It's all over the news. Young children, not even in their teens or barely there, have stepped up and left their mark in the app development sphere. Coding has become a highly sought-after skill and a part of many childhood education programs.
That there are kids out there who have successfully learned to and developed apps should tell you that even your very own can do the same. With some guidance and the right resources, your child may very well be on their way to developing their first app.
Selecting The Right Approach
How to go about teaching kids app development will depend on two main factors, namely, what and how much the kids know and the kind of app they want to create. It's expected that a child with some programming skills can do more than one with zero experience and understanding of the same.
Teaching Kids With Little Or No Programming Skills
You can always start by introducing your kids to programming first before you get started on learning app development. If they are interested and quick studies, then it shouldn't take too long for you to move on teaching them how to create apps.
On the other hand, your child may not be interested in learning programming, but they may still want to create an app. There are different app creation tools or app builders designed just for that. Also known as app maker, an app creation tool is an easy-to-use software created to help non-programmers create apps.
You need to keep in mind that using these app builders will not give the kids as much control over the created app as they'd have if they developed the app from scratch. The design and features are fairly limited with this option. Here’s a list of a few of these app makers that are just right for your child with little to no programming knowledge
- Appypie app-builder: This no-code app creator lets anyone build mobile apps, that is both, iPhone and Android apps, in three easy steps.
- MIT app inventor is another code-free app maker suited for both kids and adults. There are easy-to-follow steps to help your child build the app they want.
- Game Salad is the tool that will help make a game app developer out of your game player child. Game apps are a favorite for many kids, and this app builder is a great tool for kids of all ages.
- Gamemaker Studio 2: Equipped with great functionality, the Gamemaker Studio 2 provides the ultimate development environment to transform your game idea or concept into reality.
- iBuildApp: Your child can choose from 1000+ design templates, to create mobile apps for free.
Teaching Kids With Programming Skills
Several third-party platforms are an excellent pick for kids with some programming skills looking to create apps. Again, your kids will not have as much control as they would if they created the apps from scratch.
With these third-party platforms, the kids will write code in the programming languages they already know. The code is then deployed and adapted for running on Android and iOS. Top picks among these third-party frameworks include the following
- Unity 3d: Users on this platform can create 3D games that can be converted for both Android and Ios. This feature-rich framework is great for kids with strong programming skills.
Making Apps From Scratch
Creating mobile apps, even for seasoned programmers, is no easy task. That being said, your child may be up to the task, and you will be pleasantly surprised to find that your kid is capable of developing a high-functionality and feature-rich app from scratch.
Your child will need to have a good grasp and understanding of object-oriented programming. A mac, Linux, or Windows computer will do. Your kid will also need to learn the Cocoa framework, which is the development environment specific to Apple. Download Apple's Software Development Kit, XCode.
Tutorials And Other Resources
Whatever approach you choose best suits your child's programming knowledge and the type of app they want to create, there are so many resources and learning materials that can help. On the app builder sites and the third-party platforms, you will find insightful tutorials. You can also find the same on YouTube and other online resources.
Know What To Teach
You can only be a good teacher to your kids if you have a firm grasp of the subject. If you are a veteran transitioning to civilian life, then learn to code with GI benefits. You can learn how to write code and create apps, and pass on this knowledge to the kids.