Four ideas to support young coders’ creativity at home

While the UK and other countries are facing school closures and other restrictions, we wanted to share some thoughts and inspiration to help your Code Club, school, and family code from home.

Two young girls with long dark hair sat at the kitchen table, working together on a laptop

What support is available? 

If you can move your Code Club sessions online, we have lots of support and guidance to help you on our Ways to run your club page. You can also join us at one of our online workshops, where you can share your experiences and learn best practices with the Code Club community.

If you can’t take your club sessions online at the moment, but would still like to offer fun and educational coding opportunities to your club members, here are four tried-and-tested ideas that are a hit with young learners! 

1. Pick a project to share with your club members

Find a project that is relevant to a topic that they have worked on at school, or that you know will spark an interest.

Here are some ideas:

Brain game — write a game to test your times tables

Focus on the prize — code a Scratch game in which concentration is key

Save the shark — create a game about saving sharks from ocean pollution 

You can access lots of other projects for free on the projects site.

A gif with a blue background with animated sharks, nemo fish and rubbish ( bin bags, plastic bottles and crips packets) falling from the top

2. Encourage your club members to design a game or app

You don’t need to be writing code to use your coding brain! Challenge young learners to become designers and develop their own game or app ideas. Learners can think of their own ideas, or you can set a design brief, like “create something to help the environment”.

Your club members can even develop their ideas for Coolest Projects 2021, an exciting online showcase of games, apps, and other tech projects made by young people all around the world!

We recommend using the Coolest Projects ideas workbook to encourage creative ideas. You can extend this design activity by inviting learners to create a storyboard or ‘pitch’ about their idea.

3. Send your club’s code to space with Astro Pi Mission Zero

What could be more ‘out of this world’ than writing code to run in space

In Astro Pi Mission Zero, young coders write a few lines of Python code to send a message to the astronauts on board the International Space Station. No special equipment is required — just a sense of adventure and a computer with an internet connection!

Find out who can take part, and check out the step-by-step instructions.

4. Take a look at our videos 

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has a YouTube channel filled with free, fun, and educational code-along videos.

Each week, Raspberry Pi educators and special guests invite young coders to take part in the Digital Making at Home live stream, to work through different coding projects. 

And there is support available for parents too! We have a range of support tutorials — from an intro to the Scratch programming language, to a guide to fixing errors in Scratch code — to help parents support young coders at home.

A scrolling gif showcasing all of the YouTube videos available on the Raspberry Pi Foundation YouTube page

Let the Code Club team know which ideas capture your imagination on Twitter at Code Club UK or Code Club World and use the hashtag #MyCodeClub.

Learn online with Code Club and CoderDojo!

Over the past nine months, Code Club and CoderDojo have teamed up to run a series of community calls. In this blog Kat shares some of her favourite sessions, and gives a sneak peak of our new series of online workshops.

In March 2020, we took to the internet in search of a way to support coding clubs who wanted to continue running. Our solution was a series of community calls to share tips and ideas, offer practical examples, and give you the opportunity to ask your questions! 

Twenty one calls, 720 attendees, and lots of fruitful discussions later, here are some of the sessions we loved the most.

Taking your first steps 

In the ‘Ways to restart your Code Club’ session we covered the online, remote, and in-person options for your club, to help you decide which might be the best fit for you.

Rohima shared her perspective as a club volunteer, and talked through how she prepared to run both in-person and online sessions. 

Running online

As Code Clubs around the world went online, we delved into the challenges and also unexpected benefits of running online sessions. 

Our ‘Tools and software for running an online club’ is a great watch for anyone who is starting to plan online sessions. Check it out to discover the pros and cons of some popular video conferencing and live streaming tools. 

A gif showing Kat and Nuala next to a powerpoint slide

In the ‘Best practice for online sessions’ call you can find important safeguarding information, ideas on how to prepare for your session, and useful tips from a club leader. 

A screen grab with Kat, Christina, and Nuala next to a slide sharing online safety and safeguarding

Build your skills 

Over the summer we ran three training sessions on Scratch, HTML, and Python. I particularly loved the Scratch session, which had lots of tips to help you take your Scratch learning further in your club. 

You can find all the recordings of our previous calls on our GoToStage channel.

Join our NEW 2021 series of online workshops

There are three upcoming online workshops, so make sure to register if you’d like to join us. We’ll be discussing: 

Can’t make those times? Don’t worry! Everyone who registers will be sent a recording, so you can always catch up later. 

Got an idea for a future online workshop that you’d like to see? Let us know on support@codeclub.org. You can sign up for all our upcoming online sessions and events over on the Code Club website

Amazing #MyCodeClub moments from 2020

We asked educators, volunteers, young coders, and the Code Club team across the world to share their #MyCodeClub moments from 2020, to mark the incredible work that has taken place during this unprecedented year. 

Loving their coding lesson

St Patrick’s Primary School based in Troon, Scotland shared their #MyCodeClub moment on Twitter:

Fifty children coding in one session

Vasu, Club Programme Coordinator in India, remembers a highlight from the year:

Coding from home 

Liz, a parent of a Code Club member, shared her gratitude towards volunteers who moved their sessions online in 2020:

“A highlight for me was sitting at home with my son and coding along to the Code Club videos created by Wirral Libraries volunteers and Code Club members. Living 40 miles away from the library, it’s not a club we could have attended without the move online. We’re so grateful they took the time to create the YouTube videos.” 

Empowering #RealRoleModels 

Ali, who coordinates Coding for Kids in Iraq, shared a recent #MyCodeClub moment with us on Twitter

The sheer joy! 

Matt from RGS The Grange in Worcester shared his #MyCodeClub moment:

“One moment is restarting our club and welcoming all of our fabulous students back at the start of this academic year! The energy in the room was like nothing I’ve ever experienced — just the sheer joy of collaborative projects, risk-taking, and so much fun!

Life is too short — live for the moment! Immerse your students and watch them grow!”

Hearing your great coding ideas

We spoke to Kat Leadbetter, Code Club Global Programme Coordinator, and asked her to share a personal highlight from 2020: 

“A highlight for me was connecting to the community through co-hosting a series of community calls. We’ve run sessions on a variety of topics, from best practice for online sessions to developing your skills in Scratch. We were able to share amazing examples from clubs and volunteers around the world, support you with your questions, and hear your great coding ideas!

Seeing my friend at Code Club!

We asked young coder Ed to share his best coding moment from 2020:  

Missing the great moments

Like many of us, Yakub in India is missing the great coding moments from the start of 2020. We hope your club will be able to meet again safely soon! 

Share your Code Club moments from 2020 with us on Twitter at Code Club UK or Code Club World and use the hashtag #MyCodeClub.