Hopscotch—it’s a staple game, right next to four square and tetherball, on the playground. It’s a simple and fun kids’ activity, hopping into and over squares.
But what if, for fun, your child could hop into something other than chalk-drawn squares? Say, something with a little more substance, like computer science. With a free iPad app called Hopscotch: Coding for kids, a visual programming language, instead of hopping in squares on the pavement, kids can drag and drop blocks of code into scripts on the tablet. Your kids won’t just be playing a game—they’ll be creating one.
The Hopscotch founders believe anybody can code, “even—and especially—kids.” Designed for ages 8 and up, the app provides users with instructions and the opportunity to program animations. It starts with adding an object, or a character, which users can make a routine or an action, like a somersaulting dinosaur, with pieces of code. Once satisfied with the script, the coder can press play and see the program run, and as they advance as a coder, so can their programs. That gibberish-looking code composition that so many of us believe is standard doesn’t exist on this app; it’s intuitive with built-in commands, meant to make kids fall in love with the fundamentals of coding.
Computer jobs are skyrocketing, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupations in computer and information technology are projected to grow by 22 percent, which will add more than 750,000 jobs by 2020.
Coding is an art, a growing literacy—and an essential tool for going forward in life.