Back in the day, kids got into coding because they wanted to be hackers, or because they had experienced computer programming through friends, family, or movies. Over time, kids became programmers because they were more freely available and people discovered just how powerful one could become if they could fully control a computer.
Cut to now, and programming is popular because of gaming culture. Mario Maker is a classic example of how even mainstream audiences can be sucked into the world of game development, and then along comes Minecraft and Roblox.
Coding for a game is fun. It is the all-time easiest and most raw benefit of coding for games. If your kids are interested in Minecraft, then getting them to code for it is like asking kids who love ice cream if they want to make it.
Perhaps your first step towards teaching kids how to code with Minecraft is to get them interested in Minecraft to start with.
Grab Yourself a Beginner’s Guide
Even if you are an experienced coder, you need to look up a guide on Minecraft coding for kids that offers the raw basics. This is partially for you, and partially a way of helping you introduce the subject to your child.
You have to be very gentle and back off if your child shows resistance. Most kids are not happy to sit around coding, and if your child resists, you need to back off and approach your child when he or she is in his or her teens (and ergo more willing to sit around all day at a computer).
As mentioned at the end of this article, your goal is not really to create a super-hacker-keyboard demon of a programmer. Your goal is to expose your child to programming in a fun and healthy way so that he or she grows up with a warm knowledge of certain skills.
Think of it like trying to teach your kid how to swim by doing it just a little bit at a time over a number of months.
Which Direction Do You Start With?
It all depends on the level of skill and enthusiasm that your child shows. Absolute beginners should always go through the “Hello World” process to show them what coding is really all about.
They need to see something, a result of their actions, and they need to see it happen quickly so that the idea of how coding works may take hold in their minds.
Starting with building an asset seems like the easiest way to get things going. Teaching your child how to change the color of their axe seems like an easy to way to introduce your child to the fun side of Minecraft programming. Modding is always fun and the results are pretty quick.
However, if you are looking to teach your child a good foundation in coding, then you will need to start with a step-by-step course on how to code.
A Step-By-Step Course?
This type of course is probably going to involve fundamentals. Perhaps programming a new item in the game or programming the movement behavior of a pig. Consider a step-by-step course in how to mod the game to perhaps re-skin a few things.
Why should you try a step-by-step course rather than you simply teaching the child how to code for Minecraft? A step-by-step has an end goal and a structured way to achieve the goal. Though you could easily do the same, it is less hassle to allow the step-by-step guide to do all the structuring for you.
Keeping it Interesting
One could strongly suggest that you only spend an hour or two per week teaching your child how to code. This sounds nutty, but children will quickly become bored with coding when faced with playing the game. They need quick results, and they need to be able to play the Minecraft game.
If they are spending 6 hours per week and only 1 hour per week coding for the game, then you need to consider that a win. When your child is older and has more self-control (and skills), you will see how that hour per week has flourished into a stronger understanding of programming in general.