Game Dev for Kids

Teaching Game Development to Kids

Why do people love games? The ridiculously simple answer to this question is: games are fun! Philosophically, games are a form of exploring your freedom outside your regular life reality. All games involve a series of choices among a set of players. Almost all of us have played games like Rock, Paper, Scissors, and Chess, and other games. Kids love games and therefore they become curious to learn about – how did this beautiful game come into existence, and hence they become curious about game design and development.

Learning coding through game development

The curiosity to learn game development usually comes from playing certain games in the past. Once students start the journey of learning coding and game development, they slowly understand and appreciate that building games must start from basics and from smaller games, and that playing games and designing and developing games are both very different viewpoints. It would actually take more than a couple of years of game development to go out and develop advanced games. But everything starts with smaller steps and a process.

Simply speaking, to develop a game, you take an idea or a concept for a game and you design, program, model, render, record, test and produce a full-fledged game. For kids, learning game development should start with basics first such as block-based games.

Start block-based games

To set the foundation for game development, a child should start with creating games using block-based coding. In block-based coding, a child need not worry about the syntax of the language but will focus only on the logic part of coding. A child just needs to drag and drop code-blocks and hence he/she will build the fundamental logical thinking to solve problems using code and will also build algorithmic thinking.

Platforms using block based coding for games

  • Scratch
  • Code.org
  • Thunkable
  • MIT Inventor

The first step is to make games that the child grew up playing like Mario game, Shooting games, Dinosaur game, Snakes & Ladders, and others. This will make the kids relate to the world they’ve already experienced and will also have a lot of curiosity and excitement on how to build a game that they’ve already played before.

Scratch Game Development

Then, children are introduced to text-based coding games created through JavaScript and Python. As the child has created games based out of block-based coding, they have the necessary fundamentals to graduate to games using text-based programming languages.  Children are introduced to the ‘p5 editor’ in JavaScript, a widely used library to create advanced games. Children will start to correlate between the block-based coding and the actual text based coding that they start to use here in making these games.

game development for kids

Then, kids will graduate step by step to learn 3D game development using C++, Unreal Engine, Python applications, Roblox and Minecraft. Simultaneously, kids will take a step forward and understand the complexities in creating advanced games. Children will be introduced to many Physics concepts such as gravity, collisions, transformations, rendering, image processing, etc. This knowledge enables a child to make complex games and to also learn concepts that a child would learn in their future mathematics and physics courses that they could then relate to in an effective and practical manner.

minecraft coding for kids

Hope this is useful, thank you.

Learn more about what is coding for kids, how to inspire kids to learn programming, and about coding competitions for kids.

Learn more about UnicMinds Game Coding Competition for Kids