These days, every child should learn how to code — even if they don’t want to become software engineers or app developers when they grow up. In addition to learning about technology, coding skills also teach kids basic logic and problem-solving, which will help them with just about any career choice in the future. If you want your children to learn how to code, here are some of the best tools out there to teach them the fundamentals of coding and computer science skills. These are The Best Tools to Teach Kids How to Code
Superpowers from Noobs
Kids love these new tools because they give them access to a world where anything is possible. The best tools that teach kids how to code are Apps, Websites, and Educational Classes. I recommend checking out Scratch for apps; Codeacademy for websites; and Coursera or MIT courses on YouTube for educational classes. It’s never too early to start! There are many different ways to learn the basics of coding so it’s up to you which way suits your style best. If you want something more hands-on, try taking a course in person with an instructor or enrolling in an online class like those offered by Coursera or MIT OpenCourseWare.
What if every kid knew how to code?
There is a serious lack of qualified programmers in the marketplace, with some analysts projecting an 800,000 global shortfall by 2020. Learning how to code is a valuable skill, and teaching it in schools will allow children to be more creative when approaching real-world problems as they get older. In this way, coding is the literacy of the 21st century–everyone should have access.
This is a problem.
Scratch from MIT Media Lab
Scratch is one of the best tools available. This is a programming language that makes it easy for kids to create interactive stories, games, and animations—all without writing any code. All you have to do is snap together sequences of colorful blocks with pictures and words on them, like puzzle pieces. That’s all there is too it! The program then runs what you created in your browser, so kids can see their work come to life. With Scratch, kids don’t need an advanced computer science degree or technical knowledge of coding languages in order to make something cool happen on the screen.
Small Basic from Microsoft
Microsoft Small Basic is a programming language that looks like a visual version of the iconic Hello World program. It’s designed to teach kids how easy it is to create software with only lines of code. Microsoft makes it possible for students and other learners of all ages (not just kids). They explore the basics of computer programming and data science, from designing apps, solving problems, and making video games to exploring mathematical concepts.
TurtleBlock from Akash Mehta and Alice Tang
TurtleBlock is a computer programming and game design system for kids as young as four years old. It provides a fun, graphical environment that lets children program their own games and animations, using drag-and-drop coding. It’s easy enough for beginners to use and powerful enough for advanced programmers. A free online version of the app also includes tutorials and short lessons.
Hello Ruby by Linda Liukas
Hello Ruby is a guidebook designed for kids with no prior programming experience. The book introduces basic concepts such as telling the computer what you want it to do, coding loops, and understanding what code means and why we use it. It’s a delightful way for kids as young as six to get started on their coding journey.
Hopscotch by Google
Hopscotch is an easy-to-use app that teaches kids how to code. Kids are able to make their own games, in any language of their choice, and play them back for hours of fun. The app can also teach your children about geometry or physics with interactive tutorials. Best of all, it’s free! If you want a more advanced option, try the Hour of Code by Computer Science Education Week. It provides instructions on 50 different programs in 20 languages, and best of all, it’s free too!
Animation programming with Tynker (Pratham Books)
Pratham Books partnered with Tynker, a platform for children and their parents that provides free learning resources. For creating code-based animations on the iPad, to create Animated Darsha’s Curiosities. Pratham Books compiled some of the best stories from Indian writers and illustrated them. The app was released earlier this year in September. It is available on iTunes and Google Play Store.
Avalanche! (No Starch Press)
No Starch Press created Avalanche!, an activity book that teaches Python programming concepts through game design. Players learn how to make games by navigating through different levels of difficulty. They are entertained by a story about two snowboarders who want to beat each other in the big race at Avalanche Gulch.