Should kids learn game design?
Parents often worry about their kids sitting in front of computers all day. Limit screen time, pediatricians and experts tell us. Kids do need variety, including physical activity, every day. However, there are ways to ensure inside play is productive, too.
In other words, screen time isn’t always harmful.
Game design gives kids a sense of ownership. They’ve created something and are fully in charge of it. Game design helps kids understand the value of working together. A team is divided into roles and each participant plays a vital part.
Visual artists, programmers, coders, project managers and designers all contribute to the end result. Each one is valuable.
Children will need computer science skills throughout school, college and career. As kids, they can focus on the fun. Creating games teaches lessons that last a lifetime.
Which game design program is right for my child?
Many camps and afterschool programs offer game design programs. For parents who know little about coding, those choices can seem overwhelming.
KidzToPros has you covered with the latest game design and coding programs for children of all ages.
Here are the most popular programs for kids to learn game design – and where you can find them online or in person near you.
Who: 7-9 and 9-11 year-olds with little or no experience in coding or programming.
What: Unlike more advanced game design programs, Scratch doesn’t require kids to write out code. It’s not complicated. Beginning coders connect colorful coding blocks instead. This is an accessible and friendly approach to game design. And a lot more fun. Scratch’s online games and interactive stories involve many players who’ve become a community. Children socialize, learn, and play each other’s games through the Scratch platform.
Who: 7-11 year-olds who love playing different kinds of games.
What: Minecraft has built a stellar reputation helping kids learn how to edit existing games while playing them. Young users make physical changes to these interesting, imagined worlds. They do this to collect the many tools they’ll need to survive. Plenty of website and YouTube channels help provide Minecraft tips and tricks as kids go along.
Who: 7-11 year-olds who want to take imaginary games and make them real.
What: Roblox has a user-friendly website where users start out as players. When they’re ready, they can move on to design their own games. Kids can also explore other uploaded games to get ideas to create or improve what they’ve made. Roblox regularly updates the tools and game elements on their site. This guarantees that kids won’t get bored easily. The site is easily accessible whether using phone, tablet, or laptop.
Who: 10-14 year-olds who know the basics and want to learn real-world coding in a fun environment.
What: Unlike Scratch, Python isn’t made-up coding for kids. It’s a top-programming language in the working world for many different applications. Therefore, making games with Python is a great way for young users to learn something they may need later on.
Who: 14-18 year-olds who understand computer programming, variables, functions, conditions and classes.
What: Java is a popular programming language for web-based and mobile Android games. Kids will be psyched to learn that some of their favorite games and apps use Java. Learning Java gives users the chance to be creative with real world coding. They can create simple games, like tic-tac-toe, or more advanced projects.
Modding in Minecraft
Who: 10-14 and 14-18 year-olds with an understanding of Minecraft and Java.
What: Modding in Minecraft gives kids a way to hack the game, legally, and make their own rules. They “modify” (where “modding” comes from) Minecraft’s original code to create tools, objects, and special powers. With Java coding and imaginations, users create custom, unique mods – one of the best ways to learn computer science and it’s fun. They get to make the popular video game Minecraft their own.