Love this question from a parent looking to help kids learn code. The key is the use of the word PROJECT. We use project-based learning as an underlying principle to teaching kids code.
When I was learning to code, I found that building projects that interested me was the key step that helped me crystallise everything that I’ve learned. In retrospect it also gave me the desire to breakthrough the problems, persist and fix my own mistakes. It is the logical problem solving that is as important as learning the syntax!
OUR RULES FOR GAME MAKING FOR KIDS
1. Pick a topic that interests them – games of all sorts interest students. If they are motivated by the project, they will be better faced to take on the roadblocks faced along the way.
2. Manage expectations – Practice, Practice, Practice. The process of making a game is as important as the final product. Repetition and reflection help the learning stick and forms a strong foundation for future learning.
3. Don’t aim too big – Don’t curb the enthusiasm but be realistic. They are not going to make Minecraft, FIFA or SuperMario Bros any time soon. Pick small games, think flappy bird, geometry dash, colour switch and other cool but simple games that you can play on your smart phone.
4. Repeat – Make a game and then throw it away, make a game throw it away. Lots of little projects where you do not get hung up on any imperfections maintains a fresh enthusiasm and cements in the planning and problem solving mentality without it becoming too frustrating or menial.
If they try to build a huge freeform project too early it can be very difficult and confidence can take a knock. After you’ve built a few games do share with us as a little bit of feedback can help with the motivation and feeling of success and progression.