Love for studying, like wisdom, comes with age. Ironically, the majority of us miss a precious opportunity to learn something new at the most favorable time. The younger we are, the easier we acquire new skills. Children have more neurons than adults, so they create connections more effectively.
If you are familiar with Montessori’s theories and system of education or Masaru Ibuka’s “Kindergarten is Too Late”, then you know about and probably follow their teachings. However, this is not the case for the majority people out there. To make matters worse, we, as children, do not have a proper motivation to seize this opportunity. Just recall to yourself: School was all about socializing, growing up as a personality, doing incredible stuff with your BFF – but not certainly burying your nose in books and sharpening your skills all day long. So, as a rule, the window of opportunity is already closed. However, the good news is that it is left ajar. Though it won’t be flung open again, still it will be enough to squeeze in and reach your goals.
When it comes to acquiring new skills in old age, we have one huge advantage and it is a strong motivation. This driving force overcomes all the obstacles in its path. It is one of those things that help to open this window. Another thing that assists in this matter is a way of learning. If this is a boring and monotonous course, then it won’t do much good for you, to say nothing of killing all the motivation that you’ve got. It is widely believed, especially by scientists, that a playful environment is extremely good for learning something new. First and foremost, it is in our nature: We learn through play since birth. So this native way to develop new skills, even such challenging and demanding like coding, can be quite beneficial.
Holding on this thought, we have found some fantastic applications, platforms and just personal projects that use a playful environment to teach coding. Although they won’t make you a computer genius, they will certainly give you a solid start.
Originally this application was targeted at children. But when it comes to getting a grasp of coding basics, we all feel like such a child. It is a casual game with tasks to solve. The fantasy world is alluring and inspiring.
Unlike the previous example, Mimo is an iOS application for adults. Its learning process is centered around the idea of teaching coding skills in chunks. So, the user has an opportunity to work with the platform even on busy weekdays. It covers various programming languages from the HTML and CSS to C++ and C#.
Hopscotch, like Code Combat, was originally created for children. However, for all those non-tech-savvy people who want to train for a new profession, this can provide a start. It unveils the basics of coding pleasantly and unobtrusively – giving you an opportunity to actually build something.
Swift is a programming language for building applications for Apple devices. So predictably, Swift Playground is available only for iOS. Begin with solving simple puzzles and then proceed to the complex riddles and challenges in order to master the skills.
Coding Planets is an application for developing logical thinking in people of all ages. It is populated with interesting brain teasers so you won’t feel bored. Just give instructions to a robot in order to solve puzzles and move forward.
Enki is a bot for increasing your programming skills. It enables users to take part in daily workouts that will build your knowledgebase gradually. You can also invite your friends or colleagues to participate. It is available for both Android and iOS devices.
Unlike the previously mentioned resources, Code Analogies does not offer any game experience. Instead, it tries to explain basics using analogies from the real world. The team uses pictures, illustrations, diagrams, and of course, engaging tutorials to clarify coding challenges.
Coming with 24 levels, this tiny and funny game explains the basics of Flexbox in practice. Each task is focused on a specific property so that you can grasp the idea behind the new layout mode more effectively. It is a small personal project – yet it is really helpful. If you enjoy this type of game, also check out CSS Diner, Erase All Kittens and Grid Garden as they teach HTML and CSS in a playful way.
The window of opportunity tends to reopen, but it does not mean that you should put it off for too long. I know that it is better late than never. However, with so many unobtrusive, portable and most importantly playful ways of learning new things, the time has come to make your dream come true right here, right now. Coding is not rocket science. It is a poetry that with time, experience and repetition becomes better. Use these small projects with an inviting and enjoyable environment to pick up coding skills and build a solid foundation.
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