Coding for kids: Alice’s Story

Nothing is cuter than pictures of kids sitting at their computers, mastering skills their parents never dreamed of. And nothing is more popular than the current idea that all children should learn to code.

My husband, Philip,  & I strongly support this idea.  He has been in IT since he was 18 years old and wants our oldest daughter, Alice, to get involved in the IT field as well.

Alice is an 8 year old and extremely active child.  When we introduced her to coding she was hooked!  She spent hours working on her coding projects.  It was so wonderful to see her working with her father and asking questions when she hit a difficult task.

Yesterday, she received a certificate of completion stating that she has demonstrated an understanding of basic concepts of Computer Science.  

We couldn’t be more proud!

Here is the list of the main sources that could be tapped for teaching kids how to code:

Code.org
This nonprofit foundation website is a great starting point for coding novices. It shares plenty of useful online resources, apps, and even local schools that teach coding. Be sure to watch the inspirational video on the main page. Updated periodically, the current iteration features some of the biggest names in tech talking about how they got started in coding.

CodeAcademy
This interactive website is user-friendly and teaches kids basic code through fun, simple exercises that feel like games.

Code Avengers
While Code Avengers lacks the eye-catching graphics of other options, it does offer a series of free intro classes in building web pages, apps, and games. Get started with the 7-day free trial, which grants access to the first five lessons in each course, ranging from Python, to web development, JavaScript, and more. If you like what you see, register for a membership plan that cost $29/month and requires no long-term commitment. A six-month plan costs $120.

Code Combat
Best for older kids, Code Combat uses an interactive, competitive gameplay mode to stimulate learning. Once you set up your parent account, kids can be online, playing in seconds. FREE

Codemoji
Put those ubiquitous emojis to work in an educational way with this website that eschews complex codes for user-friendly expressions, quite literally. Kids learn to code by using emojis to substitute for html or css codes. They’ll have so much fun, they won’t realize the work they’re putting in. Codemoji plans start at $9.99 for three months, but include up to five kids’ accounts in that price.

Code Monster
Particularly good for kids, Code Monster features two adjacent boxes. One displays code, the other shows what the code does. As you play with the code (with some help from a prompt), you learn what each command does. FREE

Khan Academy
Known for its extensive and challenging math games, Khan Academy also has basic programming tutorials that teach kids how to build graphics, animations, interactive visualizations, and more. FREE

Lightbot
Predominantly an app-based program, Lightbot offers a FREE demo online as part of its Hour of Code. Like what you see? Its pair of low-cost programming apps are all-ages friendly. Available for iOs, Android, and Amazon devices for $2.99.

Scratch
Designed by MIT students and aimed at children ages 8 to 16, this easy-to-use programming language lets kids build almost anything they can dream. There are no obscure lines of code here. Instead, arrange and snap together Scratch blocks as if they were virtual Legos. But it’s more than just a coding guide, it’s a vibrant online community of programmers who swap ideas and inspiration. FREE

Stencyl
Inspired by Scratch’s snapping blocks system, this software allows users to create simple games for iOS, Android, Flash, Windows, Linux, and Mac systems. If your child is serious about it, there are paid pro plans that come with advanced functionality.

Tech Rocket
Founded by iD Tech, Tech Rocket’s free platform allows access to a dozen classes. For those looking for a more advanced experience, paid subscriptions are $19 per month.

 

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