Technology

Today’s Google Doodle Celebrates Kids Coding

It seems like everyone thinks kids should learn how to code these days, based on the number of toys aimed at helping kids learn how to do it. Today’s Google Doodle marks 50 years of kids coding. That’s right; children have been able to code for five decades!

kids coding
Image source: Google.com (screenshot)

Interactive Google Doodle celebrates kids coding

In case you’re wondering, the number of years of kids coding is based on how long it’s been since the first programming languages for children were introduced. The company said in a post that today’s Google Doodle is the first one created to mark the history of coding. Three teams created the Google Doodle, with the company’s Blockly team and MIT Scratch researchers helping the regular Doodle team.

As many of the company’s special Doodles are, today’s Doodle is interactive, and it gives children (and adults who want to try too!) a chance to try their hand at the high-tech craft. The Doodle is a game called Coding for Carrots, and it involves programming and guiding a furry friend through six levels as he collects his favorite food. To gather carrots, the character must snap coding blocks together. The game utilizes the Scratch programming language, which was designed for kids.

This week is also Computer Science Education Week, which also makes it the perfect time to look back on 50 years of kids coding. The first kids coding language was Logo, and it was introduced in the 1960s, decades before computers started landing on desks in people’s homes.

Celebrating Computer Science Ed Week and kids coding

The Coding for Carrots game in today’s Google Doodle captures the spirit of the Logo programming language, in that Logo taught kids coding by enabling to program a turtle’s movements. Researchers and experts at MIT developed both Logo and Scratch, which builds on Logo creators’ ideas about kids coding and using computers.

MIT’s Champika Fernando said in Google’s post about kids coding that Scratch is “designed to be less intimidating than typical programming languages, but just as powerful and expressive.” Her first experience with coding was while she was a child in the 1980s, and she said her “working-class parents questioned how coding would ever benefit their nine-year-old daughter.”

Fernando now works on MIT’s Scratch Team after doing a stint at Google. She explained that Scratch allows children to use coding blocks to create interactive stories, animations and games. There’s also a community online where they can share their creations with millions of other children around the globe.