In today’s world, coding for kids is one of the best things children can learn. However, coding apps for kids are still rather scarce.
I’ve compiled a list of resources for learning to code that you can use with your children (and you can learn it, too!) that will help set the foundation for them to create programs, apps, computer games, and even queries and reports in a traditional office environment.
It’s an important part of any STEM activities for kids.
These coding ideas for children are some of our favorite technology activities for kids!
Why We Love Coding Apps for Kids
Monkey is interested in robots, computer programs, and loves patterns. My younger siblings all participated in First Robotics when they were in high school, and I plan to enroll my kids in a robotics program when they are old enough. Programming and coding is useful for many different industries.
My husband works in bankruptcy and had to teach himself coding and computer-coded reporting tools so that he could complete all of the tasks he has to do in one day. There are few industries where coding is not used today.
Even if a child winds up in an industry where she/he doesn’t have to use coding directly, the problem-solving skills and techniques that are necessary for coding help improve focus, organization skills, creativity, and the ability to keep trying until something finally works.
The Best Coding Apps for Kids
Kids will love these kid-tested coding apps!
Coding Apps and Games
Since Monkey is only nine, most of our coding experiences so far have been game-based. This has made learning the code a little more interesting for her and introduces the concepts in a non-stressful way.
Our favorite coding game is CodeCombat, because you can learn a real coding language right in-game.
We are choosing to learn Python first. Other coding apps and games are easier to use, but they also do not use real coding language, which means eventually you will have to re-train with a real language.
However, they are perfect for learning sequencing and other basic concepts.
So far, these are our favorite coding apps and games:
Scratch is a drag and drop coding platform that encourages kids to create. My daughter spend hours using Scratch when she was in elementary school. She also learned a bit of graphic design using Scratch, which was a fun bonus.
Kodable is a fun kid-friendly coding game that teaches the basics of coding with adorable characters and scaled challenges based on a child’s age.
Lightbot is a bit challenging, but for older kids, they will love the challenge of completing more and more difficult light-based puzzles.
Young kids will love learning the process of logic and coding with this dinosaur-themed coding game.
Computer Programming Apps for Kids
These apps teach kids the basics of computer programming. More than just teaching the coding process and the coding logic, these programming apps actually teach kids coding language that they can then go on to use as adults in a future career.
Code combat is one of our favorite coding apps of all time. My eldest used this game for two years, and she was able to learn a lot of coding logic. This game is a bit advanced, so it is recommended for kids 10 and up.
Learn to code for free right on your computer with Code Academy. Kid-friendly resources for coding and true coding are the biggest perks of this site.
Another kid-friendly coding platform, CodaKid teaches coding in a fun and engaging way for little ones.
Tynker is one of the best coding apps for kids available today. Many schools use Tynker in the classroom, so adding support for this by allowing your kids to play a home version will reinforce what they are learning at school.
Spritebot is made by the same company as Lightbot, only this time, the coding language used is an actual coding language. It’s fun, kid-friendly, and colorful.
Coding Books for Kids
Sometimes, reading about coding and creating different coding strings with old-fashioned pencil and paper can be helpful. We like these books about coding:
Python for Kids: A Playful Introduction to Programming
This book makes Python easy for kids to understand and implement.
If you’re not sure where to start with teaching coding to kids, this book can help!
I love the DK workbooks, and this one on computer coding is just as good as the rest!
Screen-Free Coding Activities for Kids
Sometimes, the best way to inspire a new hobby/interest is with hands-on activities. We love using robots and other fun tools to make coding seem more interesting and fun.
Creative Ways to Use Ozobot Evo
We love our Ozobot Evo, and we came up with these fun ways to use it.
One of our first coding toys was the coding caterpillar, and the kids love it to this day.
Secret Message Binary Coding Bracelets
Code in binary and send secret messages to your kids or they can communicate in secret with their friends.
Coding Toys for Kids
If your kids can’t get enough of coding, they may also like these coding toys and kits you can purchase.
Google Cardboard (there are dozens of coding apps you can use with these!)
Ozobot Bit programmable robot
Raspberry Pi 2 programmable computer
Makeblock mBot advanced programmable robot
Coding Tools for Classrooms
There are a lot of coding tools designed for classroom use that we would love to own. Perhaps we can start a coding class as an after-school activity and fund some of these larger ticket items.