Kids who learn to code will be prepared with the tools they need for the jobs of the future, while they hone their creative thinking skills and learn persistence, systematic reasoning, and collaboration.
While most parents want their kids to learn coding, many aren’t sure how to start, or don’t want to add another expensive after-school activity to already crowded schedules. And homeschooling parents may feel intimidated by the idea of teaching a subject they don’t personally have experience with.
Fortunately, there are a lot of great resources available! We’ve compiled a list of several, divided by age group. Each of these is FREE to use (although some have more feature-rich paid versions), they’re simple to understand, and all can be done from the comfort of home.
If you happen to have a child that is ready to take coding to the NEXT level, MakeCrate pairs hands-on engineering projects with our coding curriculum so that kids can see their code working in the real world, while they learn engineering and electronics fundamentals.
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Designed by MIT researchers, Scratch is a block coding tool that allows kids to program interactive stories and games. Kids can write and test code in the interface by dragging brightly colored blocks around and clicking them together. Designed specifically for kids ages 8-16. For younger kids, there is a simplified version called Scratch Jr. https://www.scratchjr.org/
With a very simple interface, kids are walked step by step through process coding experience, seeing the results immediately as they make changes in the interface. While many of the options available for kids in this age range utilize block coding, CodeMonster’s typing interface provides a well structured introduction to the process of writing code with correct syntax and structure.
Code.org has courses specifically designed for elementary students, including some for pre-readers! Courses include both computer science fundamentals and internet safety education. Kids use art, stories, and games to learn coding techniques through a series of 6 courses.
App Inventor is another tool designed by MIT to help gets coding. App Inventor is specifically for building smartphone and tablet app. It teaches those schools through the use of block coding. According to their website, new inventors of any age can get their first app up and running within 30 minutes!
Glitch allows students to explore web design, app development, and data visualization by creating their own projects or accessing a million community apps and customizing them with the built-in code editor and real time updating. Glitch is most easily accessible to students that already have some coding or app building experience.
Stencyl’s free version allows users to build their own games and publish them to the web using a drag and drop block interface. A number of Stencyl created games are on app stores.
Codecademy has a full catalog of coding courses to teach students web development, data science, and programming skills with options to learn 8 different programming languages. Courses are free, and more structured programs and paths are available for purchase.
More advanced students can use Khan Academy’s coding resources to learn anything from basic computing skills to complex languages, using Khan Academy’s well-known interface utilizing videos, projects, and challenges.
Thunkable is great for teaching design thinking through app building. Students can access online tutorials as they work through the app design and development process.