9 Ways to Teach Kids of all Ages to Code

posted by Preethi Chandrasekhar, April 03, 2019

Learning to write at least some code has become a necessity for all kinds of jobs. Teaching our children to understand and write code has become one of the aspects of a complete STEM education in schools that will prepare our kids for the future. Here are 9 games, apps and websites our kids have tried and loved.

Before we start, download this fun printable from Hello Ruby! 


This is a foldable computer that you can color and design. 


1. Robot Turtles Board Game for Preschoolers


Photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/vWQTGw 

Robot Turtles is a collaborative board game that is perfect to introduce basic coding concepts to preschoolers. One turtle for each player has to move across to the center of the board to get at its gem. The robot turtle can only move step by step - forward, turn right and turn left. In higher level configurations of the game, the turtles have to blast through obstacles as well. Spatial skills are also challenged when the child has to decide which way the turtle should turn. A fun way to lay the foundations of coding.

2. Scratch Jr. for Grade Schoolers

Scratch by MIT teaches young kids to code and then collaborate on projects and remix other's projects. If you created a project on Scratch and shared it, others can remix it, comment on it and share it. And of course, it is free! Kids get to animate a "sprite" by dragging and dropping blocks of code that make the sprite perform certain actions. It is fairly simple, yet complicated enough to make you think. Kids over 7 years old will love to create their own animations, stories, and games. It can also be a wonderful way to spend time with your kids making up your own animated cartoons and games.

3. Tynker for Grade Schoolers

Tynker is an app that teaches grade schoolers to code. Kids get to animate a dragon step by step to get its treasure. The dragon can walk, jump, blast ice and fire to remove obstacles and turn around. As you level up, kids are introduced to the concepts of recursions and functions i.e. a set of repeated steps grouped together that can be called by a single block. My first grader is currently at this level. As the levels go up serious programming languages like Javascript and Python come into play build apps and games. We will definitely be sticking with this App to see where my daughter's interests and skills take her.

4. Bitsbox for Grade Schoolers

Img Source: Bitsbox Website

Bitsbox is a creative way to introduce kids to the work of programming. Kids are introduced to programming by making fun apps with sound and pictures. It comes with sample apps in the form of jokes and kids can create new apps on their own. They provide an environment to create and run their apps. It is a ton of fun and kids will absolutely enjoy it.

5. Terrapin for Grade Schoolers

If you want to introduce programming to younger kids, like bits box, Terrapin is yet another interesting software that lets you create different shapes and images with the logo computer language. "We got introduced to Terrapin Logo via kiddos school," says Vidhya and they have special discounts for students.

6. Coding for Middle Schoolers

In this internet era, basic web design and HTML knowledge is a must. Introducing basic HTML and CSS from middle school helps the kids in the long run. There are a lot of sites like w3schools which teaches the basics and also provide the platform for them to try and test their understanding.

7. Kodable

Kodable has interesting and easy-to-follow lessons, concept tutorials, gamified lessons and more. From understanding what a programmer does to moving a 'robot' forward, spinning it and jumping using basic programming language or learning about conditional statements, children learn everything and in specific steps. They also have guided practice and independent practice activities and many printables.

8. Code.org
This is the go-to resource for most parents. Code.org is available in 45+ languages. There are some amazing resources to try at home. My daughter loves to code her own dance party! There is such a variety of resources and applications to explore here.

9.Hello Ruby

One of our favorites, Hello Ruby is a wonderful resource indeed. Fun, colorful, beautiful and elegant, Hello Ruby explores play, logic and curiosity to discover and learn coding. The Hello Ruby book that was kickstarted with a crowdfunding campaign achieved its goal in less than 4 hours! Don't miss this one! 

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