The Best Apps To Teach Kids Coding

Teaching kids to code apps or progam can be a challenge. So why not try some apps that are designed to ease the process while engaging children? Diane H Wong from DoMyWriting explains that coding apps for toddlers and programming apps for kids are becoming more popular as IT and computer science continue to gain popularity and momentum in our increasingly technological global marketplace. Let’s break down some of today’s best apps to teach kids coding:

#1 Scratch

Scratch is probably the most recognizable name in coding apps for kids and is currently utilized by schools across the globe. The app is free and available on the web and for Android and iOS, most likely the reason for its wide recognition. A separate version called ScratchJr is designed to be used by younger kids ages 5 to 7, for use on mobile platforms. The standard version is best suited for elementary students and teenagers.

Scratch was developed in 2003 by MIT students and staff. The app features coding language aimed at 5 to 16 year-olds. The language uses visual blocks (or bricks) that can be dragged-and-dropped on a workspace to build logical chains. This helps children to understand the basic principles, or the building blocks of coding. Scratch is also known for a wide variety of learning materials, instructional guides and discussion forums.

#2 Kodable

Kodable is another relatively well-known coding app for kids. It is available for free both for iPhone and iPad; unfortunately, there is no option for Android or web. Kodable also has a paid pro version that allows access to more features. Like Scratch, Kodable is suitable for younger kids as well as older teenagers (from ages 6 and up). At the same time, the app goes beyond the basics and will guide users from basic to more complex levels of coding.

Another great thing about Kodable is that it features instructional lessons that users can follow to get a full experience and comprehension without additional assistance. It also focuses on programming languages such as Javascript, HTML, Python, Java, CSS, and others. Every lesson comes with instructional materials, a list of related vocabulary words, and other extra materials. The game-like format engages kids and teens by allowing them to choose a character and move through levels while learning.

#3 Tynker

Tynker is a free coding app available both on the web and for iOS devices, but it also has a paid premium upgrade option. Although it is a relatively new app, it has already become quite popular. Visually, Tynker is very similar to Scratch, but it is mostly focused on teaching programming instead of direction application (as it is in Scratch). It is suitable both for younger and older kids and teenagers with an option to study Python for high school students.

Tynker offers a variety of features to help kids learn to code. Like Code Monkey, it uses games and puzzles to engage children. It also offers lessons, class materials, story-based challenges, and learning modules for learning Javascript and Python. What’s more, Tynker has a library of user-made projects that can be accessed by other learners to share with the Tynker community of users. In this way, Tynker has the enviroment of an online classroom.

#4 Daisy the Dinosaur

Daisy the Dinosaur is a free programming app for iPad and iPhone. What sets it apart is the fact that it was specifically made for kids ages 4 to 7, making it the perfect choice for younger learners. The app was created by the same team that previously developed another coding app for kids called Hopscotch. If you or your child is familiar with Hopscotch, you will find Daisy easy to navigate because it has a similar user-friendly interface with limited features that is best suited for beginners.

Of the apps reviewed here, Daisy the Dinosaur has the most comprehensive and easy-to-grasp introduction into the world of programming for young learners. Using functions such as conditionals and loops, it allows the child to avoid memorizing terminology and focuses instead on the logic of application. The user can move the character of Daisy to jump, move or dance with the use of drag-and-drop commands.

#5 Lightbot

Lightbot is not a free app but is worth the fee for those who are seeking more advanced options. There are two versions: an Android version that costs £2.33 and an iOS version that costs £2.99. The app is designed for children and teens ages 4 to 13. Lightbot is considered to be one of the more challenging program apps so it best used by fast learners or those who already have experience with programming and are at a more advanced level.

The app starts with easier levels and advances to levels that become challenging, even for adults. Users receive brief instructions at the beginning of every level to guide them through the process. Levels can be replayed until the user experiences a sense of mastery. Completing one level will get the user to the next level.

#6 Cargo-Bot

Finally, Cargo-Bot is a free coding app available for both Android and iOS devices that is suitable for children ages 10 and up. This app features puzzle challenges that incorporate a robotic arm that can be programmed to perform various tasks, primarily moving different colored boxes to create a particular design or pattern.

Cargo-Bot was initially created on an iPad by using a touch-based coding app called Codea. Codea, in turn, is based on the programming language Lua so that the logic used to develop Cargo-Bot is very similar to the language of Lua and prepares learners to use Lua. As Lua is not designed for beginners, Cargo-Bot is a good starting point for those that want to become proficient at Lua.

Final Thoughts

In summation, teaching children to code is a great tool for any child with an interest and passion to learn more about computer science. Apps designed for different skill levels and with different modes of inviting children in and keeping them engaged provide a mass appeal depending on a child’s learning level and style. Now that you have a run-down of the best available apps to teach kids to code, here’s to the next generation of future coders! Let’s get these kids coding!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Frank Hamilton has been working as an editor at essay review service Best Writers Online. He is a professional writing expert in such topics as blogging, digital marketing and self-education. He also loves traveling and speaks Spanish, French, German and English.

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