In our younger school days, coding was still this kind of futuristic idea that seemed like something you had to be Steve Jobs to figure out. Of course, we now know that’s not the case, and that there are lots of different ways to learn how to do it. Whether you’re five or 55, coding is possible! Right now, we’re focusing on the five-and-up age range so you can start teaching your kids how to program their own apps and games instead of having them just draining your phone battery by playing them.
1. Code Studio: This is an interactive open-source learning platform that teaches your li’l geniuses some computer science 101. Code Studio teaches the basics of coding with puzzles and familiar games that are great for kids in K-12. They even get to test their skills by going behind the screen of Angry Birds. This course will help your kids understand exactly what coding is and how it’s used.
2. Bitsbox: Your kid will never get bored with coding if they’re getting lessons on monthly basis via USPS — plus, kids love getting mail! The service is available for kids seven and up and teaches them how to build apps. They want to give your kids the know-how to turn them into programmers by taking it one step at a time. They can even customize the Bitsbox app with their skills.
3. Tynker: This coding game may just replace Angry Birds as your kiddo’s favorite game, and it’s even better because they’re learning along the way. It’s just a matter of dragging and dropping, and before you know it your little one is learning the basics of coding at the same time they’re learning the alphabet. Tynker is the perfect tablet game to keep your kids occupied.
4. Tickle: This iPad app is for the slightly older crowd. Funded on Kickstarter, Tickle teaches kids to code and make their own apps and games with tools thought up in an MIT Media Lab project called Scratch. They can grab objects like blocks and build something that they can watch come to life right on screen. You know, kind of like when you played with LEGOs as a kid, but way more techy.
5. mBot: Yes, this robot can teach your kid all about programming. This bot uses Scratch to connect with open-source hardware so it can help your kiddos branch into robotics. Your kids can create their own bot functions with a simplified, color-coded wiring system. They can make a bubble-blowing machine and steering wheel to coordinate with an onscreen game. And that’s just the beginning. This project is a Kickstarter campaign that’s already topped $100K, so get it while the getting is good.
6. Zuri: There are more bots where that came from. Zuri is a cardboard robot that’s DIY from start to finish. You start with cardboard and glue and end with coding and programming to bring the bot to life. The project is still in the prototyping phase, but we’re keeping it bookmarked because DIY + coding = our dream project.
7. Play-I: Want a bot for your smaller tots? Bo and Yana are just what you’ve been looking for. Your kids can work the bots from an iPad and the bots can even communicate with each other. They can play with classic kids’ toys and interact with the environment. It’s great for kids as young as five.
8. Made With Code: Leave it to Google to create an amazing new way to teach girls (and boys) to code. Kids can tackle different missions and projects right from their account on the site. They can even DIY their own 3D-printed jewelry thanks to a partnership with Shapeways. Your teen programming prodigies will even get matched up with mentors to inspire them to keep innovating.
9. Move the Turtle: This game sounds simple enough, but as your kiddos (five and older) move the turtle, they’re really tackling projects and learning the basics of programming, from the simple to the complex. They’ll become familiar with workflows and tasks of coding without even knowing it.
10. Hello Ruby: Sometimes to go high tech you’ve got to get back to low tech. Hello Ruby is a storybook and a workbook for kids from ages five to eight. The story follows Ruby, a small girl with a big imagination. With each adventure she encounters, Ruby is learning about technology in a really memorable and easy-to-understand way. The book goes beyond just coding and into the story behind it so that, hopefully, kids can create new stories with code.
Are you teaching your kids how to code? We’d love to hear your tips in the comments!