We’re surrounded by tech, therefore it seems obvious that we need to teach our kids to code. Our children should understand how technology works so that they are more than just consumers. Technology is one of the fastest growing industries and coding is where the jobs will be.
However, the question remains as to how to make sure our children learn coding.
Coding websites for kids are a popular choice to teach kids coding, but which one is best for your child? Here’s an age wise list of coding websites for kids, organized by grade. This list includes both paid and free resources to help you decide.
Coding websites for kids in:
Coding Websites for Elementary School Kids
Puzzle pieces appear on the screen. Each puzzle piece represents a block of code, which is similar to a paragraph in a story. Kids drag-and-drop the puzzle pieces to create a sequence of code. The goal is to complete the “story” that makes up the software program. They run the program and see the results, such as an animation of a person moving through a maze or a bird flying toward its nest.
Blockly’s games require the child be able to read. Some of the games include using the number of degrees to define the direction an object moves. So, it’s not for really little kids despite it using a gamification approach and simple graphics.
Even children who have no experience with coding can use Blockly. Its aim is to prepare kids to learn conventional text-based computer programming languages.
Pricing: Free for core levels. Monthly subscription for additional levels.
Players first visit a world called Dungeons of Kithgard where they direct the hero, Anya, by writing code. After successfully completing a level, the player moves up to more complex tasks and coding. The player moves up to the next world after all levels are completed where they work through a more complicated set of challenges.
Code Combat requires the player to be able to read and type, although some code can be chosen by clicking on it in a drop-down menu.
Code Combat developers help teachers by providing course guides and wikis for their classrooms. They also promise a Course-in-a-Box containing a semester’s worth of course content.
Pricing: Annual Subscription Fee
A teachers subscription includes access to 32 lesson plans, three challenge workshops, and access to an online Google group.
Code.org Studio presents a series of four courses that teach computer science fundamentals. At the end of each course, students are able to create interactive games or stories for sharing online.
Each course, made up of a series of puzzles, videos, and activities, teaches the principles behind computer science. Course 1 is for early readers (age 4-6) and can be skipped if your child is already reading proficiently.
Students can choose to see the text-based code that is generated even though the later courses use the block-based approach for programming activities. Taken together, this series of four courses make up a curriculum that has been organized for use in the classroom and is aligned with ISTE standards.
Pricing: Free for the basic curriculum. A parent plan, available for a flat fee, includes an advanced curriculum and access on any device.
Kodable teaches computer science fundamentals through a kid-friendly, self-directed lessons.
Scratch is a programming language used to create stories, games, and animations. Kids can learn Scratch by building projects and sharing them in the Scratch online community.
Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab developed this coding website for kids. Students use Scratch to create animations for classroom projects in science and math, even though it was designed to be a stepping stone to more advanced programming languages.
On the Scratch website, there’s a step-by-step guide to help those starting out. The help page links to the printable Get Started Guide, video tutorials, and starter projects.
If you want use Scratch offline, you can download and install the offline editor on your computer.
Pricing: A sample of coding lessons is available at Tynker for free. Access to the complete library and a private Minecraft server requires a monthly subscription.
Tynker is a self-paced online programming course for kids. Kids can learn to build their own games and apps, as well as learn how to program Minecraft mods.
The programming courses are game-based and space-themed with space aliens and rocket ships. Kids progress through three levels of games/classes for the track that matches their age.
A collection of courses related to the popular Minecraft game teaches kids about mods and skins, how to create mods, and how to build multi-player Minecraft games. With a paid subscription, kids have access to their own private Minecraft server, providing a safe environment for them to build mods and then play online with their invited friends.
Coding Websites for Middle School Kids
The App Inventor site provides access to and tutorials for App Inventor, a visual programming language used to create Android apps.
Originally created by Google, App Inventor makes it possible to program Android apps by moving objects around the screen. This approach is similar to block-based programming.
MIT now hosts App Inventor online, making it available for free. Additionally, the tutorials have been refined for teachers and gathered into a Course-in-a-Box that includes video and text-based lessons. The course begins with setting up App Inventor and moves through building progressively more complex Android apps.
Pricing: A limited-time free trial or a monthly subscription is available.
Kids work through the lessons, debugging code, and completing challenges before moving to the next lesson. When they hit a snag, kids have access to online support and technical support.
Pricing: Monthly fee
CodeWizardsHQ has adopted a blended method to teach kids to code. We teach coding principles and practices using a combination of small, teacher-led classes delivered via the internet and student build-as-you-learn projects.
At the end of the curriculum, kids learn how to code real applications.
Every student has direct access to an instructor who is an experienced coder.
The instruction and projects are internet-based, so students can attend CodeWizardsHQ from any place where there is a reliable internet connection.
GameBlox is a block-based programming site for making computer games.
It’s being developed at the MIT STEP Lab and is used in after school clubs and technology courses. You can edit games, to make them more fun, or use the “Make a Game” button to take you straight to the code editing screen. The site doesn’t offer any instruction besides five getting started tutorials, but that’s all you need. However, there is an online forum on the site to post questions and YouTube video tutorials.
The games students make can be played online at the GameBlox site or on a mobile device using the GameBlox app. The app is available for both Android and iOS.
Kids can “learn by doing” on Thimble, where lessons are organized into projects. The kids choose between starting a new project or remixing (i.e., making changes to) an existing project.
Canned remix projects even have tutorials embedded in them so kids can toggle between the project and tutorial while they’re learning.
Coding Websites for High School Kids
Pricing: Free. A PRO track is available for a monthly subscription.
Codecademy offers a comprehensive set of text-based courses on web development and related programming languages.
For kids dreaming about a job in programming, the final project in the paid PRO track covers how to build a professional online portfolio.
Access to Codecademy courses is free. The paid PRO track adds a personalized learning plan, quizzes, projects, and access to live advisors.
Pricing: Limited free trial. Three paid levels.
Code HS is a coding website for kids that delivers a blended learning approach to high school computer science classes.
Code HS offers online, self-paced classes by blending video lessons, coding exercises, quizzes to assess subject mastery, and access to live tutors (for the paid levels),
A limited free level is available. The three paid levels add quizzes, handouts, lesson plans, various dashboards, and access to live tutors.
Pricing: Monthly subscription
Code School offers one of the largest selections of coding courses online for new and aspiring developers.
Each course is built around a storyline that gamifies the material taught. Instruction is delivered via video and reinforced with coding challenges. An online community forum addresses students’ questions.
In an approach based on the Japanese martial arts practice of kata, the first step in Code Wars is to choose a language and prove your skills. The coder is ranked and given a challenge based on skill level. The challenges get progressively more difficult. Coder gains Honor points for each challenge that she successfully completes. Once the coder earns enough honor points, the coder moves a level up.
The coder has the access to the solutions of other coders who have completed the same challenge once a challenge is successfully completed. By studying other coders’ approach, the student gets new insight into how the code works.
Each of these courses presents a comprehensive introduction aimed at building a base for professional level skills. There’s also a section called “Meet the Professional” which contains interviews with 11 computer programmers from around the world working in a variety of industries.
Normally Khan Academy presents its courses via video. For its programming courses it uses “talk-throughs” which are more interactive than a normal video. With a talk-through the student can pause the video and “play” with the code listed on the screen. Talk-throughs are followed by step-by-step coding challenges and projects, designed as coding practice. Finally, there’s a community programs area (i.e., online forum) where students can share projects, leave comments, and ask questions.
Pricing: Limited free access. Tiered annual subscriptions.
Vidcode is a video coding platform aimed primarily at teen girls who want to learn how to code.
Free access to Vidcode gives access to the software, some beginner tutorials, and an online community. Tiered for-pay annual subscriptions also give access to projects, lesson plans, and curriculum.
As you can see, there are many options if you are looking for coding websites for kids. You can choose which one to start with based on your child’s age and interests. From there, the possibilities are endless!