Coding And Creativity

When Kids Learn How To Code, They Are Also Developing Their Creativity

by Andrea Dabal and Michelle Preddice // April - May - June 2019

The process of learning to code encourages one of the most important skills we can teach our kids – creativity. When we were kids, it felt like the sky was the limit with imagination and play. We would ask our parents a lot of questions, elaborate on our stories, and paint beautiful works of art. As we aged, our capacity for creative thinking diminished – in fact, researcher George Land concluded that somewhere along the way, we unlearned how to be creative. The good news is we can learn it again!

Creativity can be developed in various ways – however, the top four that stand out are:
– Being a curious learner;
– Having an experimenter’s mindset;
– Using whole brain thinking;
– Having a passion for being a creator, not just a consumer.

Computer programming teaches kids to experiment. If we encourage children to explore their ideas, make mistakes, and learn from them, we are allowing them to be creative. With coding, kids are exposed to the process of experimentation. They start out by learning a handful of commands to make a computer do simple tasks, and with each successful result, they gain the confidence to try something new and take the next step. Once they have the confidence, they test their assumptions, which allows them to work towards a solution. When the solution works, more confidence is gained and they can progress to more complex problems. All of this builds out the coders’ skills and has them using their entire brain. When we put our entire brain to work, we are using both the right and left sides to solve a problem, and by leveraging art with science, we become creative thinkers and problem solvers.

The key is to get kids started with coding as early as kindergarten, before they lose interest in science, technology, math, and engineering (STEM subjects). Research shows that middle school is when many girls traditionally drop out of STEM fields – they’ve not even been exposed to it at that young age in many cases, and that’s when we need to start, according to Hadi Partovi, co-founder of Microsoft Corporate Vice President and Halo Game Developer Bonnie Ross states that research that’s been done at Microsoft indicates that 91 percent of girls identify with being creative. But when they’re asked about computer science, they don’t see the field as creative. According to Ross, “We do need to connect the dots because it is incredibly creative – it’s just that we’re not doing a good job of showing them what they can do with it.”

Children pick up on technology with ease, so giving them a basic knowledge of programming with a fun, easy-to use platform is one of the best ways to get them practicing and enjoying the process. When a child learns how to code via a platform that is engaging, it puts them on the path to fluency in the language and logic of computer programming. It even gives them a springboard to create their very own games and apps they love to play. Using creativity and experimentation through technology is brain time, not screen time. It is believed that coding is today’s language of creativity and children should become creators – instead of consumers – of technology.

Andrea Dabal and Michelle Preddice

The owners of Code Ninjas. Contact them for more information about how coding can help your child or to get your child started on his or her coding path.