With the Hour of Code movement coming up, Australia’s Code Camp is looking to get kids making games and introduce them to development in the space of an hour.
Much like how learning a foreign language is beneficial for kids, so too is learning to code. It’s like a foreign language because it is a foreign language — a digital one — but it’s also about the mindset and methodology needed to plan and solve problems, and then build the digital solutions for them.
As schools embrace learning to code alongside the apps, games, and robots that help kickstart the process, there are also programs running across the country and the world developed to help provide resources to parents looking to get kids learning to code.
One of those programs is Hour of Code, a one hour introduction to programming and computer science that happens during International Computer Science Education Week, which this year takes place from December 9 to 15. The idea with Hour of Code sees kids learning aspects of programming and coding through the course of an hour, any hour, during Computer Science Education Week. With so much going on in the course of a regular week, taking an hour out could guide them into a skill that shapes them course of their life and eventual career.
To help with that, one of Australia’s coding education sources Code Camp has built an activity for Hour of Code that helps kids make their own game and learn elements of coding in the space of an hour. Kids will be essentially be building one of two games, be it a slime blob making its way through a level or one where a hero has to face bad guys and survive for as long as possible.
While the game isn’t a complicated one, Code Camp’s exercise isn’t about making the next Fortnite, but rather an introduction to building the elements of a game and for understand the process that goes into development. It’s a beginning that can hopefully lead to other things, such as an interest in extending the development, possibly into using other tools, such as Apple’s Swift Playgrounds for iPad or Sphero’s robots.
“Coding is the universal language of the future and is an important skill kids are going to need to know, but many parents are confused or unaware of the benefits, especially as we’re battling with the debate that ‘all-screen-time-is-bad’,” said Hayley Markham, Co-founder of Code Camp.
“We made the decision to provide Code Camp’s Hour of Code activity free because we don’t want this to be a barrier for children to experience coding and the satisfaction of building their very own game,” she said. “Learning to code is empowering, and this quick activity will get your kids designing, coding and playing their very own game.”
The one hour game development intro is free, and will likely be one of several activities on offer from educational and programming outlets when Computer Science Education Week kicks off from December 9. However if you don’t want to wait, you’ll find the hour long lesson available if you throw your email address in at the Code Camp website.