Guest post: Three skills kids can practice by coding

The Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer programming, designed to demystify code and show that anyone can learn. Hour of Code is a global movement in over 180 countries encouraging learners of all ages to engage in one hour of computer science activity. Each year, the Hour of Code takes place during Computer Science Education Week (#CSEdWeek), which falls on Dec. 3-9 in 2018. Participating in an Hour of Coding can introduce students to important real-world skills in the digital age while building upon their soft skills as well. NCFL enlisted 10-year-old book activist and Wonderopolis Lead Ambassador Olivia Van Ledtje (aka “LivBit”) to participate in the Hour of Code and share “bits” of advice for families and educators who are curious about coding. 

Have you ever thought about how powerful coding experiences are for kids?

This week, my New Jersey buddy, Louie DaCosta and I collaborated on an Hour of Code. One of the most fun things about being techie kids is having virtual playdates where we can find super fun ways to deepen our thinking about creating and coding.

Louie and I tried the Minecraft activity on the Hour of Code website, and we came up with three “bits” of advice for kids, teachers, and parents who are curious about coding with kids. So, what kind of mindset do you need to get your coding experience started?

Practice Perseverance:

Learning to code is all about Perseverance! As we played together, Louie and I talked our way through the different levels, and we both felt super happy when our hard work paid off and we advanced to a new challenge. Sometimes, however, we needed to encourage each other through the hard parts or even give hints to each other about how to code a certain level. Perseverance is KEY to being a good coder! 

Think Creatively:

Sometimes levels require very little coding, and if you overthink a certain challenge, you can end up frustrated. The best thing Louie and I did together was talk our way through some of the levels by asking each other lots and lots of questions. So, if you hit a coding wall, think creatively and work around it! Being a Creative thinker is KEY to being a strong coder!

Collaboration Power:

Louie and I worked quickly through many levels in the aquatic challenge because we worked together. Hour of Code encourages something called paired programming. This is actually what happens with grownups in real world tech situations; they help each other think through a problem and work to solve it together! This is exactly what Louie and I did when we got stuck on a level, and it is definitely something that made our work stronger! When you realize the power of Collaboration, you can develop even more coding tricks!

Coding is like solving a really big puzzle! Some people like to start from the outside and work their way in, and some people like to find groups of pieces that go together. In the end, both ways work to create the entire puzzle picture, and Hour of Code helps you practice your coding potential.

Thank you to our friends at Wonderopolis for encouraging Louie and me to take on this challenge together! We can’t wait to conquer more coding missions, especially the Minecraft ones! Hint, hint! We need MORE Hour of Code Minecraft missions!

Keep reading! Keep thinking! And keep watching LivBits for more ideas about your world!


Olivia (aka LivBit) is a 10-year old who is a passionate advocate for books and using social media to promote student voice and audience.  She loves to tweet out messages that help kids love authors, books, and big ideas about life. Olivia’s work on LivBits has been featured all over the world, including conferences in Singapore and England.  She is so excited to be speaking at events, as a voice for kids and social media and looks forward to more opportunities working with authors and organizations who share her drive to promote digital citizenship for kids. She has presented at the Families Learning Conference, Twitter San Francisco, the Digital Citizenship Summit, and other conferences. Learn more about Olivia at



Interested in introducing your students or family to coding? Google’s CS First has developed a fun, interactive activity that can be completed in 15 minutes to an hour. Anyone can teach it and no computer science background is required. CS First is designed for ages 9-14. The activity is available in both English and Spanish, and uses Scratch 3.0, a new and improved version of the Scratch tool. Click here to review Google’s digital lesson plans and other materials for teachers. And click here to get started with the activity!