Code With Your Kids: Hour of Code 2014

Have you heard of Hour of Code? It’s a global movement taking place December 8-14, 2014 and it’s billed as the “largest learning event in history.”  It’s described as “a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics.”

Hour of Code is a FREE event and is something you can do on your own time, in the comfort of your home! The activities are self-guided and no experience is necessary– perfect for young children or adults with no coding expertise.

Code with your kidsAnna Program Anna

Haven’t coded before? No problem!  I had not coded before but when I got the beta version of “Code with Anna and Elsa” (i.e., “Frozen”) in November, I thought it would be a great activity to do with my 9-year old daughter. We sat down and worked through 20 activities or “puzzles.” We were asked to write programs that would allow Anna and Elsa to create snowflakes and patterns by ice skating.

The software experience was similar to Scratch; it was graphical and used a block-based learning method. If you click on “Show Code” in an activity, you will see that the programming language is JavaScript.

Click here to see our program in action!

Our Experience with Hour of Code

The exercise was challenging for my daughter and me but in a good way. I liked that it was easy to create a few lines of code and then run the program to see if the computer did what we wanted it to do. In many cases it didn’t, so we went back and made edits.

I thought the “trial and error” approach was a very good way to get introduced to coding and it allowed us to try things out, make mistakes, and then get it right.

I thought the “Frozen” theme was a perfect way to entice both girls and boys to try their hand at coding. And if you’re not into “Frozen”, there are many other programs, such as “Angry Birds”, to choose from in Code.org’s “Code Studio.”

Parents’ Challenge

Why not get your Hour of Code in and do it with your kids? It’s a great activity to do together– especially for children 10 and under. And it’s rewarding to know you’ve been part of an important movement.

About Code.org: The Hour of Code is organized by Code.org, a public 501c3 non-profit dedicated to expanding participation in computer science by making it available in more schools, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color.

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