Breaking down coding problems with kids

Posted on May 24, 2021

When you embark on a journey to learn about coding with kids, young learners, and other beginners, it’s super important to understand how creative and collaborative programmers approach their goals. Ultimately, coding is all about problem-solving, and thinking like a programmer means breaking down big problems into smaller, easier-to-solve problems. Breaking down problems into smaller pieces makes our lives as coders easier and (usually) improves the quality and efficiency of our code.

Let’s break down breaking it down. Woah.

Break it down logic

Breaking down programming problems means setting a goal (the finished product you hope to create) and reverse-engineering your success. Sounds kind of wacky but break it down logic is something we all practice in our day-to-day lives.

Here’s an example. Let’s say your best friend comes over, and you decide to order pizza. Your bestie offers to pick it up (win!), but they don’t know where the local pizza restaurant is. So, you give them step-by-step directions.

??Listen to the whole Coding Songs album here!??

You just used break it down logic. The goal or big challenge is to pick up the pizza. You broke down that challenge into smaller steps — turn left at the end of the road, take your third right, go through two sets of traffic lights, and pull in at the giant pizza sign.

The steps of baking a cake broken down

We use break it down logic all the time in real life.

That’s just one real-life example of breaking big problems down into smaller parts. In our breaking down coding video for kids, we use baking a cake as an example. If you tell someone who has never baked anything before to whip up a double-choc cake with strawberry frosting, well, the chances of success are pretty slim. But if you break it down into a recipe, they can bake the cake one step at a time.

Think big, code small

In coding, solving smaller problems is often a wise idea. We’ve said it before — computers can’t think for themselves. And that means they need specific directions. When kids start coding, they’ll soon discover that even when you break down problems into smaller pieces, those smaller pieces can be broken down again, and again, and depending on the complexity of the challenge, again.

Breaking down problems into smaller ones

Think of all the smaller challenges and solve those to reveal the big picture.

Coding is kind of like doing a puzzle. You start by joining a few pieces together to create a small section. Then, you join several small sections together to create larger sections. Eventually, those larger sections are connected, revealing the big picture.

Watch our break it down song for kids

Teach kids to think like coders with our fun Camp Coding Camp series. Watch the break it down song now!

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