6 Lessons Coding Teaches Kids About Problem Solving
April 25, 2022
3 min read
In the 21st century, coding is becoming an invaluable skill. While knowing how to code opens doors to several great career prospects, it also plays an important role in a child's personal growth. Coding develops paramount skills – such as problem solving and critical thinking – that can help children deal with various situations in life. We all run into problems – no matter how big or small – at every stage in our lives. Teaching kids how to approach and manage problems at a young age will benefit them indefinitely. Here are six lessons kids learn about problem solving while coding:
An hour of planning can save you 10 hours of doing. Be it programming or dealing with real-world problems, it's always a good idea to take the time to thoroughly plan the next steps towards reaching your goal. While learning how to code, kids learn how to foresee problems that may occur in the code and brainstorm smart solutions to tackle them. This way, problems do not seem as overwhelming and daunting as they would when they have to encounter them. Planning also trains children to be calm in difficult situations.
Imagine having to solve an underwater-themed 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. 1000 pieces can seem quite challenging. Where do you start? You can start by sorting the pieces into different categories – the pieces for the corals, the different kinds of fish, and the ship, all grouped separately. You then start piecing together each of these groups to make complete pictures of the corals and the ship. You finally piece all of these together to create your whole puzzle. Breaking down the puzzle into smaller puzzles helped you solve it easily and efficiently. This is called decomposition. Decomposition is when we break a problem down into smaller parts to make it easier to tackle. Problems that can seem intimidating and complex can be understood better and managed effectively when broken down and decoded step by step.
While piecing together our jigsaw puzzle, we compare, from time to time, what we've pieced together to the actual picture of the puzzle to check whether we are on the right track. Similarly, while coding, it's important to check the code frequently and see whether it is working out as planned. This is called iterative testing-testing the code after every few steps to identify mistakes earlier in the process as opposed to realizing these mistakes after spending hours working on the entire project. Iterative testing enhances critical thinking skills, as children develop a pattern of recognizing mistakes and errors and learn to avoid them in the future. Using iterative testing in life allows us to keep our goals in check, ensuring our actions are serving a purpose.
To err is human. If and when we fail, it's essential that we identify exactly what went wrong. Identifying mistakes is a crucial part of rectifying them. In coding, debugging is the process of finding out the ‘bugs’ or errors in the code. Identifying faults in codes and rectifying them is a lesson in direct problem solving for kids. Why exactly is the code failing to execute? Once they learn how to debug codes, they start learning how to recognize mistakes in the real world and fix them as soon as possible.
When kids debug a code, they understand ways to improve the quality and the efficiency of the code. Code optimization encourages them to think hard and outside the box as they try to develop newer, enhanced strategies to improve the code. Coming up with out-of-the-box solutions to real world problems boosts creativity and enables them to work problems out smartly.
It's not always possible to execute a code on the first go. Children have to attempt writing and rewriting the same code several times, finding and fixing errors till the code finally works the way it is supposed to. They must try and try till they succeed. Coding teaches kids that it's okay to make mistakes. What’s important is getting one step closer to the goal with every step of the process.
Perhaps one of the most significant lessons children learn through coding is that the process is more important than the destination. When kids focus on the journey, they learn to enjoy the highs and lows along the way and don't let end results dictate their whole experience.
Problem solving is a skill all of us acquire as we navigate life, but training kids to be problem solvers builds confidence and encourages them to look at challenges from a fresh perspective. Learning how to code prepares your kids for the future - personally as well as professionally.