During the lockdown, parents across the country might find themselves struggling to teach topics that they aren't familiar with - and for many parents, that includes coding. Teaching coding to kids has become an essential part of the curriculum, and through learning to code, kids can improve their problem-solving skills as well as developing computational thinking skills.
Code is - literally - another language, and so it can be difficult to teach coding at home without any knowledge or experience - but there are plenty of excellent resources on the internet. Designed especially for kids, there are many games and apps that focus on teaching the basics of coding - and there are many others for more advanced coders... We have gathered together eleven of the best coding resources, with games and applications for kids aged 2 and up.
Age range: 2+
Coding Safari is an educational app available on iOS that is suitable for kids aged 2 and up. Teaching pre-coding skills, like computational thinking and problem-solving, this app is a great introduction to the most simple coding ideas and concepts. Coding Safari is a good stepping stone, making it easy to move on to more complicated coding games and activities when the time is right.
Age range: 4+
Code Org website has been designed for children aged four and up. The website offers four courses, with the first course aimed at early readers, aged between 4 and 6. The four courses have games, videos, puzzles and activities that are designed to get kids coding, teaching them the basic principles of computer science.
Older children, or kids who have already started to learn to code, can skip the first course, starting with later courses that focus on block-based programming games and activities. The four courses make up a complete curriculum, which fits the standards set by the International Society for Technology in Education.
Age range: 5+
Tynker aims to get kids coding and learning computer programming through a range of fun games, challenges, tutorials and Minecraft Mods - and they are currently offering free access to their premium coding courses during school closures. Teaching kids to code through play, Tynker encourages creativity, and they have more than forty award-winning text and block-based courses for kids of any age or level of experience.
A great resource for teaching lots of different computer skills - Tynker teaches kids how to make a website, how to code, how to create an app or build a game - which are skills that are likely to be useful later in life.
Age range: 5+
After completing each level, the coders move to the next level, where they will learn even more complex coding skills. The game is free to use - and there are additional levels available through a monthly subscription - and children can connect with other players through the Code Combat community.
Codemoji allows kids to learn at their own pace, following the interactive lessons and set tasks. Codemoji uses images - rather than text - to teach children the skills they need, so they do not have to be good at typing (or spelling) to enjoy the activities. Coders have to create solutions and learn to problem-solve whilst learning to code through fun images and favourite emojis, and the activities are designed to be entertaining, challenging and flexible. By focusing on image-based learning rather than text-based learning, young coders feel empowered and confident, which means they have more fun and pick up skills more quickly.
Currently, Codemoji is offering a free 14-day trial, which has access to more than 500 lessons.
Age range: 8+
A great introduction for kids to learn to code, Blockly is a simple and easy-to-understand game that can be played by any child who can read.
Age range: 8+
Scratch is an online community and programming language where children learn to program interactive media, like games, stories and animations. Using Scratch will help children learn to code, as well as teaching them reason and logic, creative thinking and collaboration. Scratch aims to teach the mathematical and computational ideas and concepts of coding, as well as developing design skills and becoming more fluent in the 'language' of computer code - which are essential skills in the 21st century.
Designed by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab, Scratch suits 8 - 16-year-olds - but there is a simpler version for younger kids aged 5 -7, called ScratchJr. For beginners, Scratch has set up an easy to follow tutorial, which can be found here.
Age range: 13+
GameBlox teaches kids to code through designing and building their own games, which can be played on mobile devices and online.
Great for kids who enjoy self-directed learning, GameBlox has five tutorials for beginners, and then coders can get started using one of the 'starter projects' as a base for their own game - or by using the 'code editing mode' to make a game from scratch. GameBlox has an online forum on their website, where kids can ask questions about the coding process - and it is a great resource for teaching kids who are interested in developing games. GameBlox is free to use, and kids will enjoy building and playing the games that they designed.
Age range: 13+
Khan Academy - Computer Programming
Age range: 13+ (or tech-savvy tweens)
At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things, that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.
We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it's important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.
Kidadl provides inspiration for everything from family days out to online classes, arts, crafts and science experiments. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.
Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.
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