Top 21 Free & Paid Coding Websites for Kids
Teaching kids to code can be a difficult job for parents and educators, especially if they don’t know how to code themselves. There are various options out there and it is wise to explore a bit before making a decision on the best coding language to start with and the suitable curriculum for your child.
It’s very important to hook kids’ interest from the very beginning. Otherwise, they might get the wrong impression about coding and perceive it as boring. One of the best ways to this is through coding games for kids like Osmo or Bitsbox (an excellent subscription service). Another way to do this is to simply know which websites and coding programs for kids have the best resources to help.
Luckily for non-techy parents, there are many free coding websites for kids that specialize in teaching kids to code with the ABCs of computer programming. After a week or two of working through these coding programs for kids, students can be taught how to build functioning apps, games, and websites and have a lot of fun in the process.
With today’s resources, basic computer programming is now fairly easy to master. Even five-year-olds can pick up the fundamentals of code through visual block interfaces.
Programming is nothing more than telling your computer what to do in a language that the machine understands. Most children understand that and that’s why it’s so easy for them to pick up the skill and start writing functional code in no time.
All you have to do is guide your kids in the right direction. If money’s an issue, you don’t have to sweat it. There are many decent online resources that give away basic programming knowledge for free.
In this article Top 21 Free & Paid Kids Coding Websites of All Time, we list some of the very best free coding websites for kids as well as some higher quality paid options when you are ready to upgrade. After all, free coding for kids only goes so far – but it is an excellent place to start.
As a special bonus, we are also including a free CodaKid Roblox coding tutorial that will teach your child Lua programming while creating an amazing custom game for Roblox Studio.
Without further ado, here we go:
1. Scratch (Recommended for Ages 6 to 12)
If you’ve been reading our blog, you already know about Scratch. It is a free educational programming website, primarily used by kids. With its easy-to-handle visual block interface, Scratch eliminates the issue of typing actual code. For beginners, this is a huge advantage. With the help of the visual blocks, kids can easily conquer the basics of game development, graphic design, and animation. Kids have the freedom to express themselves and transform their ideas into working code sequences in no time.
Apart from being a simple and great solution for newbies to pick up the fundamentals of coding, the thing that really makes Scratch so great for up-and-coming coders is its community. Kids learn to code in Scratch by building projects and sharing them with other players online.
Scratch has a huge and extremely active community, with over 15 million registered users. Anyone can join in and participate, as long as they play by the rules and communicate in a friendly and respectful manner with other community members.
For those who are just starting, Scratch has a rich Wiki segment and an active forum on the site that contains a lot of information about the programming language itself, the website, and history of Scratch. These make great and powerful sources of information for scripts and tutorials. They are mainly edited and maintained by the users, a.k.a. “Scratchers”, who frequently update it with useful content.
Another great thing about the Scratch platform is the fact that it makes it mandatory for users to store their creations and code sequences on the Scratch server. This makes it easy for beginners to see how advanced users play with Scratch and what they need to do to get to their level.
What we especially love about Scratch is that the platform has a brilliant way of allowing kids to be creative while learning important coding concepts. Kids make creative decisions about nearly aspect of the games that they create on the Scratch platform, including choice of backgrounds, user player appearance, speed, controls, sound, and more!
2.Code.org (Recommended for Ages 4 to 15)
Code.org is now one of the most popular sites that offers free coding for kids. Known for its comprehensive search engine through which you can find relevant local courses across the globe, there are also online tutorials available, wich last between 15 hours and 20 hours on average. These are suitable for children of all ages and include game-like interactive lessons and even exclusive videos brought to you by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.
In my personal opinion, Code.org is a great resource for newbies. Apart from making it easy for kids to get a grip on the basics, this site also has a lot of content that’s perfectly suited for students who are interested in acquiring more advanced computer science and programming skills.
With materials available in dozens of different languages, the main goal of this website is to simplify the process of learning how to code. Code.org makes it accessible for anyone to master computer science from the comfort of their home. This is because they want to bring computer programming into daily life in every corner of the world through quality coding programs for kids.
Apart from offering full-length courses for students of all grades and ages, Code.org also has an interesting “Hour of Code” section on the site which is specifically designed for users who don’t really have a lot of free time to allocate to learning how to code. There are more than 200 one-hour tutorials in this section, available in over 45 languages, and every single one of them is a crash-course designed to help students master or improve their coding skills.
From app development, to game creation and web design – Code.org covers it all. The site has courses that feature characters from popular coding games for kids like Star Wars and Minecraft. This motivates students to pay more attention to the lessons. The site even has resources dedicated to helping youngsters learn how to program using robots (e.g. LEGO Mindstorm).
The thing I really like about Code.org is that it has both tech and non-tech content for learning the fundamentals of programming. The courses on the site are arranged by grades, so that students don’t end up choosing tutorials that are either too hard or too easy for them. Every achieved milestone is rewarded with a certificate, which is quite neat because it provides encouragement. Also, they can show those certificates to their parents and get additional support and praise for their achievements.
Code.org is a solid site for teaching youngsters to code. If your kid is interested in learning coding, Code.org has a great series of courses that teach 6-year-olds the basics of computer science. Each course is made up of a number of puzzles, videos, and activities. At the end of each course, your kid will be able to build games and interactive stories.
3. CodeCombat (Recommended for Ages 10+)
CodeCombat provides kids with an immersive combination of RPG gameplay and text-based coding drills. The free version provides a fun intro to computer science covering basic sytax, arguments, strings and more. And as far as free coding for kids goes, this is a great start to their computer science education.
CodeCombat is used in many schools, and allows teachers without coding experience to teach text-based coding.
Similar to the approach used by Code.org and Swift Playgrounds, most CodeCombat missions involve giving your character the proper commands to guide the user’s character through a variety of puzzles, mazes, and other challenges.
What I like most about CodeCombat are the beautiful RPG maps, styled art assets, and immersive sound effects.
What I inherently don’t like about closed platform courses like these are that students are forced down very rigid paths, hampering their creativity.
Still there is much to like about CodeCombat, and the community of developers who have contributed to the platform have made something very special.
4. Codecademy (Recommended for Ages 14+)
Another great place where young, aspiring programmers can pick up the basics of coding. Apart from providing students with valuable text-based courses on web development and programming in different coding languages, Codecademy (paid version) also offers hands-on experience. Through interactive projects and quizzes, kids learn how to apply their newly-acquired knowledge.
Access to Codecademy’s courses is free, but as I’ve already mentioned above – the free ride has its limits. If you want to get more than just the basics, you need to upgrade to the paid version. The paid PRO track adds a personalized learning plan where users can put their knowledge to the test through interactive projects and quizzes.
That said, having a free-of-charge option is always a great way to get a trial before committing financially. This is why access to quality resources that teach free coding for kids like Codecademy is critical.
If you’re going for the free access, your kid won’t learn more than the fundamentals of coding. Codeacademy’s free courses teach basics of many programming languages, without any real instruction on how to apply that newly-acquired knowledge in real life. Codeacademy doesn’t teach students how to think like programmers, which is a huge letdown. We at CodaKid believe that teaching kids to code is of equal importance to problem-solving skills, logic, and patience. If your kids fail to develop the right mindset, they’ll never become proficient in coding.
Codeacademy teaches the syntax of programming, but it doesn’t teach kids how to apply it. Once your kids learn something new and complete a challenge – they’ll never really revisit the topic or get another challenge where that particular knowledge can be applied to solve a problem.
For kids who are just learning the basics of coding, Codeacademy has a lot of helpful features on the site. It has a great forum community, huge programming language glossary, and an active blog. It can be a great start, but you need to provide your kids will additional content if you want them to become top coders.
5. Khan Academy (Recommended for Ages 14+)
Khan Academy is an extremely popular education website and app that allows users to learn almost anything for free. It has a giant library of more than 3000 educational videos that cover topics from math, biology, chemistry, physics, finance and history, to computer science and engineering.
The content itself is presented in a nonchalant, yet engaging manner, so that students don’t get bored while watching the videos. Students can download videos or specific lists and watch them at their own pace. Videos also include subtitles which users can adjust to their liking.
To use Khan Academy, you don’t even need an account. The Academy is available to everyone in the world with a decent Internet connection.
The only downsides:
- video markup tends to be a little awkward at times
- some catalogs have gaps
- the mobile app is limited to just playing videos
But all in all – Khan Academy has a lot of things to offer. With its ever-growing repository of free video tutorials and exercises, users can improve their existing knowledge of specific topics and explore new categories of interest.
If you’re trying to teach your older kids the bare essentials of coding, Khan Academy is probably one of the best resources for that!
Once they log in, kids can easily choose courses that best suit their preferences and track their progress on their own dashboards. Students can rate videos, leave comments, and communicate with other people who are attending the same course.
6. Code Monster
If you’re just looking for a simple addition to your kids’ coding experience, Code Monster is a great way to give them interactive practice with Java.
The structure is simply two boxes, one which is where the code will go and the other which will display the result.
The great thing about the simple program is that it is instantly gratifying and shows the potential results of coding immediately, spiking the interest of young coders and making it much easier for them to understand the purpose.
Really the only downside to Code Monster is that it is a very simple program and will likely need to be used in addition to some of the other great options on this list rather than standing on its own.
7. Blockly (Ages 8+)
Another great and free resource that will give access to fun coding games for kids is the website Blockly. As can probably be assumed, the website approaches programming lessons by teaching it through a series of puzzles and blocks.
Blockly is made up of a series of games geared towards teaching programming. These educational games are mostly designed for kids without prior experience in the world of computer programming.
The goal is for kids to solve fun and tricky puzzles through a drag-and-drop function in order to create a story to solve a problem.
By the end of the games, students will be prepared and ready to use conventional text-based languages in future coding endeavors.
Much like with coding programs for kids like Code Monster, kids will be able to see the results of their programming solutions immediately, helping them to fully understand the wonders of coding in a real and rewarding way.
This is one of the most flexible coding websites for kids that allows users to move at their own pace, so it’s great for students of any coding level or learning ability. It also consists of many tutorials and lessons that help kids learn understand pretty much any area of coding. This includes things like applications, games or website pages.
Mainly, Tynker works with interlocking blocks of code like many other educational coding resources. This is one of the reasons it is perfect for so many different ability levels and can be understood easily by beginners.
The courses are well designed and broken up by age group so that you will have no issues knowing where to start with the kids in your life. Best of all, it will grow along with them as they develop and are ready for more complicated material. This is critical because coding programs for kids must grow in depth and complexity or risk only having value for a narrow age group and skill level.
The website has free coding for kids but also has a subscription option that can take the experience to the next level, so you are able to test it out and see how much you are willing to commit after knowing how well it fits you and your child. You can choose monthly, yearly or lifetime subscriptions, too, so it really is up to your personal situation and desire for commitment.
9. CodeMoji (Ages 6-14)
Though it isn’t one of the free resources on this list, CodeMoji is a relatively inexpensive option for all that it provides.
The program is fun and comprehensive, making it easy to encourage students to keep up with it and make the most out of the educational experience. Kids will be able to do things like create their own websites, animations and more, giving room for fun and dynamic project assignments they could tackle.
The unique and adaptable learning platform consists of interactive lessons that helps them appreciate the same emojis they are very familiar with on a personal and educated level by using them to substitute for HTML or CSS codes.
When education is structured in a fun and aesthetic manner such as this, kids will often forget that they are doing something educational and productive altogether and just enjoy themselves instead.
Powered by Mozilla, Thimble gives kids the chance to learn about interactive programming through a platform that allows them to code directly and immediately observe the output of their work.
The whole idea behind Thimble is to allow kids to learn by doing. It is a project-based learning module that will allow kids to choose between starting brand new projects or updating existing ones. This hands-on approach makes it a great tool and resource for kids who already have exposure to coding and are ready to practice it and see what they can do.
Once students begin their projects, they will see a split screen that shows both the raw coding they are completing and a draft of the output. Once they complete their projects, they can proudly share them online.
11. Code Wars (Ages 14+)
While many of these other resources have been geared towards younger audiences, Code Wars is specifically designed for students in the high school age bracket.
This website gives students a platform for coding competition to give an exciting and competitive edge to an otherwise solitary learning experience. There are a variety of coding languages to choose from, giving students the ability to either practice one they feel a little less confident in or really stretch their coding muscles with their favorites.
By competing, students have a new fun element introduced into their coding education. By being able to analyze the different solutions that other coders find to challenges, they are able to expand upon their own knowledge and diversify their approach to future challenges both within this program and in the real world of computer science.
12. Code Avengers (Ages 5-15+)
Though it doesn’t have as many exciting graphics as other options on this list, Code Avengers does offer a range of great lessons to help elementary coders learn and middle and high school coders create.
Code Avengers offers a series of no-cost intro classes surrounding topics such as building web pages, creating apps and developing games. The curriculum is self-paced and text-based and prompts kids to work through lessons, debug code and complete challenges.
Another great feature is that if kids hit a snag in their coding process and can’t figure out the solution they are looking for, there is access to limited online support and an option to e-mail technical support if they still have problems.
There is a seven-day free trial that grants a student access to the first five lessons in each course, giving plenty to work with if you are just looking to try things out for free.
If you like what you see and want access to the rest of the lessons, you can register for a no-commitment monthly plan for $29/month or a six-month plan for $150.
Regardless of what you do, Code Avengers is great for covering the basics for younger and older students alike. The younger students can focus on learning while the older students can focus on creating, giving a range of opportunity no matter where a student is in their computer science journey.
13. Kodable (Ages 4-11)
For a program that has a dedicated focus on younger students, Kodable is a fantastic, full-fledged curriculum to help them build a strong foundation.
Kodable is organized as a classroom curriculum and is often used in schools for this reason, but there are also personal plans available if you are parent looking to boost your child’s exposure to coding education or simply want to get them a little more help to advance the progress they are already making in more strictly academic settings.
For the sake of classroom environments, each unit includes a teacher’s script along with an unplugged activity and an independent activity to place part of the learning experience solely in the student’s hands. Finally, they also include some form of assessment or quiz so that you can keep track of the student’s progress and see where they may need additional attention.
All plans come with a 7-day free trial and are available on iOS devices, so you can feel free to try it out and see if it works for you before making any sort of financial commitment. If you do decide that you want to take that leap, though, this is absolutely one of the more affordable options as well.
14. LightBot (All Ages)
If you are looking for a more app-based program to promote flexible, on-the-go learning, LightBot is a great option that is available in the App Store, Google Play Store and even on Amazon Apps.
The low-cost programming apps provided by LightBot are available for all ages, so it can benefit a range of different students at different levels in their coding journey.
To get an idea of how it works, LightBot is a puzzle game that is completely based on coding, promoting the problem-solving side of it in a fun and exciting way. Since it’s a fun logic game, it is almost secretly teaching you since it can be really easy to forget that it’s an educational program in the first place!
LightBot teaches a range of things, including sequencing, overloading, procedures, recursive loops and conditionals.
The game was designed by full-time coders, so they personally know which aspects of coding are most important to learn at which stage in the process. Plus, they will know better than anyone how to make it a fun experience for kids to really tinker with and enjoy.
It’s played by millions of kids worldwide and is even used in many classrooms by teachers who have discovered it, so it’s definitely worth checking out and becoming a part of the community!
If you are looking to get beginners into coding, Stencyl is a great way to start them off by getting them exciting by game development.
Stencyl is inspired by the same snapping blocks system introduced by Scratch, so it’s safe to say that it follows a pretty popular path in terms of teaching strategy. This software allows students to create simple and fun games for iOS, Android, Mac, Linux, Flash and Windows systems.
Though the basis of Stencyl is the snapping block structure, there is also the ability to type code for additional practice in text-based areas. Ultimately, there is a range of educational material available so that students of varying skill levels can benefit from it.
If you are looking to add Stencyl to a classroom curriculum, you aren’t alone! This is a very common tool that used by teachers nowadays to the point where you can even download a free Educator’s Kit to really make the most out of it.
While there are free options for people who are simply curious or are on a budget, there are also paid pro plans for students who may be a little more serious or who want to extend their education beyond the initial offerings.
16. Code Monkey (Ages 9+)
Code Monkey is another great source to teach coding to kids through online games. It is typically most appropriate for students who are in fourth grade or higher, but it is still definitely appropriate for beginners in general.
The overall objective of Code Monkey for the coder is to start off with helping a monkey gather bananas and working through a series of challenges that eventually grants the player the skills required to make their own game.
The ultimate goal of code monkey by the time students complete it is that they will have the skills required to start their journey with their own game development, an area that will definitely be exciting to kids.
Code Monkey does have annual subscription fee, but it also offers a free trial for anyone who wants to test it out before fully committing. For teachers, there is a special subscription that gives access to 32 lesson plans, three challenge workshops and access to an online Google group that will help immensely with their in-class curriculum.
17. CodeWizardsHQ (Ages 11+)
If you’re looking to help prepare kids in middle school or high school for potential success in the digital world, CodeWizardsHQ uses an innovative, blended method that combines coding principles and practices taught through small, online teacher-led classes and build-as-you-learn projects.
Classes meet online once a week and last one hour. They offer students the flexibility to choose between independent and solitary work or group efforts on projects and assignments. The best part is that every student will have direct access to an experienced instructor whenever they need particular help.
The remote nature of the program provides additional flexibility in that classes can be attended and completed from anywhere with internet access, making it something students can complete as a part of their class or as an additional, after-school activity.
Each part of the curriculum takes around three months to complete, so the total plan can keep students busy and learning for three years by the time they reach the end!
Once they do reach the end, kids will finally learn how to code actual apps and put their creativity to use with a tangible product as the end-result.
18. GameBlox (Ages 13+)
A great (and free) resource for older students that is still block-based like Scratch is GameBlox, a site geared towards creating computer games.
Ultimately, GameBlox is a game editor that gives anyone the opportunity to make games. It is free and doesn’t require a download, plus it allows you to make games that you can play both on the site and on your mobile device.
Most coding resources coding websites for kids geared towards older students will be text-based. Having a blocks-based option helps students who are simultaneously older and at a beginner’s level in the process.
The “Make a Game” button will take the coder straight to the editing screen where they can then click on “Help” to find five tutorials that will help them begin. Beyond this, there isn’t much instruction which is why it is less helpful for younger students who may find this to be a lot more frustrating.
If students do struggle with the lack of direction, there is an online forum on the website where people can post and answer questions to help each other grow. Additionally, video aid can be found on YouTube.
This resource is available for both iOS and Android, so students need not feel limited by their devices and operating systems!
19. Pluralsight/Code School (Ages 14+)
Formerly known as Code School, Pluralsight offers access to a wide array of educational options tailored to more mature students.
On the website’s homepage is a conveniently located group of four informational boxes neatly explaining the primary areas of Pluralsight’s functions: Skill Assessments, Paths, Channels, and Courses.
Using the website’s Pluralsight IQ software, a student can quickly and easily determine which areas need the most work, allowing for a more personalized learning experience.
The Pluralsight path system showcases a real-world “skill tree,” helping to ensure that students have a clearly defined lesson plan that they can follow without having to pay the high prices of a personal tutor.
Pluralsight’s channels system enables the student to gather together all of the content that they have bookmarked as important in one convenient location for easy continued access.
Each course is led by experts in their respective coding fields and contains hours of entertaining and informative material. The three primary areas of education offered on Pluralsight are software development, IT ops, and information and cyber security.
Although these functions are locked behind a monthly recurring subscription payment of $35 or an annual payment of $299, Pluralsight does allow a 10-day free trial, during which the students will have access to all of the information that Pluralsight has to offer.
20. Vidcode (Ages 10+)
Vidcode is a great option for instructors teaching coding as well as for students at the tailend of elementary school and beyond.
More specifically, it is geared primarily towards teenage girls who are at the beginning of their computer science journey.
One projects are completed, they can be shared on social media or in the Vidcode online community, making it a great resource for students to use after school in their free time or as a part of their academic curriculum.
Vidcode gives options for users by offering a limited free version that includes the software, beginner tutorials and access to the online community as well as a tiered annual subscription system that gives access to additional projects, lesson plans and overall curriculum for more serious users.
21. CodaKid (Ages 7-15)
Of course, I have to put in a mention for our very own CodaKid courses. After all, if anyone believes in our product and its ability to truly transform kids’ experiences with coding and computer science, it’s me!
The way that CodaKid imparts these lessons is through fun and exciting video tutorials that students can browse at their own pace, making it ideal for any student regardless of their level or ability to commit.
Best of all, while most of these resources are only web-based, CodaKid is part web-based and part client-based, so the content will partially be downloaded onto your computer and be in your possession. Because of this, students will be able to keep the software, tools and projects forever, making it lifetime investment.
CodaKid gives kids the genuine feeling that they themselves are real software engineers and game developers, a sentiment that goes a long way and feels incredibly satisfying for kids of all ages (especially if they are particularly techy).
Though different platforms will suit some students better than others, CodaKid is ahead in terms of granting creative opportunity to kids who really like to implement their own ideas into the work that they do. Plus, it’s an affordable investment for all of the support and quality education you receive!
Paid & Free Coding Websites for Kids – Wrap Up
In today’s world, almost everyone agrees that coding is an important skill that will give children a leg up in tomorrow’s world. The free and paid resources above provide an excellent introduction to coding for kids, and knowing where to start is the first step.
To summarize, the coding websites for kids that were covered today were:
- Khan Academy
- Code Monster
- Code Wars
- Code Avengers
- Pluralsight/Code School
If you have any resources that you think we’ve forgotten from Top 21 Free & Paid Kids Coding Websites, we’d love to hear from you! Please leave comments below!