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Teaching coding for kids can be difficult – especially if you’re not too familiar with programming concepts or jargon yourself. There’s no denying that conventional coding can be pretty overwhelming, what with the seemingly nonsensical combinations of symbols, numbers, and characters. 

 

Just looking at the wall of text is enough to make an adult feel out of their depth – never mind a child!

 

Thankfully, the benefits of learning coding have become too prevalent to be ignored. 

 

In response, the demand for kid-friendly coding platforms has risen, and at least half a hundred companies have been all too eager to fulfill. There are now dozens of websites, apps, and programs that effectively teach coding for kids. 

 

From MIT’s Scratch programming language to Apple’s exclusive Swift Playgrounds app, trust us when we say there is no shortage of options. If you and/or your child are interested in learning how to code, these programs are your best bet. They’ve perfected the art of being engaging and educational without compromising knowledge quality and retention.

 

Table of Contents

 

Websites

  • CodaKid
  • Scratch
  • Khan Academy
  • Glitch
  • CodeCombat
  • Codecademy
  • MIT App Inventor
  • Code Monster
  • mBlock
  • Blockly
  • freeCodeCamp.org
  • Stencyl
  • Code HS

APPS

  • Box Island
  • Swift Playgrounds
  • Cargo-Bot
  • Kodable
  • Hopscotch
  • LightBot
  • SoloLearn: Learn to Code
  • CodeSpark Academy
  • Hopster Coding Safari for Kids
  • CodeKarts
  • GoldieBlox
  • Scratch Jr.
  • SpriteBox Coding

Conclusion

 

Let’s start with the coding websites for kids.

 

WEBSITES

 

1. Codakid

 

coding for kids free

 

Unlike other online academies and tech camps, CodaKid is focused solely on teaching coding for kids. But instead of standard practice work and generic coding projects, CodaKid uses popular games like Minecraft and Roblox to make programming interesting. Rather than learning how to display “Hello World!” on a colored background, kids are instead taught how to forge their own sword in Minecraft or develop their own tycoon game in Roblox.

 

What’s more, the lessons use actual programming languages – like Python and JavaScript –and professional programming tools. This makes CodaKid one of the best choices for children interested in web, app, and game development.

 

CodaKid is a platform that is part web-based, part client-based. What this means is that parts of the content will be partially downloaded to your computer or device—specifically the tools, software, and projects.

 

These elements will remain in your child’s possession even after he/she finishes the course. In other words, they have full ownership of the finished product. They can revisit their old projects or fire up the software again whenever they feel like it.

 

It also uses popular gaming platforms like Minecraft and Roblox to help children better understand the power of programming. Rather than have them try and complete abstract or template coding exercises, CodaKid instead assigns projects within the context of games.

 

For instance; how to make a Minecraft server. Designing a Roblox game. How to make a Minecraft mod. Programming your own game using Python. How to develop an app using JavaScript.

 

These kinds of projects encourage out-of-the-box thinking. The students are given general guidelines and a set framework. But beyond that, they need to utilize their natural creativity and an innate love for games in order to substantiate the outcome.

 

The assignments are dependent on content, and the children are encouraged to use their creativity to supply said content.

 

CodaKid lessons are given through fun and exciting video tutorials that students can consume in their own time, at their own pace. They’re also designed to make programming concepts appealing and easy to understand without sugar-coating them. In other words, CodaKid students aren’t given a watered-down or over-simplified version of coding.

 

The reason the lessons are so effective – despite the propensity for textual coding to be overwhelmingly technical and complex – is thanks to the platform and context with which they’re introduced.

 

This excellent balance of real coding language presented using a fun and engaging platform minimizes the risk of frustration and maximizes knowledge retention. This, in turn, can make students feel like real programmers and software engineers. For the more technology-inclined kids, this feeling can be incredibly satisfying.

 

2. Scratch

 

Scratch is a revolutionary, block-based visual programming language and platform that was made primarily for children—specifically ages 7 and up. Developed by MIT Media Lab, translated into 70+ languages, and 100% free, it’s by far one of the best free coding for kids platforms out in the market right now. As of April 2020, Scratch has hosted more than 52 million projects shared by over 54 million users.

 

Those numbers are no joke.

 

What is block coding, exactly? It’s a visual programming language that eliminates syntactical errors by allowing users to snap blocks together – rather than words, numbers, and symbols – to build executable scripts. 

 

Scratch is a browser-based programming language, which means you don’t need to download anything. Just type in the address, wait for the interface to load, and then start coding.

 

This block-based drag-and-drop coding is honestly one of the best and simplest ways to introduce kids to coding. Visual coding blocks greatly reduce the risk of simple syntax errors (like forgetting a colon or mixing up a closed parenthesis with a closed bracket) getting in the way of learning coding fundamentals.

 

Bold lines, bright colors, and distinct shapes are also far more appealing to children and will thus encourage them to keep exploring.

 

Scratch’s library of sprites, objects, backgrounds, music, and other programmable elements is incredibly extensive. So the chances of kids getting bored with the options are pretty low.

 

But on the off-hand that they want to code their own character, Scratch lets you import your own vector-based graphics into your library to truly customize your game. Users—who are called “Scratchers”—can even create their own programming blocks and add new logic to existing programs.

 

And if you want to transfer elements from one project to the next? Scratch has a handy “backpack” feature for maximum portability.

 

Scratch also encourages community creativity. Every time you save a project, you have the option to share it on Scratch’s community page (think IG’s explore page, but for coding). Other Scratchers can then view it and like it. They may even draw inspiration from it and try to replicate it.

 

This is easily done with the “See Inside” button. This option allows you to open the project’s editor to see the project’s scripts. This can help kids and aspiring coders understand how the more complicated codes function. It can also give them something to aim for without starting completely from scratch.

 

3. Khan Academy

 

Khan Academy is a dedicated online nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide “free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.” It offers over 10,000 instructional videos, 3,000 unique articles, and more than 50,000 practice exercises that cover a wide range of topics. They offer courses for math, chemistry, physics, biology, and—of course—computer science and engineering.

 

And as a personalized learning resource for all ages, they focus on skill mastery (rather than memorization) to help their learning establish strong educational foundations.

 

When you join Khan Academy, you’re joining a global classroom. This no-cost, free-for-all platform is available in over 36 languages worldwide.

 

(Want to know more? Read our updated Khan Academy review!)

 

Khan Academy students can study at their own pace by downloading specific videos or lists and watching them on their own time. The videos also have subtitles that users can adjust to their preferences.

 

Students have the option to choose courses that suit their preferences and track their own progress, real-time, using Khan Academy’s comprehensive Student Dashboard. Furthermore, they can start in-house discussions and leave recommendations by rating videos, posting comments, and communicating with fellow Khan students that are taking the same course.

 

In 2018, 1,503 people were asked about Khan Academy’s impact and effectiveness. Of the people polled, 88% of teachers found Khan Academy to be trustworthy, and 90% of students and teachers declared it an “effective learning resource.”

 

In 2015, the Sergio Paiz Andrade Foundation created a Khan Academy pilot program with 206 teachers and 2,356 students in Sacatepéquez, Guatemala. MANAUS, an independent research organization, evaluated this project and found that students using Khan Academy had an average increase of 10% in math subjects.

 

Lastly, SRI International conducted a two-year study with 2,070 participants—70 teachers, 2,000 students—from 20 public, private, and charter schools. There was a positive association between Khan Academy and better test scores, lower math anxiety, and improved confidence in one’s mathematical ability.

 

Khan Academy content is presented in an engaging and easygoing manner. Complex, overtly technical terms are kept to a minimum, and the teaching/testing language is completely conversational. As far as computer programming and coding for kids courses are concerned, Khan Academy promotes hands-on knowledge for JavaScript, HTML/CSS, and SQL. Training videos on the subject are short and to the point.

 

4. Glitch

 

Glitch is defined as (1) a simple tool for creating web apps, (2) a friendly, creative community, and (3) a different kind of company.

 

What does this all mean?

 

It’s basically a collaborative programming environment that allows developers to work together on code in real-time. Think of it as the Google Docs of coding apps: you have a code that multiple people can access, view, and edit live. You can leave comments, make changes, and basically collaborate with the people you want to achieve optimal, industry-standard results.

 

While this platform is definitely more suitable for older kids, we feel it’s worth including here for the young teens who truly want to challenge themselves and improve their coding. The collaborative aspect of the platform also makes it possible for kids to receive support and guidance – whether from their teacher or their fellow developers – as they’re working on their code.

 

In fact, we’d say that Glitch encourages teamwork.

 

And because there’s no need to worry about servers or setup, kids can literally just jump in on a project and start writing. There’s also a community of experienced developers ready to answer any and all questions your kid may have about Glitch or programming in general.

 

As a bonus, there are also millions of fun, useful, community-created apps that your kid can only find and access via Glitch. 

 

5. CodeCombat

 

CodeCombat free coding for kids

 

CodeCombat is a platform that uses an adventure/dungeon-delver/RPG-style game to teach the basics of coding for kids. Players control their characters by writing out actual code using either JavaScript or Python. Hack-and-slash, turn-based combat scenarios are expertly combined with logic puzzles and fantasy elements to create a fun, lighthearted game that encourages kids to keep coding if they want to keep playing.

 

The game is free to play, but there is a paid version that unlocks Game Development, Web Development, and other more advanced Computer Science modules.

 

(What other fun stuff can CodeCombat offer your child? Check out our extensive CodeCombat review to learn more!)

 

A lot of kids enjoy stories about knights and dragons, heroes, and dungeons. CodeCombat leverages this inclination for fantastical concepts to successfully introduce the fundamentals of programming in a way that is enjoyable and exciting (rather than mechanical and overwhelming).

 

Instead of viewing each coding concept as an academic lesson that must be learned, kids see the syntax and scripts as parameters that must be achieved to play the game.

 

The difference this distinction makes is astronomical.

 

CodeCombat has bold, colorful graphics that are visually appealing for younger audiences. The heroes especially are all uniquely designed, with personal backstories and personalities. There are 17 in total; four of which are free, three of which are available with a subscription, and ten of which can be bought with a subscription and gems.

 

Code Combat coding for kids free

 

These characters, coupled with the RPG maps, art assets, and immersive sound effects, all come together to make this one of the best and most addictive coding games for kids.

 

The CodeCombat world is fairly massive. There are 10 stages in total, all of which have a good dozen or so levels (the Backwoods Forest and Cloudrip Mountain have over a hundred, in fact) in them.

 

Basically, it’s enough to keep a child occupied for a fairly lengthy amount of time.

 

And being a video game, the promise of progressing further through the hero’s story is a great encouragement for any kid. They basically have to keep coding if they want to keep playing.

 

6. Codecademy

 

Codecademy is another excellent platform for young, aspiring programmers to pick up the basics of coding. It’s an online academy (much like Khan Academy), so there is a set curriculum with units, lesson plans, and courses that students can choose to enroll in. 

 

There are also interactive quizzes, take-home projects, supplementary materials, and approved resources that students use to test their aptitude.

 

In the context of coding for kids, Codecademy offers valuable text-based modules on web development and programming languages. The paid version includes actual hands-on lessons. But despite this obvious paywall, Codecademy is an excellent starting point for kids who want to learn the basics of programming.

 

(Is Codecademy the best choice for your child? Our Codecademy review can help shed a little more light on the answer.)

 

Much like Khan Academy, Codecademy believes in personalized, self-paced learning. Students can choose where they’d like to start and how they’d like to go about it. There is no strict, one-way approach to completing the course.

 

You can start smack dab in the middle—say, the basics of web development in HTML & CSS—and work your way backward. You can jump between JavaScript, Python, and SQL. With Codecademy, you’re free to do whatever works best for you.

 

Codecademy’s coding for kids’ courses is specifically designed to be fun, engaging, and easy. They’re focused on teaching beginners, which is why their classes only go as advanced as Ruby, PHP, and AngularJS.

 

Experienced and intermediate programmers may soon grow bored with the restrictions and limited learning material, but that’s only because the curriculum isn’t designed for them. Codecademy chooses to focus on teaching and strengthening the basics of programming in order to give younger coders and programming enthusiasts a truly solid foundation.

 

Codecademy also has an excellent forum community full of professionals, veterans, and fellow Codecademy students. It’s organized into four categories: Get Help, Community, Projects, FAQ. For a paid Codecademy account, you even get live support. So if you encounter any issues or concerns whatsoever, rest assured there’s a whole bunch of people ready to rush to your aid.

 

7. MIT App Inventor

 

MIT App Inventor is a simple, kid-friendly, block-based programming platform from Google. It lets users build their own Android Apps using a visual, drag-and-drop coding environment. The blocks here are called components, and they range from the simple button, image, and text elements to more elaborate options like animations or an “accelerometer sensor” (an MIT App Inventor component that works like a Wii controller).

 

Although it’s not specifically targeted towards kids, the App Inventor’s setup provides a low entry point for people of all ages and skill levels to create fully functional apps for smartphones and tablets. Like block-based programming, all the user needs to do is move the components they want onto the screen and connect them.

 

It may not be as blocky and brightly colored as, say, Scratch and Scratch Jr., but it’s still very visual. And we’d argue that the simplicity in the design allows for a pretty broad age range.

 

What we love about the website is that it doesn’t just throw you straight into the deep end or force you to download the editor to learn. It has a very helpful Getting Started page that covers setup instructions, an editor overview, extensive beginner tutorials, and how to package and share apps.

 

The Tutorials page itself is quite hefty and has well over twenty or so tutorials that you can follow, step by step, to eventually master the App Inventor editor. Your child will definitely enjoy making Codi (the coding bee) buzz around or creating their own whack-a-mole app for some finger-mashing fun!

 

8. Code Monster

 

Code Monster coding for kids free

 

If you’re simply looking for a quick, free, and child-friendly addition to your kids’ coding experience, Code Monster is an excellent option. As the name suggests, this website teaches coding for kids using a friendly blue monster character.

 

The Code Monster verbally guides the student through each interactive lesson, asking assessment questions, and providing helpful hints when necessary. It also introduces the basics of programming through carefully-worded explanations and instructions. The child can only move on to the next lesson, test, or project once they fulfill the monster’s parameters and/or successfully reach the goal.

 

As cute as this web-based program can be, it’s still more of a supplementary platform than a standalone program. The setup only allows for linear progression with very little variation (if any) to the lesson plan.

 

On the one hand, this eliminates the risk of confusion or accidental advancement to more complicated modules without fundamental knowledge. On the other, this also means that there isn’t an opportunity to get creative with coding or to explore programming concepts further.

 

(Curious to see this little monster in action? Check out our detailed 2020 Code Monster review!)

 

No need to download anything or pay for anything. Just go to the Code Monster website and start playing.

 

Definitely aimed at a younger audience, the Code Monster mascot is an adorable blue creature that provides instructions, suggestions, and helpful hints the whole way. Despite being nothing more than a programmed character element, the presence of the Code Monster may give children a sense of much-needed supervision and guidance as they navigate the basics of text-based coding.

 

Of all the platforms and websites on this list, we’d argue that Code Monster has the simplest structure. Which, when you’re trying to teach coding for kids aged 5 to 10, isn’t a bad thing at all.

 

The only elements on the webpage are two boxes (one for writing the code, one for displaying the program), a progress bar, and – of course – the Code Monster. This setup allows for minimal distraction and instant gratification; two things that can improve the student’s attitude towards the lesson itself.

 

9. mBlock

 

mBlock – or makeblock – is a STEAM programming software tool marketed as a “one-stop coding platform” tailored for education.

 

It uses Scratch 3.0 and Arduino code to support both block-based and text-based programming languages. This means that your child can choose to learn via the visual drag-and-drop system of Scratch, Blockly, and codeSpark fame or they can challenge themselves with some traditional text-based programming.

 

Whichever they choose, mBlock has the resources and professional capacity to fully support them throughout their education. Your kid can create games, animations, and interactive projects that they can later share with the mBlock community. They can also program robots and learn the fundamentals of AI systems.

 

There is no specified age range, but we definitely recommend starting younger children out (aged 5 to 9) with the block-based coding editor.

 

mBlock is also widely-accessible and can be used across different devices. It supports Windows, Mac, Linux, Chromebook, iOS, and Android. 

 

10. Blockly

 

Marketed as “games for tomorrow’s developers,” Blockly is a platform that teaches coding for kids using visual, block-based programming and fun, educational puzzle games. There are eight games in total, and they’re mostly designed for kids without prior experience in coding or computer programming.

 

The drag-and-drop system that most of the games employ gives the entire platform a very low point of entry, making it highly accessible for very young children. The goal is to give students the coding fundamentals they need before moving on to conventional text-based programming languages.

 

Blockly

 

The games on this website are made using the actual programming language, Blockly—a JavaScript library for building visual programming editors. This library adds an editor to your device that represents coding concepts as interlocking blocks.

 

Much like Code Monster, this editor – though not at all for kids – makes it possible for kids to run their program and see it in action immediately.

 

As with some other choices on this list, Blockly is a purely web-based program that is 100% free. All you need is a device to access the internet and a stable connection.

 

Blockly offers eight different games on their website, ranging from Puzzle games to a Movie project to an oddly-named (but no less fun) game called Pond. Although the games are a little simple and only allow for linear progression, there’s no denying that they’re varied enough and unique enough to keep things interesting.

 

Blockly coding for kids free

 

With the Pond game, for example, you have to shoot the opposing target. Where the ammunition goes and how far it goes is dictated by the values you input for “angle” and “distance.” You move on to the next round once you figure out the right combination.

 

The puzzle game, on the other hand, is a drag-and-drop system that requires you to piece together 16 blocks according to the animal and their physical traits.

 

The games are different enough from each other to encourage children to keep playing to keep advancing. And each lesson introduces a new programming concept accordingly.

 

All the games on the Blockly website were made using Blockly programming. This is (1) a clever way to market the capabilities of this block-based programming language, and (2) a visually enticing approach that could encourage children to potentially make their own simple games using Blockly.

 

11. freeCodeCamp.org

 

Featured in reputable news outlets such as The New York Times, Time, Quartz, USA Today, and BBC, freeCodeCamp is a donor-supported nonprofit organization whose mission is to help people learn to code for free. Since 2014, more than 40,000 freeCodeCamp alumni have secured software engineering jobs (and similar positions) at tech companies like Spotify, Amazon, and Microsoft. 

 

Covering a wide, wide array of computer science lessons like HTML5, Responsive Design, JQuery, Back-End Development, Automated Testing, Python, and Kanba, freeCodeCamp is an incredibly extensive resource center that adopts a hands-on approach by having their students complete actual coding projects, like building a website for an NGO. 

 

You can even earn verified certifications for Responsive Web Design, Front End Libraries, Scientific Computing with Python, Data Analysis with Python, and other similar courses.

 

While this definitely is targeted towards kids, freeCodeCamp can still be considered a viable coding for kids’ websites due to their extensive beginners’ modules. If not kids, then teenagers. Either way, it’s an excellent, award-winning platform that is 100% free to use.

 

12. Stencyl

 

Defined as a “powerful game creation toolset,” Stencyl is yet another platform that utilizes the drag-and-drop snapping block system popularized by Scratch. Because of this, it’s another great choice to consider when introducing coding for kids. 

 

Centered on game development for kids, this intuitive and interactive system allows students to produce their own games, playtest them on their devices, and ultimately distribute them on the iOS App Store and Google Play.

 

In other words, it’s absolutely perfect for young, budding game designers and developers. Rather than introduce coding concepts through games, Stencyl encourages learning coding concepts to make games.

 

Stencyl is actually a very popular addition to the computer science curriculum. A lot of teachers nowadays use Stencyl to teach programming for kids at different levels. In fact, Stencyl even provides a free Educator’s Kit that teachers and parents can use to design lesson plans or supplement their child’s education.

 

Stencyl offers free options for kids on a budget, but they also have some truly excellent paid pro plans for those looking to expand and improve their skills.

 

The highly-intuitive snapping block interface that Stencyl uses has been proven to be an effective teaching model for children. As we’ve mentioned before, drag-and-drop, block-based programming is a great way to teach students the basics of coding without risking their progress and knowledge retention with syntax errors. 

 

So for younger children – aged 6 to 12, perhaps – block-based systems are a great way to build the necessary skills and knowledge for programming.

 

However, for older children who might crave more of a challenge, Stencyl also has lessons and modules that allow for additional practice in text-based areas. If children are curious enough to try conventional textual programming languages – like Java or Python – there is a decent range of educational materials that they can benefit from.

 

13. Code HS

 

Defined as an “interactive online learning platform,” Code HS is a resource center wholly dedicated to spreading in-depth knowledge of computer science – as well as encouraging skill-building in the same area. It offers digital, self-paced classes and teaching materials in the form of video lessons, exercises, quizzes, professionally-designed modules, and – for paid users – live, remote tutors.

 

These online instructional materials can also be used by independent students looking to learn and schools or institutions looking to educate.

 

The Code HS curriculum is incredibly extensive and is designed for students of all ages and all skill levels. Children and programming beginners can start with their Intro to Computer Science classes, where they practice CS concepts and basic coding skills by commanding Karel the dog to complete various tasks – walk around, “fetch” the tennis ball, and sit, just to name a few examples.

 

More advanced learners and intermediate- to expert-level programmers can try tackling their AP Computer Science Principles or AP Computer Science in Java courses. Other advanced modules cover programming languages like Java, JavaScript, and HTML.

 

APPS

 

14. Box Island

 

Box Island

 

This award-winning coding adventure for kids initially came out exclusively for iOS devices in 2016. Thankfully, it is now available on the Google Play Store for Android users. You can check out their cute trailer here.

 

Featured in Adweek, Mashable, TechCrunch, and The Guardian, Box Island is definitely an app to watch for. This super colorful, survival-style mobile game features friendly characters, detailed settings, and an interesting enough storyline that your kids are sure to love. They get to explore over 100 gorgeously-designed levels along with the hero character (a bubbly, bright-blue box), learning coding basics like sequences, loops, conditionals along the way. 

 

Each level they complete furthers the story, as well as their programming knowledge and understanding.

 

This isn’t so different from a lot of coding for kids apps with the same concept, but we have to give it to Box Island; the characters, the high-quality graphics, and the incredibly immersive world make this app truly stand out! 

 

All that, coupled with unforgettable characters and narrative gameplay, guarantees engagement and motivation for hours on end.

 

15. Swift Playgrounds

 

Swift Playgrounds is a free, iPad-exclusive app that teaches coding for kids using engaging, interactive puzzles, and stunning graphics. It feels much like CodeCombat in the sense that there are fantasy elements, individual characters, and plenty of levels to unlock and explore. Highly educational and visually appealing, we definitely recommend this app for young children and beginner programmers.

 

16. Cargo-Bot

 

Cargo-Bot has the distinct honor of being the first game programmed entirely on an iPad using an iOS Lua code editor called Codea. It’s also one of the simplest coding for kids apps on this list. 

 

A cute and colorful puzzle game with 30 levels of clean graphics and fairly challenging objectives, this app covers basic programming concepts using a drag-and-drop visual programming system in the form of a toolbox. You can drag different blocks – such as direction blocks or prog blocks – from the toolbox to the editor to fulfill the intended outcome. Much like Box Island, you’re introduced to different programming concepts – as well given supplemental knowledge regarding the concepts you already know – as you progress further. 

 

Unlike Box Island, there isn’t really an overarching storyline to the app. However, the puzzles do get significantly harder as you advance, which should be plenty enough motivation for kids who thrive on challenges. 

17. Kodable

Kodable

Edutopia describes Kodable as a “great way to introduce the concepts of programming,” while The New York Times mentioned it in their article on “best toys that teach kids how to code.”

 

If that doesn’t speak of how effective Kodable is a programming platform, then check out the glowing reviews on the App store.

 

This award-winning app uses a complete K-5 curriculum for kids aged 4 to 10. Trusted by over 50% of U.S. Elementary schools to date, it teaches kids core programming concepts using engaging games and interactive storylines. Students start out using a drag-and-drop programming system to explore code, create personalized characters, build levels, and develop critical thinking. 

 

As they advance, they’ll move on to text-based JavaScript and Swift programming. They’ll also learn object-oriented programming to design their own games and build programmable characters.

 

What’s more; teachers can use Kodable, too! When you download this app to use it as a teacher/mentor, you have access to a whole host of tools and systems to help you create new curriculums, manage classroom accounts, and share programming projects with multiple registered students.

 

18. Hopscotch

 

Bite-sized coding on your iOS device. That’s Hopscotch’s unique – and certainly attention-grabbing – subheading, and it certainly seems in-line with their quick, quirky, and casual narrative.

 

One of the more colorful apps (and websites) we’ve had the pleasure of reviewing for this list, Hopscotch encourages users to “expand the canvas” of their imagination through their kids’ programming app. Designed specifically for ages 10 to 16, the Hopscotch Canvas (which is basically the app’s code editor) encourages users to express their personality, experiment to learn, and ultimately experience how software is made in a highly-intuitive environment. It utilizes visual, block-based programming coupled with colorfully-designed characters for truly appealing programming experience.

 

As a team of “parents, scientists, and educators,” Hopscotch’s mission is to create a programming environment that encourages children to explore powerful, creative ideas while making actual, functional software.

 

And functional indeed! Your kid can use their canvas to make games, animations, mini websites, interactive art projects, and even Minecraft versions! Their paid option gives your kids more advanced tools that can enable them to create AR (augmented reality) games like Pokemon Go! Their Hour of Code also features tutorials and lesson plans on how to make interactive lessons, quizzes, and publishable games.

 

19. LightBot

 

LightBot

 

LightBot is a fantastic app that encourages on-the-go learning. This low-cost programming platform seamlessly blends unique gameplay with bright, kid-friendly visuals to teach actual coding concepts. Sequencing, overloading, recursive loops, conditionals … your child won’t even realize their learning technical jargon and syntactic, text-based programming. LightBot is just that fun! If your kid loves solving problems and puzzles, they’re going to love this.

 

And unlike Swift Playgrounds, LightBot is available for both Apple and Android devices.

 

20. SoloLearn: Learn to Code

 

An app that’s definitely targeted towards an older audience (we’d say maybe 10 and up), SoloLearn features the world’s largest collection of free programming courses for beginners to knowledgeable coders. Users can choose to learn Python, C++, Java, JavaScript, jQuery, or all five programming languages if they so desire. They can opt to learn new concepts, brush up on existing knowledge, or stay informed about the latest coding trends.

 

Users can personalize their learning experience, picking and receiving content based on their preferences, progress, and areas of interest. They can also interact with SoloLearn’s huge community of coders; fellow learners who are all-too-happy to provide peer support, evaluation, and remote assistance.

 

With over 15,000 questions and 2,000 different quizzes, there’s no better app for self-paced supplementary learning than SoloLearn. 

 

21. CodeSpark Academy

 

This award-winning app is lauded as the most-used home coding program for kids aged 5 to 9. Based on research-backed curricula from MIT and Princeton, this bubbly, blocky, and brightly-designed app teaches kids the “ABCs of computer programming.” As with most coding apps for kids, it does this through a variety of fun and interactive games.

 

Kids can learn topics like Sequencing, Loops, Events, and Conditional Statements by playing specific games featuring the codeSpark Academy characters. Each game has its own story, setting, and unique objective, but there are recurring characters – specifically Woz and The Glitch.

 

Woz acts as the user’s avatar, executing the instructions given by the user via the coding tray. You can fill the coding tray using the commands provided below it. The Glitch causes trouble for Woz, giving the players a sort of antagonist to work against.

 

Aside from the kid-friendly environment and easily navigable user interface, codeSpark Academy has no in-app purchases or micro-transactions that your child could accidentally click on. Once you pay for the monthly subscription, there are no extra fees or hidden paywalls that your child will have to deal with. Basically, your kid can fully enjoy codeSpark Academy without constant supervision. 

 

22. Hopster Coding Safari for Kids

 

Hopster’s Coding Safari for Kids app is probably the only app on this list that’s catered for very, very young children; as young as 2 years of age, in fact!

 

Marketed as a pre-coding logic game, Coding Safari is an animal-themed multi-puzzle game that recognizes and thoroughly supports the importance of coding for kids. The games here are designed to give children a head-start in learning this valuable life skill. Their goals are, in fact, twofold: (1) introduce children to computational thinking, and (2) deliver key computer science standards for UK and U.S. Curriculum.

 

Kids will have so much fun as they help Tiger get back to her den, Penguin returns to its Antarctic Ice Hole, and Monkey reach that ever-so-coveted banana tree. 

 

There are plenty of cute characters and engaging puzzles to keep kids entertained as they consequently pick up the fundamentals of coding, computational thinking, planning, and problem-solving. 

 

23. CodeKarts

 

Suitable for children as young as four years of age, CodeKarts is marketed as a “pre-coding” game that’s perfect for giving preschoolers a jumpstart in coding. Primarily presented and designed as a racing game, kids learn the absolute basics of coding as they try to navigate their way through different racetracks, facing obstacles and challenges along the way. 

 

Aside from programming basics, this app also encourages the development of observational skills, concentration skills, and logic skills.

 

24. GoldieBlox: Adventures in Coding

 

Goldie Blox coding for kids free

 

This story-based adventure app is a product line under the GoldieBlox brand – an American toy company that designs, manufactures, and markets toys, games, and entertainment specifically for girls. Their products are all crafted to encourage an early interest in engineering and unshakeable confidence in problem-solving. 

 

The apps under the GoldieBlox: Adventures in Coding line are no different. They are all diverse, female-empowered STEM-focused adventure games that teach coding concepts and fundamentals by way of puzzles and challenges pertinent to the story. 

 

Goldie Blox

 

For instance, The Rocket Cupcake Co. story requires players to travel throughout the town to deliver cupcakes. Players must program their route using visual code blocks. Recommended for ages 7 and up, this app offers over 20 challenging Adventure Mode levels and an endless Sandbox Mode – a definite plus for replay value.  

 

25. Scratch Jr.

 

Specifically designed for kids aged 5 to 7, ScratchJr. is a visual programming editor that allows kids to create their own interactive stories, games, and animations using Scratch, a block-based language. 

 

Unlike CodeKarts or LightBot, ScratchJr. doesn’t use games or puzzles to teach coding for kids. It instead provides tools and a canvas that kids can use to fully experiment and explore the capabilities of coding. It encourages creativity and personality by letting kids build, define, and design their own projects.

 

(Read our in-depth review of ScratchJr. here!)

 

26. SpriteBox Coding

 

Yet another fun adventure game designed with first-time coders in mind, SpriteBox Coding features adorable graphics and decently challenging puzzles that promise hours of entertainment.

 

Unlike other apps, SpriteBox actually changes the way you code as you progress through the game. Users start out with icons (read; block-based programming) to solve the coding puzzles. Over time, the icons are replaced with actual textual commands. This allows players to experience both visual and text-based programming. Kids will be introduced to sequencing, parameters, loops, nested loops, procedures, and other similar coding concepts as they collect stars and navigate a two-dimensional world.

 

While this app is available on both iOS and Android devices, it’s worth noting that there is a slight difference between versions. iOS users will learn Swift coding syntax. Android users, on the other hand, will learn Java.

 

Conclusion

 

The tricky thing with teaching kids, in general, is that you need to grab and secure their interest. Once they no longer deem something worthy of their time and attention, the lesson is lost. And it can be very, very difficult to re-establish that desire to learn. Teaching coding for kids is no different.

 

Here’s a recap of our list:

 

Table of Contents

Websites

  • CodaKid
  • Scratch
  • Khan Academy
  • Glitch
  • CodeCombat
  • Codecademy
  • MIT App Inventor
  • Code Monster
  • mBlock
  • Blockly
  • freeCodeCamp.org
  • Stencyl
  • Code HS

APPS

  • Box Island
  • Swift Playgrounds
  • Cargo-Bot
  • Kodable
  • Hopscotch
  • LightBot
  • SoloLearn: Learn to Code
  • CodeSpark Academy
  • Hopster Coding Safari for Kids
  • CodeKarts
  • GoldieBlox
  • Scratch Jr.
  • SpriteBox Coding

 

Thankfully, all the websites and apps we listed here understand that. They’ve managed to leverage a myriad of different elements – like block-based programming, commanding visuals, and cute graphics – to make coding for kids fun and enjoyable. The fact that most of them are totally free doesn’t hurt, either. 

 

For a limited time try CodaKid for free! 

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