Valley kids learning to code without using a computer

Feb 19, 2020, 4:35 AM | Updated: Feb 22, 2020, 3:05 pm
(KTAR News Photo/Taylor Kinnerup)...
(KTAR News Photo/Taylor Kinnerup)
(KTAR News Photo/Taylor Kinnerup)

PHOENIX — Parents walk a fine line between preparing their kids for a tech-filled world and running the risk of over-exposing them to screens to soon.

One Phoenix Public Library program is helping parents walk that technology tight rope.

Little Bytes is for children ages 4 to 7 to learn the basics of computer programming without using a computer.

“We incorporate vocabulary, skill practice and a fun sort of game to kind of drive those concepts home,” Laura Castillo, the children’s librarian at Phoenix’s Burton Barr Central Library, said.

The hour-long program invites parents and children to think critically and learn the general concepts of coding in a hands-on way.

Castillo said once the kids go over basic vocabulary they put the skills to work in practical ways.

“We work on concepts like what’s left and what’s right,” she began. “How sequencing works, so we’ll ask them something like ‘How do you brush your teeth,’ ‘What steps do you have to do?’ Castillo explained.

However, the class isn’t completely devoid of technology.

“It’s called a codapillar,” she said with smile. “So it looks very similar to an actual caterpillar but there are bits and pieces that the children put together and then put the actual code into it so that it will go in certain ways across the floor.”

Castillo said she can see children gaining not just practical skills but life skills.

“One of the main things about coding is perseverance,” she said. “Things don’t always go the right way, you have to go back, tweak things a little bit and so they’re definitely learning how to persevere and problem solve as well.”

The class is part of a larger program called CodePHX which teaches people of all age how to code. Little Bytes can graduate to Big Bytes and 3D Modeling for Beginners, which takes advantage of the library’s printers. Plus, there is an all ages class called Hacker Haven.

Little Bytes is offered at the Burton Barr Central Library on Fridays from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday’s at the Cholla branch from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

For more on the program, click here.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Sunrise Park Resort screenshot)...

Sunrise Park Resort to open for 2021-22 winter season next week

Sunrise Park Resort announced Sunday it plans to open the 2021-22 winter season on Dec. 10, a week later than the projected date.
9 hours ago
(File photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)...

Arizona ranked as one of the least charitable states, per WalletHub

It's the season of giving but a personal finance website ranked Arizona as one of the least charitable states in the country.
9 hours ago
(City of Chandler Photo)...

Tumbleweed Tree lighting, Parade of Lights to take place this weekend in Chandler

An East Valley holiday tradition is back in-person this year as event organizers prepare for the 65th annual Tumbleweed Tree lighting and the Parade of Lights on Saturday.
9 hours ago
(Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)...
Associated Press

Flagstaff pauses construction of USGS facilities over rising costs

The city of Flagstaff is hitting pause on the construction of new buildings in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey because of soaring costs.
9 hours ago
Americans are expected to spend an average of $886 on gifts this holiday season. Spending in Arizon...

It’s beginning to look a lot like a post-COVID Christmas for vendors

In the second holiday season of the pandemic era, goods may cost more, but Americans have more money to spend – and they appear to be eager to spend it.
9 hours ago
(Facebook photo/City of Phoenix, AZ USA)...

Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from Nov. 26-28

Phoenix on Sunday having its first sub-50 degree low since March is among the biggest Arizona stories of the weekend.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Sanderson Ford

Sanderson Ford offers cars and deals for all this holiday season

Sanderson Ford’s No! Vember Black Friday sale is giving an opportunity to purchase a new 2021 vehicle just in time for the holiday season.

How your family can explore the Musical Instrument Museum

Whether you want to spend a day with family, do crafts with kids at home, or have an adult night out, the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix has options. As the world’s only global musical instrument museum, MIM offers interactive and immersive exhibits to foster an appreciation of different cultures and their instruments. “A visit […]
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Why fall maintenance is important for your heating system and A/C

It’s easy to ignore your heater and air conditioner when they’re working but the moment something breaks, you will likely regret not keeping up with maintenance. After all, if something goes wrong, you may be stuck with a repair that will take longer and be more expensive than simple maintenance.
Valley kids learning to code without using a computer