We are in a digital era, we use digital applications directly or indirectly almost every hour. Every day we are seeing new innovations and technology never been more predominant than now.
We need to empower kids to learn programming from an early age, not just consuming digital products. There are many best coding apps for kids and web sites to introduce programming with fun-filled games to kids in the early years.
Table of Contents
- How to teach kids to code at home?
- What age should kids start coding?
- What are the best coding apps/sites for kids?
- What is the best way to teach kids programming?
- Following are the best coding apps/sites for kids
- Blockly Games
- Hopster Coding Safari for Kids
- Lego Boost
- Our Final Take
How to teach kids to code at home?
Teaching computer science is simpler these days, many apps and web sites providing coding interface to start learning from home.
ScratchJr and code.org, are some of the free best coding apps for kids providing block-based programming, to begin with.
What age should kids start coding?
Kids of all ages can start to learn to code. The coding fundamentals, such as sequencing, repetition, conditional statement, and loops, can be introduced to kids as young as 4 years old.
Many coding apps listed below have block coding, which is easy for young kids to start with before getting into text-based coding like Python, Java, etc.
What are the best coding apps/sites for kids?
- Hopster Coding Safari for Kids
What is the best way to teach kids programming?
Introduce programming fundamentals at the early age of the child. For a young child, coding need not be text-based programming, start with block-based programming.
There are many ways to do that. The best way is that start with simple Puzzles, Games and Minecraft, etc. Many mobile apps out there which offer this block-based coding.
Nowadays, kids are fond of mobile phones and iPad, instead of playing some cartoon videos, better to introduce with learning to code apps. It helps the kid’s brain development.
Following are the best coding apps/sites for kids
Recommended Ages: 5 to 7 years
Supported Devices: iPad and Android tablets
ScratchJr is a programming language specially designed for young kids. It’s easy to use the ScratchJr app helps kids to enhance their skills and make coding easy from an early age.
How does it work?
ScratchJr is a free app that can be downloaded from the AppStore or Google Play store. The app is designed in such a way that young kids can create their own stories and games with their imagination and give life to characters. The Graphical programming blocks help characters to move, jump and dance, etc., kids can include their voice and can playback. It’s fun right!!
Scratch Jr is equipped with sample activities to learn the various feature of the app, later kids can use these features in their own stories and games. It also offers curriculum, assessments with which we can track the child’s development in computer programming.
In the process of creating stories and games, children can attain the ability to develop sequencing skills that are the foundation for later academic success.
Recommended ages: 5 to 17 Years
Supported Devices: iPad & web
Price: $10 / month if you buy a yearly subscription ($120 / year)
Mobile Apps: Tynker is offering different mobile coding apps, below is the list.
Tynker Junior: Picture and block-coding for ages 5-7. Ten coding courses with voice instructions and creative activities.
Tynker: This app is offering sixteen exciting courses to learn how to build apps, games, and robots with code – a perfect way to learn block coding for ages 7-14.
Mod Creator: This app offers two self-paced courses that introduce modding with code, another great way to learn block coding for ages 7-14 years while creating Minecraft add-ons, skins, and mods.
Tynker has various learning activities and categorized into puzzles, Icon code, Block code, adventure games, robotics and Minecraft, etc. According to the child’s age, kids can choose activities and start learning to code.
Tynker also has a classroom version for schools, along with a personal family version.
For the classroom version, they came-up with coding curriculum, steam courses, automatic assessments, etc. to help educators.
Tynker is a subscription-based service, you need to buy a plan to unlock all the activities. You can start with their free plan, where they have provided a few sample learning activities
Age: 4 to 18 or grades k to 12
Available on: Web browser
Code.org is a non-profitable organization with the vision that every student in every school has the opportunity to learn computer science just like any other subject.
I found code.org is very well organized and the best platform for kids to learn to code. It is entirely free!! The main goal of code.org is to help children to learn computer science by trying the lessons at your own pace with drag and drop blocks in a fun way.
They have included computer science fundamentals express courses for pre-readers aged between 4 to 8, and older students from 9 to 18 years old grouped all the classes in age-appropriate.
Along with coding, children can also develop problem-solving skills and work through fun challenges! Kids can make games and creative projects to share with friends, family, and teachers.
If you don’t have time to learn full-length courses, they provide an option called the hour of code, you can try for a one-hour tutorial for all ages. Join millions of students and teachers across multiple countries.
Code.org also offers courses on artificial intelligence and robotics etc.
Ages: 4 to 10 Years
Supported Devices: iPhone & iPad
Price: $6.99/ month (Check Price Here)
Kodable is a programming app created for kids up to 5th grade, and it is user-friendly to teach. Like other apps, your kids can learn to code by drag and drop programming, can create characters, build level finally transition into real code.
Kodable introduces students to the foundations of computer programming through the step-by-step instruction games, if/then statements, and loops. What really sets Kodable Pro apart is the added resources, lessons, and guidance for parents helping their kids learn.
Kodable is also offering curriculum and tools needed to teach computer science for educators in the schools. It also provides lesson plans, concept tutorials, and monitor outcomes, etc.
Ages: 8 to 14 Years
Supported devices: iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
Price: $7.99/month (Check current pricing @ In-App Purchases)
How does it work?
Kids learn to create games, animations, and build anything on their imagination with the Hopscotch programming app.
Once they are done with coding, kids can publish their game to friends and family to play; that is the most exciting part to share with others.
Educators can teach kids to create their own versions of popular games like crossy road and subway surfers etc. Differentiated and aligned to the common core and next-generation science and engineering standards.
Hopscotch is providing lesson plans for coding in math, science, ELA, social studies for educators to help students.
SCRATCH JR TO HOPSCOTCH TRANSITION
Students who already known to code with ScratchJr can switch to hopscotch, which is more advanced codding. These have block-to-block comparisons and suggestions for building off concepts explored in ScratchJr.
Age: 8 – 16 Years
Supported Devices: You can download this app on windows 10+, macOS10.13+, Chrome OS, Android 6.0+
You can use the Scratch project editor, which supports most web browsers on most of the devices by going to scratch.mit.edu and clicking “Create.”
How does it work?
Scratch is a programming language where children can learn to code and can create interactive media such as stories, games, animations with their imagination. Kids can also share these creations with the online community of Scratch.
To get started with Scratch programming, an easy way is to animate your name, or create a holiday card, or make a pongo game. Also, there is a step by step guide available in Scratch with tutorials.
They have also provided more projects on the ideas page to help kids to create on their own.
For each activity, you can follow a tutorial, or download a set of coding cards or view with educator guide. Kids not only learn to code with Scratch but also learn essential strategies for problem-solving, designing, and to communicate ideas.
Ages:4 to 13 years
Supporting devices: iOS, Android, Kindle, and web browser.
How does it work?
Lightbot is a puzzle-based coding app, you can learn core programming logic as you play.
Lightbot Junior cultivates a real understanding of sequencing instructions, debugging problems, creating reusable procedures, and executing loops.
Lightbot is one of the challenging games for kids; while Lightbot starts with beginning levels, it’s the perfect app for students whizzing through other programs.
Ages: 4+ Years
Supports: Web Browser only
Blockly Games can be downloaded and can be played offline
How does it work?
For children who don’t have prior coding experience with computer programming, Blockly Games is one the best platform to introduce coding.
Blockly Games are designed with a series of educational games that teach programming in a fun and easy way.
By the end of these games, kids will gain the ability to use conventional text-based programming languages.
Supported Devices: iPhone and iPad.
Hopster Coding Safari app is designed for very young kids to introduce coding.
The app is designed with a fun animal theme to help kids learn the fundamentals of coding. Kids learn problem-solving, planning, and pre-coding fundamentals with this app.
The app is fun and engaging for kids, they learn while playing.
Age: 5 – 12 Years
Price: $79 (starting price for game kits)
Supported Devices: iPad, Amazon Fire Tablets
Experience with OSMO is unique, unlike other coding apps, Kids need to use physical blocks to construct. OSMO believes that children learn best from hands-on education. OSMO promotes learning through physical and digital integration.
To use OSMO, you need the following:
- iPad or Amazon Fire Tablet
- Osmo base and red reflector for your device
- OSMO Game kit
OSMO is offering many games out of which Genius Starter Kit is one of the popular kits for kids age between 6 to 10 years.
Kids learn Visual problem-solving skills, puzzles, math, freehand drawing, gain listening skills, learn physics, improve spelling, and vocabulary.
Supported Devices: iOS and Android
Lego Boost is an app that allows kids to build different Lego models and program them with code. Combine this app with the Lego Boost Creative Toolbox (17101) set to bring kids creations to life! App offers 60 fun activities with simple drag and drop coding.
With this particular toolbox, kids can construct 5 different models Guitar, the Cat, Robot, MTR 4, and auto builder. Kids can bring their creations into life with the app’s intuitive, icon-based coding interface and complete an array of exciting activities designed for each model.
Our Final Take
It’s a good idea to introduce coding to kids from an early age.
Introduce Block-based coding with puzzles and games if your child is new to coding.
It’s better to start with ScratchJr and Code.org. In my personal opinion, these resources are very well designed for younger kids