobbies at that age. But they love to muck about with all kinds of games on tablet computers or even home consoles.


I have talked with some parents about how to teach children programming and I’ve often found they’re concerned about the following two points:

  • There are relatively few training institutions that teach young kids programming, and the cost is often high.
  • We don’t know how to program, so it’s difficult to instruct children and measure whether they are learning well.

Fortunately, there are many products on the market that address both concerns and don’t cost a fortune.


[1] Frey, Carl & Osborne, Michael. (2013). The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerisation?. Oxford Martin. 114. 10.1016/j.techfore.2016.08.019.