For those kids who you know have the imagination and creativity (and an entrepreneurial spirit) but just need an outlet, Roblox is a great option to explore.
Depending on age, it might be tough to find engaging home activities for kids worthy of their prolonged attention. It's mainly due to the fact that it's hard for kids to see past your home as only what they’ve traditionally come to know it as...a roof over their heads; a safe place. Somewhere to eat; somewhere to relax and veg out.
Younger kids are a bit easier in this regard, right?
I mean, I just had a full-on imaginative experience with my 3-year-old where we weren’t home, but at an airport. During our experience, I could say no wrong as I pointed out the ticketing counter that used to be our kitchen island, the long terminal that used to be our hallway, and the luggage compartment that used to be a closet.
But older kids and teens? They know a bit better.
But while it might be more difficult for them to imagine simply by walking around the house, they’re in pretty good position to put their imaginations to use through other means, like with the help of the computer or mobile device.
Which brings us to coding (and Lua) with Roblox.
Roblox coding for kids
Would your young one enjoy learning how to make their own "obby," or say a fully-customizable obstacle course game where they can also utilize coding to program their own objects, and then upload that creation online for others to play? Oh, AND with the opportunity to monetize their game and earn Robux (in-game currency), if they wanted? (This is one of a few ways kids can make money.)
Well, that’s Roblox. An online game platform that allows players to explore worlds created by other players as well as create their own.
It's also a great pathway to coding for kids—so here are some basics kids should familiarize themselves with in order to take their first steps.
The Roblox Lua scripting language
For a quick coding definition, it is how people put together instructions for computers to execute/follow. Just like people speak different languages, programs do as well, thus requiring different inputs to create different outputs.
Roblox game scripts contain pieces of code used inside Roblox. They can be as simple as a single line of code, or as long as your favorite book.
Like most parents, you've probably never tried to read code written by somebody else, right? Well, it can take a little time to figure out what’s happening—even for experienced coders. To prevent kids from forgetting what different parts of their code do, they can and should leave notes, or comments, in their code, starting every script with a brief description of what the script should do.
A Variable is like a box—when coding, your kids can use it to store code for later use.
Coding if/then statements
Conditional statements are lines of code that evaluate to true or false, and one type of conditional statement is an if/then Statement, which checks to see if a condition is true.
If the condition is true, then the program will run a specific set of instructions. It's similar to cause and effect.
- If you spin around, then you will get dizzy.
- If you feed the kitty, then it will purr.
- If you score ten points, then you win the game.
What are some examples of Roblox coding?
For kids to begin thinking about the differences in outcomes between designing and coding their games, here are a few examples of a few things they can accomplish.
Changing brick color with code
When designing, kids will learn how to edit properties, such as the size and scale of certain parts while inside the editor. But they can also edit properties inside a script as well!
For example, they can use code to change the BrickColor property of a part within their game. They’ll need to do things like give the program directions on how to get to the part of which they want to change the color—just like they would give friends directions on how to get to your house for the first time. From there, they’ll have to learn how to replace a string variable in the BrickColor property, and more.
Changing brick color “forever”
Another example of how coding can take things to the next level is the fact that a brick doesn’t have to just remain one solid color of red or blue! With the help of variables as mentioned above, and loops, parts can more resemble a unicorn if anything, with colors that continually change forever.
Think about how this same concept can be applied throughout the game, like in an intricate maze of flashing colors!
Creating trap parts
Trap parts harm or destroy anything that touch them, and so they can be used in Obbys and other game types to create new challenges for players to avoid.
For kids wanting to put this in use, their trap can be implemented with the OnTouch function, which triggers whenever anything touches the part. They can also code to test if the thing that touched the part is human, and if so, can eliminate that human once the part is touched!
Advanced scripting concepts include teleportation so players can skip certain in-game obstacles, or across to different worlds entirely.
Read More: Roblox dictionary of terms
What do you need to start coding with Roblox?
To get started with Roblox, all kids need to do is create an account and install Roblox Studio—which is an immersive game engine that allows students to create and publish their creations, and is accessible from any device. Once inside, kids can work from baseplates - which are basic starting templates available for project-building - to create their games.
How do you share your Roblox games?
One of the coolest and primary entertainment factors with Roblox is the ability for kids to share their creations with others.
With just a few clicks, kids can easily open their worlds for others to join, and simply involves:
- Publishing a “new place”
- Waiting for it to upload
- Confirming the upload
- Setting to “public” so others can join
How kids can start coding with Roblox
If your kid or teen needs a more structured approach, there are a number of Roblox coding classes and lessons available right now!
From Virtual Tech Camps to online after-school programs (weeklong sessions with small groups of other students), and even online private tutoring (60-minute, one-on-one learning sessions), young creators can learn everything from game design, coding, and monetization with Roblox.