January 18, 2021

3 Cognitive Skills that Can be Improved When Kids Learn to Code

3 Cognitive Skills that Can be Improved When Kids Learn to Code

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Our brains are like a cookbook. They contain recipes for making all sorts of things. Learning to code is like learning a new recipe. Kids learn how to break it down step by step.

Cognitive skills are brain-based skills we need to carry out any task from the simplest to the most complex. They help us learn, problem solve, remember and sustain our attention.

It’s important for children to have balanced cognitive skills because if one is weak it can affect their overall development. You want your child to have strong cognitive skills and coding can help strengthen them.

Here’s three cognitive skills that can be improved when kids learn to code at their own pace with Hatch Coding’s interest-led virtual education portal.

Sustained Attention: Coding Projects Tailored to their Interests

Sustained Attention is the cognitive ability to look at, listen to and think about tasks over a period of time. Without attention, new learning cannot happen. Kids are more motivated to learn a new skill - like coding - when it aligns with their interests.

Hatch Coding has over 600 projects and themes for kids to choose from and do at their own pace. Whether they’re interested in Minecraft, Among Us, Harry Potter or Art and Design, there are projects that will align with their interests and keep their attention.

Our step-by-step program incentivizes students to set goals and gain points by completing projects and challenges. We also host coding competitions where they can showcase their skills to the Hatch Coding community, get their project published to our portal and win cool prizes.

Take this beginner project, Hold A Ball for example:

Students start small with five lines of code and type what they see. The challenges that accompany this project ask them to make changes to the colour of the ball and background. This allows students to make the project their own by altering the design of it. All of our projects are designed this way, so students can turn their ideas into code and have creative control over their work.

As students move through code projects, the challenges serve to add complexity and further learning to each project. Kids quickly discover if they commit to learning more coding concepts, they can soon build their own games and animations.

Try our beginner project: Hold A Ball.

Improves Working Memory: Learning Coding Concepts Step-by-Step

Working Memory is the cognitive ability to remember information or instructions in the mind long enough to perform tasks. Like when you look at a passcode and remember it long enough to enter it into the site requiring it.

Coding requires kids to learn new concepts and to build upon these concepts as they go. Fixing bugs or errors in their code is one of the ways that students strengthen their working memory.

For example, when students are first introduced to using functions, it can be easy to forget that the code for it needs to be between two curly brackets and closed out with a semicolon. Their code won’t render if they miss these steps. Usually after fixing an error like this a few times they remember this step moving forward. And bit by bit their working memory continues to be strengthened.

Hatch Coding was created by educators and programmers with the student in mind. If students are having trouble debugging their code, they can ask for help at any time through their student dashboard and a coach will respond. They are also encouraged to search for their own answers by referring to our Reference Guide. If your child learns best with additional support, we have private virtual coaching sessions available. See our plans for more details.

Girl focused at her computer learning to code

Visual Processing: Coding Requires Kids to Process Information Quickly

Visual processing is the cognitive ability to understand where images and objects are in space and the context in which they exist. This skill is especially important when learning a new language because it requires pattern recognition and fast eye movement.

When kids learn to read and write code, like learning a new language, they first need to learn the letters and symbols that make the language function. As students learn the basic concepts of coding and its syntax - like variables, functions and conditionals - they can then order the concepts appropriately and visualize what they want their project to look like after completion. As they become more familiar with the coding syntax they are able to process the visual information more quickly. And this practice improves their visual processing skills.

Check out our student success stories to learn more about how kids are following their interests and strengthening their abilities with Hatch Coding.

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