10 Resources to Teach Your Kids to Code

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By Kasia Kovacs

Published on August 23, 2021

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Childhood is a great time to learn how to code. Coding can help kids develop problem-solving skills and encourages creativity and imagination. Plus, it's a good foundation for learning more computer science principles later on.

Of course, reading a 500-page textbook full of small black and white text and programming scripts probably isn't the most engaging way for kids to learn to code. Luckily, you can find many resources specifically designed to make coding lessons age-appropriate, easy-to-digest, and, most importantly, fun.

Why Teach Kids How to Code?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer science occupations are growing, and programming knowledge can equip kids with marketable skills for the field later on. Even without looking ahead 18 years, kids should learn to code for these fundamental reasons.

Coding Teaches Kids to Solve Problems

As a discipline, coding is full of challenges. Coding requires kids to look at problems from several angles and come up with possible solutions. Honing problem-solving skills at a young age can provide a strong foundation for confronting challenges in everyday life.

Coding Teaches Kids Resilience

When kids develop a fixed mindset, they want to give up when things go wrong. In coding, things go wrong frequently, which can help kids learn to deal with failures. They will learn how to come up with another solution and move on.

This persistence teaches kids that small failures don't have to stop your progress. Instead, they're opportunities to solve problems in creative ways and develop a growth mindset.

Programming Can Help Kids Develop Creativity

When it comes to coding, the sky's the limit. Kids can use their imagination to create projects. They become world-builders and creators, having fun with experimentation. Even though programming relies heavily on math and technology, it can also help kids strengthen their creative and artistic sides.

Coding Can Teach Entrepreneurship and Teamwork

Programming allows people to create their own websites, apps, and games. Coding apps like Hopscotch allow kids to pay each other with virtual coins to use each other's games. Many coding platforms also include collaborative tools, connecting kids with each other so they can build programs together.

Coding Is Fun

Programming can teach kids plenty of useful skills. Still, at their core, many coding apps for kids are simply fun, and there are few things more essential to childhood than having fun and letting your imagination run wild.

10 Resources to Teach Your Kids How to Code

Codeable Crafts

Codeable Crafts, a free app for Android devices and iPads, introduces coding to kids by appealing to their imagination. This app allows kids to experiment with programming through storytelling. Children can animate their own stories or add animations to story prompts using simple "coding blocks."

CodeCombat

CodeCombat takes a game-based approach to coding, offering courses for classrooms and kids who want to code on their own. Students learn coding languages like Python and JavaScript through a gaming platform, guided virtually by teachers. Kids can also connect with each other by joining a competitive AI coding league.

Learners can enroll in self-paced courses, a summer class, or private lessons. Most courses are one-on-one, although the summer class includes four students. The first lesson is free, but further lessons can cost anywhere from $99 per year to $399 per month.

Codeemoji

Codemoji offers a coding curriculum for students in grades 1-8. The program teaches HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and kids build their own websites and create animations within a designated virtual play area.

Students can enroll in courses at beginner, intermediate, and expert levels. Codemoji aims to make its programs both playful and challenging so that kids become neither bored nor discouraged.

Parents can enroll their children in either a $15 per month plan or a $55 per year plan. These packages both include lessons, projects, and live customer support.

Code.org

Code.org, a nonprofit organization, aims to expand access to coding education for students around the world. The group's Hour of Code campaign claims to have served over one million students. Plus, Code.org has integrated computer science classes in schools all over the U.S.

Code.org facilitates in-person classes in local schools and communities. The site also offers online computer science courses which kids can take from home. For introductory or quick-hit lessons, students can also access one-hour tutorials on topics like artificial intelligence and Minecraft.

Hopscotch

Designed for kids ages 10-16, Hopscotch is an app that teaches users how to build code by creating animated stories, games, and art. This coding app, which works on iPad or iPhones, also teaches kids about entrepreneurship. Game players can "pay" game creators with in-app currency seeds, which encourages users to get creative and build enticing programs.

Parents can choose between a $19.99 per month or a $59.99 per year plan. Users can test out the app through a seven-day free trial.

Scratch and ScratchJr

The apps Scratch and ScratchJr teach coding to kids through imagination and creativity. The apps were developed by the DevTech Research Group at Tufts University, MIT's Lifelong Kindergarten Group, and the Playful Invention Company. Scratch is directed at kids ages 8-16, while ScratchJr offers lessons for kids 5-7.

Kids can create their own interactive stories and work collaboratively with each other to exercise teamwork skills. App users can also access tutorials and an ideas page to help them create stories and games.

Students in over 150 countries can access these apps in more than 60 languages. Scratch is available for computer download, and kids can also play on their web browser. Scratch is free to use.

SpriteBox Coding

SpriteBox Coding teaches kids as young as four the basics of coding. The app teaches functions like sequencing, parameters, loops, procedures, and basic Swift and Java syntax. The app describes itself as an "adventure game" that instructs children through coding icons that eventually turn into textual commands.

Users can download the app for $4.99 through the Apple Store or Google Play.

Swift Playgrounds

This app focuses on Swift, a programming language for Apple apps. Swift Playgrounds allows users to guide a character through a 3D world by using real code. As players learn more advanced concepts, they make their way through increasingly difficult levels. Along the way, players master concepts like commands, loops, parameters, and variables.

Apple designed the programming language Swift and developed the Swift Playgrounds app. Users can download Swift Playgrounds for iPad or Mac.

Tynker

Tynker is an online creative coding platform that teaches computer science skills to kids ages 5-18. Lessons start with an introduction to computing through block-based coding challenges. As students learn more, these blocks turn into JavaScript and Python commands. The courses take an immersive, game-like approach to keep kids engaged.

Students can follow self-paced plans or participate in group classes or private lessons. Tynker costs $25 per month for self-paced courses, $60 per month for private classes, and $280 for eight weeks of group lessons.

Vidcode

Designed for teenagers, Vidcode offers courses like Intro to JavaScript, game development, HTML and CSS, and physical computing with Makey Makey. During these lessons, students learn how to create complex projects like games and simulations.

Thousands of schools incorporate Vidcode into their curriculum, but many teens also use the program at home. They can follow self-paced study with over 300 tutorials and create their own projects. Learners can pay $8.99 per month, $71.88 per year, or $135 for a lifetime membership.

Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching Coding to Kids

true What is a good age to start learning to code?

Many coding apps are aimed at children as young as five years old, when they can learn about coding through gamified techniques. That initial exposure probably won't make them experts in coding, but it can help them get started.

true What is the best programming language for a child to learn?

For young kids and children with no previous experience in coding, Scratch provides a great introduction. Scratch uses colorful command boxes instead of text-based coding, which makes it easier for kids to use. Students in a slightly older age range can also learn HTML/CSS, JavaScript, and Python.

true Are there free resources to teach kids coding?

Yes. Scratch and ScratchJr, popular tools to introduce kids to coding, are both available for free. The nonprofit organization Code.org also offers several free coding resources.

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