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Coding for Kids: 10 Best Tools to Get Started

For many students all around the globe, coding is more than just a trend, it’s a way of life. From elementary school classrooms to summer camps, coding has been a popular topic in recent years and it’s no wonder so many parents are searching for the best programs out there for their kids. Coding is a great way for children to learn basic computer skills, challenge themselves, and unleash their creativity in a productive and exciting way.

If your children want to learn coding, you might be wondering where to start. To learn coding, your kids don’t need any special equipment. For most of the coding programs out there, all they need is a cell phone, ipad, computer, or similar device.

There are so many tools out there but if you don’t know where to start, we’re here to point you in the right direction. Here’s a list of the top 10 coding tools for kids:

10 Best Coding Tools for Kids

1. Root Coding

Root Coding is a great starting place for kids who want to learn to program. Not only are there activities and challenges throughout the app, but there are also step-to-step tutorials to guide your child through the learning process. Although there is an annual subscription available for additional content, there are plenty of tutorials and activities available to test out if you’re not ready to purchase the subscription.

2. Kodable

Kodable is an educational app that is available for download on iOS devices. This tool uses outer-space based games to teach kids in K-5th grade about programming. It’s similar to other programming apps but what makes Kodable standout is the curriculum that’s included for teachers. The curriculum and tutorials available make it a great resource for teachers or parents who are learning alongside their kids.

3. Scratch Jr.

Scratch Jr. is another great app for beginning programmers and is designed specifically for kids between the ages of five and seven. The interface is very kid-friendly and the purpose of this coding app is for the user to bring the scenes in the app to life. The features in the app are simple to use, but children may get the most use out of it if you’re able to guide through it. Once they get a feel for how it works, they’ll be creating their own scenes in no time.

4. Tynker

Tynker is a coding app designed for the iPad that is great for younger children who are interested in programming. Most of the learning in the app is strictly visual, which makes it great for beginners and for children who haven’t learned to read yet. There are over 2,000 activities available in Tynker, and the app is designed to grow with the child as they continue to learn and develop new programming skills. There is also another version of the app called Tynker Jr. that is designed for kids ages five to seven.

5. Hopscotch

Hopscotch is another learning program designed for the iPad and is great for kids ages ten and up. This app has a little less structure than some of the other resources, which allows children to use the app to be creative and explore different aspects of computer programming. With the character-based design of the app, children can use their imagination while also learning useful skills and sharing their work with other app users.

6. Spritebox Coding

Spritebox Coding is a puzzle-based platform for kids ages seven and up. It’s available on both iOS and Android devices and the app teaches kids coding by helping them build a spaceship. Sprite is a robot in the app that helps students complete over 70 puzzles. As the puzzles grow more challenging, kids will develop their programming skills and will begin to learn real coding language and concepts. Spritebox is a really useful tool to help younger kids familiarize themselves with coding and help them develop an interest in computer science.

7. Code.org

Code.org is a non-profit organization that has many different programs available for kids of all ages and skill levels. All of their courses are free, and it’s a great resource for kids in K-12th grade and also for educators who like to teach computer science. Code.org is used by 40 percent of students in the US with 45 percent of their students being female and 50 percent being underrepresented minorities. The founder of Code.org believes everyone should have the opportunity to learn computer programming and their courses are used in over 180 countries.

8. Codakid

Codakid is an online coding program that offers many different self-paced programming courses and over 500 hours of activities for kids. This resource is designed to teach kids of all levels and continue to challenge those who are eager to learn. At Codakid, they focus on kids having fun while coding and using their imagination to create. Codakid teaches using real programming language and offers both a monthly and annual subscription.

9. Codesters

Codesters is a great learning tool that is designed for upper elementary or middle school students who are learning to code. The platform is relatively easy to use but is best suited for students in 4th-8th grade. What makes Codesters unique is it teaches text-based coding to kids using real programming language. The learning takes place on the Codesters website, and includes tutorials designed to help students learn based on their skill level.

10. Lightbot

An app designed for older children and teenagers, Lightbot is an excellent resource for kids who are interested in learning the ins and outs of computer programming. Players learn in this puzzle-type app by moving a robot through a maze by giving it programmed commands. With each new level, the maze gets even harder, giving the player new opportunities to learn programming concepts.

If you are looking for hands-on coding toys or books, check out our curated list here

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