For web designers, starting out young is very vital and advantageous. You get to learn without any prior knowledge or biases. We could easily compare teaching web design to a kid to writing on a blank sheet of paper. You can write without being distracted by previous doodles and scribbles. You can easily understand what you are writing because the paper is very clean; it has all the space in the world for your convenience. Hence, like writing in a blank sheet of paper, teaching a kid to design websites could be a very satisfying experience. At one point, for our web designers out there, this is a perfect bonding opportunity with your son, daughter, younger brother or your toddler neighbor. You’ll be able to hit two birds with one stone. You can work while teaching your kid a new cool hobby.
How do you exactly teach children web design?
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The idea of kids designing and coding seems to perplex a lot of people. Some might be puzzled if they can really design and code fabulous websites with all the complicated tools and languages out there. Well, the thing is, this hobby will not go beyond the reach of a toddler’s mind. It will just prepare them for the big thing. It’s like teaching how to ride a bike using support wheels. Nevertheless, this is a good start.
Like any other teaching endeavor, this activity will need necessary preparations. So, here they are:
The first thing you need to do in teaching your kid how to design webpages is to condition their minds to the work. Expose them to computers, webpages, and the workplace. You need to make them aware where they are and what is supposed to be done whenever they are at that place. Try to show some graphic designs that you created yourself. Let the child ask about anything, no matter how complicated it may seem. Remember, exposure leads to experience and experience leads to excellence. Just let them be there, and observe. Children are naturally curious and soon enough, they’ll find answers. Next thing you’ll know, your child will immerse himself/herself with the work.
You could start conditioning their minds by letting them design what they want. Say, they are very interested with robots, then start by creating a robot related mock-up. Tell the child about how every element of the design looks and functions like a part of a robot.
Take them to the workplace. I’m sure when they frequently visit the place, they will soon become curious about what you do. Eventually, you will see them peeking at your monitor and then sitting beside your lap and starting asking questions.
You could also talk to them about web design a lot. Talking breeds admiration and soon breeds inspiration. If they could see that you are having fun with the job, they will give it a try.
Take it Slow
Taking it slow does not only apply in romantic relationships. It also is accepted in teaching kids. As a web design teacher, I am sure you will be pretty much hasty to see your student perform web miracles. But that’s not going to happen. Learning is a process. Start with the basics. Teach them the elements of web design, then the tools, then codes and so on. Just let them digest everything. Remember, you’re talking with a toddler, not a programming god.
People who have messed with this stage suffered grave setbacks. They rushed into teaching advance stuff to kids and the kids ended up disinterested. Remember that the attention span of a child is very narrow, so might as well sustain it slowly than go fast and crash.
Remember the basics of web design. Wireframing, designing the layout, coding the HTML, CSS, PHP and Java scripts, and then content creation.
Let’s admit it, HTML, CSS and other programming languages could be crazy at first glance. In fact, you might be able to see codes as blabbers if you will not look on it. And that’s what you need to consider when teaching a kid to design websites. You need to make things simple for him. Stoop down to his level and make him understand. You need not to sound smart with them, you just need to sound believable. Remember, what kids do not understand, they won’t do.
Use simple words. Try to analogize the terms into something that they will find interest in. Example, you may analogize an img src tag to an aim targeted by a bowman. Relate to their likes, interests, movies watched, TV shows and a lot more. Remember, sounding smart to a kid is still sounding dumb to them. Be at their playful curious and mischievous age.
It seems implausible that someone will learn web design if he doesn’t have any computer. In fact, that would be comic that a web designer learn more from books than with sitting in front of the computer for hours.
Like any other hobby, web designing requires tools. Your children will need the same. As starting web designers, you have to equip them with the necessary gadgets or platforms where they can start learning. Buy a computer. Install some basic programming games. Make it fun for so that when the time comes for the kid to roll, the job will be more fun.
Here are some tools and games you could use:
- Hackasaurus – (it’s a Firebug tool for kids. This allows them to make changes to their websites instantly. This will help them realistically see the result of the deletion, alteration or addition of a single code)
- Move the Turtle
Here are some tips:
- Show them the basic elements of a browser and which browsers is recommended.
- Explain what links, texts, images and other elements are. Be sure to differentiate each to them.
- Explain what does HTML and CSS do.
- Orient them with the basic language of the two platforms (HTML and CSS).
- Orient them with various editors like GIMP, Paint, Photoshop (this is very advanced) and others. Let them start out their thinking caps young!
Web designing is a pretty cool hobby. In fact, it’s a hobby where you could earn some money. Now with you, teaching your kid on how to design websites, you are thereby exposing them to the kind of work they might want to do someday. It gives them the edge above others since he is very familiar with the profession. Thus, you are not only securing a job as a designer, but you also establishing the bond with your child and preparing him for a possible career. And besides, you’ve got nothing to lose with your kids. Everything is a gain.
Don’t forget to share your stories!