Summer is already half way over but that still leaves plenty of time to learn a new skill, and what better time to learn to code so if your child is considering learning how to program now is the perfect time to dive in. If a coding camp is not near by or in your budget you might want to consider on-line platforms that offer coding opportunities for children. Below is a list of programs thanks to the research of Random Hacks of Kindness Junior’s summer intern, Luke Lefflbine, for you to consider.
Recommended coding sites for children:
Recommended Age Range 4-8
Found on Apple Devices Only
This app provides a variety of simple puzzles for young students that use the fundamentals of coding in their solutions. The app tries to tailor the experience to what skills the student needs to work on. This app would be good for students who have no experience with coding and are in early elementary school. It is free for part of the content the app includes but if you want to try everything you will have to pay.
Recommended Age Range: 5 – 8
Found on iPads and tablets
Scratch Jr. is a remake of Scratch designed for early elementary school student. It uses an incredibly simple system of blocks to allow the student to program the characters on the screen to move. It is designed to be very simple to learn for anyone so that if a student has a question, nearly anyone can help them. This app is very good for students who do not have experience with coding and are in early elementary school. If they are a bit older, they will likely gain more from regular Scratch. This app is entirely free.
Lightbot : Code Hour
Recommended Age Range: 5 – 12
Found on mobile devices, or browsers that support the Flash plugin
Lightbot is a relatively short puzzle game where the student inputs commands to a robot in order for it to light a series of lightbulbs. The puzzles grow harder as the student progresses meaning that while an older student may find the early levels to be simple, they may be challenged by the later ones. Lightbot uses concepts from coding in the design so that while the students are not directly coding, they are learning. The app is good for students of all ages, though very young students may struggle a bit without help and students in late middle school and high school may find the early levels to be too easy. This app is entirely free.
Recommended Age Range: 8 – 12
Found on computers
Scratch is the older brother of Scratch Jr. and is a full programming language in its own right. Scratch uses blocks to allow students to create code and can do a surprising amount of things with such a simple setup. It is easy to learn but takes some time to master and is great to allow students to make their own games. Scratch is a good option for both students who have no programming experience and those who have some experience as there is a lot to learn with it. I recommend it for late elementary school students and middle school students. The app is entirely free.
Recommended Age Range: 12+
Found on mobile devices
Mimo is an app designed to teach programming and while it is geared toward students, it is not designed for elementary school students unless they have previous experience and are very committed. The app does a good job at teaching how to use multiple programming languages by breaking them down into simple parts, and can even be helpful for adults. Mimo is best for students who have some experience and want to learn a lot more about programming. It is free but offers paid features to allow for more learning per day.
Recommended Age Range: 12+
Found on computers and mobile
Sololearn is another app designed to teach programming languages directly, however it offers more options than Mimo. Sololearn allows for different paths to be taken when learning based on experience and offers a variety of languages to learn based on what interests the student. Sololearn is designed for students who really want to learn and have some experience with coding as a concept, even though it does tailor itself to the student’s level of expertise. It is designed for middle school and above, and is even good for adults interested in learning to code. The app is free but it does offer paid features such as more lessons per day.