If you are looking for a 8-year-old to encourage your child to be a coder or engineer, then you have a tough road ahead of you. There are hundreds of articles offering suggestions, but they almost always suggest an expensive toy or piece of kit that is cheaply built and often unsupported within six months. What’s more, your eight to ten-year-old is far from finding his or her feet in the coding world. Picking a language or even a type of coding is like a musical kid trying to pick which instrument to play. This article tries to keep things as fair as possible to hopefully inspire a few gift ideas.
A Fresh and Renewed Secondhand Computer
You can pick up something that came out two years ago for a fraction of what today’s computers cost. The trick to teaching a young child how to code is to give them a freshly formatted computer with a clean version of both the desired operating systems and the programming tools required.
As your child learns how to code, he or she is going to pick up some bad advice, often in the form of coding solutions, and your child will mess up your computer because of it. It is better to give them a cheap (but powerful enough) computer so it doesn’t matter if they are tricked by a YouTube video into deleting their key directories.
If you have a slightly older kid who has a love for their computer, then you can buy them things like a gamer’s mouse and a light-up mechanical keyboard. By lavishing a bit of love on their hardware, it elevates how they feel, and their internal status, when they are on their computers. Doing this is a good thing because programmers spend a lot of time on their computers.
A Child-Friendly Coding Course
Be very careful which coding courses you choose. If your kids are asking to buy them, then be wary there too. Scammers like to target kids who want to learn. They cannot wait to get their third-party software onto your kid’s computer, so they can steal the email addresses of all their family and friends.
There is a Code Monkey section on gifts where they offer different courses for different age groups. The course does talk down to kids a little, as it assumes that most eight year old as dumber than they are. Nevertheless, the CodeMonkey games are pretty well set up to help kids learn. It is like Elon Musk said, you don’t need to motivate kids to play computer games, so simply teach them math, English and science through computer games. Use gaming to teach your kids how to code.
Fisher Price’s Code-A-Pillar
In almost every circumstance, try to stay clear of coding toys and such. As mentioned in the introduction, they are often poorly made, poorly devised and over-priced, and the manufacturers abandon them after six months, so getting them to work correctly is a nightmare.
However, if you are dealing with a very famous brand name and a company you are sure will be around tomorrow, then you can take the risk. Perhaps one of the most cleverly invented coding toys for children is the Code-A-Pillar by Fisher-Price. You add sections to its back, and it obeys the commands on its back. It obeys its commands in the order you place the sections. There is also the slightly more advanced one called the Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar Twist. The toys are well made, and they offer a real-world example of what programming instructions can do. It really helps to introduce your kids to the foundation principles of coding.