It’s easy to imagine a kid learning coding being stuck in front of a computer for the rest of their lives. However, that doesn’t have to be the case! In fact, coding experience can open up many opportunities and make your child more marketable when they start applying for awards, scholarships, and even jobs! In the digital age, there are plenty of ways for kids to learn coding, free.
Coding also allows your kid to creatively express him or herself. Your child has an idea for a game? They should make it! Your child has an idea for a website? They should design it! The possibilities are endless when it comes to coding and there are FREE apps, websites, and activities available to kids of all ages.
Free Coding Apps for Kids
CodeKarts (4+; iOS/Android)
A pre-coding game for preschoolers, players learn to develop observational skills, concentration, and logic by guiding a car through various tracks.
CodeSpark Academy (5-9; iOS/Android/ Kindle Fire/Windows)
With over 1,000 fun activities and a simple-to-use interface, CodeSpark Academy is the perfect app to introduce kids ages 5-9 to coding.
Kodable (4-11; iOS/Browser)
Scratch Jr. (5-7; iOS/Android/Kindle Fire/ChromeBook)
With ScratchJr., children ages 5-7 can program interactive stories and games to solve problems, design projects, and express themselves creatively on the computer.
Move the Turtle (6-12; iOS)
Using visually engaging graphics, kids can implement various programming concepts to direct a virtual turtle and complete unique tasks.
Tynker (7+; iOS/Android/Chromebook)
Swift Playgrounds (8-12; iOS)
Swift is a programming language for developing Apple iOS programs and apps. Especially useful for beginner programmers (even those with no Swift experience) Swift Playgrounds lets kids work at their own paces with visually appealing and educational challenges.
Hopscotch (4-11; iOS)
Create games, art, stories, and more with kid-friendly programming. Kids can code and publish unique creations to Hopscotch’s fully moderated community, where others can play and learn from their creations.
Mimo (15+; iOS)
Mimo puts the power to learn in your child’s hands! With over 23 different courses to choose from and comprehensive lessons, Mimo enables kids of any age to begin coding and advance their skills.
Codea (13+; iOS)
A fully customizable code editor, Codea allows users to introduce all the colors and visual aids they may desire to assist in their programming efforts. It’s a free coding for kids app that lets your child turn thoughts into interactive creations.
Coding Safari (2+; iOS)
With a focus on pre-coding skills like problem-solving, decomposition, and computational thinking, Coding Safari is engaging and educational for children as young as two years old!
Algorithm City (8+; Android)
Algorithm City is a 3D style game where kids can learn the basic concepts of coding, such as command sequencing, functions and loops, and more. Make a character progress by collecting gold and solving levels.
LEGO Boost (7-12+; iOS/Android)
Lego Boost is an app that allows kids to build different Lego models and program them with code. Children can program their models to make sounds and move using drag and drop code.
Daisy the Dinosaur (5-7; iOS)
This app teaches basic coding concepts like sequencing and conditionals in the form of fun little challenges. Make Daisy the dinosaur move, jump, and dance with drag and drop commands as kids experiment and learn.
Run Marco (6-12; iOS)
This game uses simple commands like “move one step forward” and “repeat” to help students learn how to sequence a set of actions. Children will learn to modify their code to complete the task at hand, as well as design their own levels.
SoloLearn: Learn to Code (ages vary; iOS/Android)
Grasshopper (ages vary; iOS/Android)
Rox’s Secret Code (5-8; iOS)
Kids can explore the basic principles of coding with this app by helping Rox, a code whiz, debug a “Chorebot” that was programmed to help clean her room, but begins acting out on its own.
DCoder (ages vary; iOS/Android)
DCoder is a mobile code compiler. This app is meant for more experienced individuals who are looking for fast and easy ways to compile and run their code on the go!
Free Coding Websites for Kids
As a programming language that has already touched the lives of millions of children, Scratch is a great tool for beginner programmers. Scratch offers block-based visual programming that is both simple-to-learn and very flexible.
Ever heard of robot fighting? Well here is a cool alternative! RoboCode lets kids build a robot in Java or .NET in order to compete against other robots.
As a beginner-friendly coding game, CodeMonkey gives kids the opportunity to learn real-world programming languages and basic computer science concepts by following the adventures of a cute little monkey!
Using fun and visually engaging puzzles, kids can get a chance to practice sequencing, conditionals, recursive loops, and more. By issuing commands to navigate a robot through various stages and solving challenges, kids can learn to code in a kid-friendly environment.
CodeCombat (6+; Browser)
This is a resource for students who want to learn a programming language by themselves, but still want the support of an experienced community of people! StackOverflow is a question and answer site meant to answer a diverse range of computer science questions.
Coursera (ages vary)
Offering more than 1,000 courses from 119 institutions, there are a number of free introductory programming courses in various specializations from universities. This lends itself as a very versatile and valuable tool in learning code.
Free Code Camp (ages vary)
edX (ages vary)
Another leading online-learning platform that is open source, edX was founded by Harvard University and MIT, so you can trust you’ll learn cutting-edge skills and theories from the 50+ schools included in their material.
Khan Academy (ages vary)
Udemy (ages vary)
Udemy is an online learning platform used to improve or learn new skills. With plenty of free programming courses taught via video lessons, such as Python Frameworks, APIs, HTML, CSS, + Payments, this site is a convenient option for advancing your abilities.
Code Avengers (5-12)
This New Zealand based site provides courses focusing on game design, C++, HTML, Python, and more, available in multiple languages. Offering material for a wide range of ages and experience levels, this site is a great choice for all coders!
AGupieWare (ages vary)
An independent app developer that created a curriculum based on the free courses offered by Stanford, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Berkeley and Columbia, this program is broken into 15 courses ranging in complexity and focus. Perfect for anyone looking to expand their qualifications.
GitHub (ages vary)
While this may not be the first site you think of when wanting to learn how to code, it is definitely worth mentioning! GitHub allows students to collaborate on cool projects and look at the projects of other individuals for reference.
MIT Open Courseware (ages vary)
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has publicly available courses for a multitude of subjects, including programming. You get the chance to sit in programming classes from a very prestigious university!
Hack.pledge() (ages vary)
Hack Pledge connects mentors and mentees with each other so that young programmers can learn and grow from experienced individuals.
As one of the most popular eLearning platforms out there, BitDegree offers a multitude of fun computer science courses!
CodeWars (ages vary)
CodeWars is a gamified way to compete with other programmers. This is your kid’s chance to work on challenging programming problems alongside other programmers.
Free Coding Activities & More for Kids
Unplugged Activities (ages vary)
If you prefer more hands-on activities, go ahead and try some unplugged activities. This a compilation of different computerless games and paper activities. Plenty of free coding for kids resources here.
GoalKicker (ages vary)
Do you like learning through reading? Then check out GoalKicker! GoalKicker collects a ton of free programming books so that anyone can read about different programming languages and ideologies.
As a volunteer-led community of free programming workshops for kids, CoderDojo teaches programming to young, interested, individuals in multiple locations around the United States.
IDE (ages vary)
An integrated development environment is a must-have for people learning how to code. Whether the IDE be BlueJ, Eclipse, or Microsoft Visual Studio, kids will have an easy way to debug, compile, and run their code.
Hackathons (ages vary)
There are plenty of hackathons all over the world that are not only free, but give you the chance to learn coding skills from experienced mentors, support you through your journey of bringing your cool coding idea into fruition, give you swag, and give you free food!
Thank you for reading this article and I hope that you take this advice to heart and give your kiddo the opportunity to explore a potential passion and find his or her reason for coding. If anything from this list caught your interest and you wish to further pursue programming, feel free to check out the classes that we offer here at CodeWizardsHQ. Happy coding!