• Leslie Crews

Teach Kids to Code. Start with Literacy.

Updated: Apr 29

As I sat on the floor with my brother, who will soon be someone's father, and niece, who is losing her baby look quicker than I'm mentally prepared to deal with, I can't believe we're doing this again. Four "kids", laying on the living-room floor with a million little pieces, a horribly written instruction book, and the grimace of determination. I watched as my brother, teach Fortnite addicted kids how to read through instructions and build, what would eventually be, a robot.

I remember watching my brother work on K'Nex projects for what would seem like days. Personally, I never had the patience for it. I use to play with Legos but I was more interested in crafts, books, and playing wedding. I share the story of how I, a broken hearted five-year old, healed from having my marriage proposal rejected in my post Married After 10 Years of Dating — Lessons Learned on the Journey to the Altar

When it came to Christmas presents, my parents were methodical. With multiple kids, they did their best to buy things that they knew we'd learn from and enjoy. My music loving brother got presents to nurture his love of music. I would get artsy gifts like books and bead sets, which I loved and turned into a brief elementary school hustle. It also attributed to a continued love of reading and literacy advocacy. My sister, the SIMS fan, would disappear into an imaginative digitized world of drama and chaos, and my brother, the more analytical inquisitive of the bunch, would get K'Nex.

As I'm growing and watching my siblings mature, alongside the young one's in our family, I'm starting to see the moments in our childhood that molded us into the adults we are today. As I watched my brother divide the laundry list of instruction steps between two little girls, I recognized the importance of creative toys. These toys help children to develop critical life skills (critical thinking, patience, reading comprehension, cooperation, compassion, and dedication).

These skills are needed for survival.

It's important to discover what children enjoy and nurture their desire to learn. Now, over 30, I can see the connection between my brothers childhood love for K'Nex and his responsible and determined nature. It's mind-blowing. I'm extremely proud of him.

Teach children to think critically. Make them read.

The iPad is the G.O.A.T. (Google it). To kids, it's near holiness. Life ends when the iPad is not functioning. I mean full on melt downs. Attitudes from sweet little kids that usually don't cause a little pain. *Don't judge. Be honest. Kids have the power to inflict an internal nagging pain in the soul. But we love them. Dearly.

After a brief break and with two little girls face deep into their mystical iPads, my brother somehow magically disengaged them from the devices to continue building the robot, without pre-teen attitudes. It was a sight to behold! I've refereed several iPad battles for our niece, so to watch her calmly ask to finish her match before building the robot, was miraculous. By doing this, my brother is teaching her the importance of commitment, the same way he learned it. When you begin a project, you must see in through to completion.

Technology is the future. Critical thinking is needed in Tech.