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Remember when coding was something you might have learned about in high school or college? That was only IF you were actually getting into some kind of career that involved building a website or running things on the Internet?

Oh how the world has changed.

Today coding is an important part of any profession, from doctors or lawyers to anthropologists. Basically, according to Peter Kuperman, who is the founder and CEO of  Hatch Canada — a program that teaches kids how to code — anyone “who wants to get a job in the next 50 years” should be interested in how coding works.

And here we were just worried about teaching kids how to change their secure passwords every few months.

Thankfully, there are plenty of tools and games available out there that can help eager parents give their kids a little extra head start in the coding world, before they even get to school. While Kuperman doesn’t recommend students attend his school until they’re nine or 10 years old, he has some suggestions (as seen in the video above) about how to teach the fundamentals as early as four years old.

Robot Turtles Board Game – Ages 4+ – $29.99

Forget chutes and ladders — Robot Turtles is where it’s at. Although it doesn’t teach computer skills outright, players get to move their robot turtles through “code cards:” forward, left and right. It’s a great way to get them used to the basics without making it seem like actual learning.

Move the Turtle App – Ages 5+ – $5.49

Um yeah — of course there’s an app for that. This award-winning app also hones in on the basics of programming and coding, all while using a cute little turtle. Something about turtles and code must just work.

Dash & Dot – Ages 5+, but recommended 7+ – $249.99

What kid doesn’t want to be able to control their own robot? Through marking different colours on a page, kids can learn how to tell the Ozobot to turn, speed up or slow down. Sure it’s not actual coding, but again this works on the basics so that they understand the general concepts a little better later on in life.

Sphero SPRK – Recommended Ages 8-12 – $149.99

Of course as your kids get older they’re going to want to control a robot with something other than markers. Something like a tablet or a phone, perhaps? Even though this is recommended for ages eight-12, we think most adults will get a kick out of this one, too.

mBots – Ages 12+ – $99.99

This cute little bot actually looks similar to a circuit board, which is bringing your older kids one step closer to actual coding. It uses bluetooth to help learn the STEM basics (that would be science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Not bad for a 12-year-old to get a grasp on early, right?

Makey Makey – All Ages – $63.29

Um, who hasn’t wanted to turn bananas into a keyboard or Play Dough into a keyboard? We’re happy that this kit is listed as something for all ages, because we may just invest in one for ourselves.

 

Want more coding tips? Be sure to check out the video, above.