How Do You Teach Children Web Design?

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?

Don’t forget to share your tips and stories!

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Photo by Mary Tsao

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:

Condition

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.

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Photo by Joel

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.

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Photo by Tiffy

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.

For more info, you could visit:

Stoop Down

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.

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Photo by Adam Davis

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.

Equip

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.

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Photo by Mark Huber 

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
  • Hopscotch
  • Scratch
  • Stencyl

Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Union and Commissioner for the Digital Agenda visits Kenya

Photo by Neelie Kroes

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!

Conclusion

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!

Rudolph Musngi

Rudolph is a geek. He loves reading: books, blogs and even nutrition facts found at the back of products. He loves to read interesting internet stuff. Since joining 1stwebdesigner last year, Rudolph has written several articles that concerns Typography, Wordpress, Freelance Lifehacks, Graphic Design and Showcase of Beautiful Web Designs. He also write poems, movie reviews and he puts them in his blog together with rants and some daily life updates.

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Comments

  1. says

    It´s been an awesome reading, really had a great time. Also thanks for sharing this information, which is pretty valuable for the parents who wants their kids as a professional graphic designer’s in future.And i am sure that this post is enough to encourage the parents!!

  2. The Designer Wall - Ruben says

    This post was interesting because web designing is what I want to take when I was in college but my parents cant afford it. But it’s not too late I guess. I can still study it online.

  3. says

    Wow! That’s an interesting piece. My 12 year old daughter is interested in programming, but I think teaching her design will be easier and will allow her to understand programming more easily later.

  4. says

    Of course, there is an added advantage if children are exposed to web design at an early stage. But the catch is they need proper guidance and the right environment to do whatever they like to initially.

  5. says

    The Web has come such a long way from the days when I learned to code websites in the 90s – and I’m really excited for whats today’s generation and the next generation. I hope my son follows in my design footsteps. Nothing would make me happier.

  6. says

    Things have changed so much over the last 5 years. Now there are so many online courses to just plug into to learn the details. During my time, I had to devour books, only to realise what I’ve read (after reading it) is out of date ;P

  7. Samuel Rogers says

    I learned the web design basics when I was 10, now I am 13 and can use HTML, CSS and a bit of PHP. Education wise, we were introduced to web design at school with a Free site builder school… For inspiration I read awesome blogs like this and read excellent magazines such as .net…

    Sam.

  8. cbrcoder says

    Much better to teach them Programming instead, it will help them learn to solve real life problems not just IT related. Personally I think teaching them web design is a waste of time for them. By the time they will grow up, web may have transformed and the learning would go to waste. Much better to teach kids programming…

  9. says

    First thing to do is to make them get used with internet and let them know how the internet works.

    If the kid know the internet clearly, then it is not a pain to teach web design to them, and yeah take it slow!

    Sereyboth

  10. Saji John says

    It is a great idea to start teaching kids to design a website from an early age. If they have real talent for web designing, this will serve as the perfect stepping stone for a career in web designing.

  11. says

    Start from learning Basics and slowly and gradually move on like the way you explained. it is better to teach designing and development basics in schools.

    Thanks Rudolph for this useful post (y)

  12. 4dable says

    Great share, its great for the youth to get some inspiration and a goal to strive for. The best way to be taught is self taught. Cheers!

  13. Tom G. says

    This is something I wish would have been presented to me at a younger age. Web Design was only brushed upon in my Junior year in high school, and it had only made a small impact on me then. It wasn’t until after I graduated I really looked back at it and decided to make it my career.

  14. says

    Nice article. I have a grandson who is 5. I’ve tought him how to use a computer and he’s gotten to be pretty good with searching and finding sites in his age group for learning. I find that amazing, and have actually been thinking about teaching him about web development in the future. I really appreciate sharing the tools and games that can be used.

    Cheers,
    Earl

  15. Gabriel says

    I think let them browse some high quality sites. This will give them some ideas about the changing trends in the fields of web design.

  16. Kelly Johnson says

    There are many points not addressed in this concept. First is the definition of a toddler. Toddlers, at best, should only be using computers as a supplement to learning the foundations of life, education and social integration. I don’t think anyone under the age of 12 should be instructed in the nuts-and-bolts of building a website for the same reason one should not force a child into the parents religion, political beliefs or line of work. (although I totally agree with the idea of weeding out IE from the start!)

    There are some exceptions of course. My 7 and 5 year old know how to type in “lego” or whatever they can spell like ‘snakes’ or ‘pirates’ and the like into Google and then to click on the “images” link to see pictures. Of course my wife or I are right there to make sure they don’t see anything they shouldn’t, but the point is that USING a computer is totally different and more important for their future rather than learning how websites are made.

    As both a designer and a front-end dev, I’m amazed at how many people between the ages of 24-65 (a large gap) there are that still don’t really know how to utilize a computer for anything more than checking email, weather or if they’ve ventured out a little, a facebook page.

    Computers are here to stay until for whatever reason or in whatever way the Universe.. resets.. so getting kids comfortable with technology is probably a good thing but not at the expense of their own discovery of everything not on a screen.

    • says

      That’s why you should take it slow right? You don’t just teach them web design in day 1. There are steps: conditioning them is the first one. :) We’re not actually teaching them a lot of technical stuff. We’re stimulating the imagination! :)

  17. says

    Hey, Rudolph, nice thoughts about teaching children about web-design. But, getting them a taste of IE will help them in the future. And, with the introduction of IE 11, microsoft claims it’s 30% faster than competitors. What do you think ?

  18. az says

    I like this,”Show them the basic elements of a browser and which browsers is recommended.”
    Whatever you do do not introduce them to IE, bad bad browser :)
    Thanks for this great article