In a modern world driven by technology, soon, programming and coding skills will be vital for students. There are some tried and true platforms that my kids have used in their own K-12 education and ones I've discovered being a parent that has a career in big tech. All the tools below are amazing platforms that will get your kids started learning how to code and hopefully become a fun hobby that teaches them problem solving and allow them to get a sense of pride in being able to build something.
If you think teaching coding can be a challenge without knowing how to code yourself, I've got good news for you: learning coding with your kids is a really fun hobby where you both get to learn together.
Today's innovation in new platforms that are dedicated to teaching kids how to code are amazing and make it really fun to code, sometimes even through gamification. Below, I share with you an understanding of what coding platforms are and go through some of the best ones available out there.
What is a coding platform?
A coding platform is an environment that programmers use to write code. All external dependencies (software and hardware) that an application (software) requires to execute correctly must be present in the environment. In simple words, a coding platform is where you will create or develop your application or software.
There are many coding platforms available online where any beginner in programming can learn. However, every coding platform has its benefits and drawbacks, which might differ significantly depending on the project at hand. There will be times that your form of coding needs advanced technology, while many, and most likely you will need as a beginner, may be completed on a standard laptop.
Whether you wish to learn a new programming language, many tools and resources are available. And the good news is: more of this website platform and application is FREE.
If you want to make coding more enjoyable and creative, there are a variety of coding programs/coding platforms that you can use, and many of them are even free. For kids under ten years of age and under, below are my absolute favorite tools to use.
MakeCode is a powerful coding platform developed by Microsoft. A free programming platform, it also runs on all platforms and browsers.
Using Microsoft MakeCode can help you more in coding as they offer a variety of topics and lessons and easy projects for kids. They also offer projects for teachers who are just starting to teach coding.
Scratch is educational for programming developed by MIT. Scratch is free and can be downloaded as an app or used in a modern web browser or a website platform.
Scratch is also beginner-friendly as this platform targets children 8 to 16 years old. Scratch uses block-based programming tools for building interactive stories, games, art, simulations, and more.
Google CS, also called CS first, is another beginner and user-friendly coding program for grades 4 through 8. It is also a free program that introduces kids to computer science through video lessons and modules.
CS First is developed by Google and uses block base coding in Scratch and their video lectures to help students learn coding.
Everyone loves free education, and thankfully, there are a ton of applications and platforms to choose from.
Check out the following free coding platform for kids to learn basic programming skills:
If you want to enhance your kid's creativity, Root Coding is one of the coding platforms that have more content than just blocks. Root Coding offers systematic lessons to show you how to utilize it and code.
Some of Root Coding tutorials are around building and navigating an obstacle course, composing a song, or creating an artistic design. They also offer other various applications to learn code, such as challenges and games. However, this platform has many disadvantages as free content only covers Level 1, limited multilingual and accessibility assistance, and purchase of hardware is required.
When it comes to students engagement, Code.Org is a great website to go for learning coding as they offer engaging exercises to help students work at their own pace and keep challenging. More so, they use characters from Minecraft, Starwars, Disney, and popular game apps to influence their game-based learning experience.
Code.Org will let you learn more than basic programming and algorithms lessons. This website also includes a wide range of topics in computer science, from how the internet works to Big Data to digital citizenship and privacy.
SpriteBox Coding is an all age’s friendly application and has a beginner-friendly coding environment. This application offers a fun puzzle game that reinforces basic coding fundamentals.
As the player progresses, your child's critical skills will be enhanced in this application. There will be additional challenges, and challenging code blocks are introduced to help solve problems.
This application is both available in Apple and Google Play. SpriteBox Coding used to be a free application, but now it costs $4.99 to download.
Code For Life
Among other coding platforms, Code for Life is unique as not only will it teach you beginner-level coding with simple puzzles, it will also walk you through the game creation world using Python. They offer a thorough curriculum with detailed lesson plans that are easy to follow.
For Teachers, the range and depth of resources available are excellent. Teachers who want or need help teaching coding can find extensive lesson ideas at each level.
Code for Life is also free and recommended for Grades 1 to 12 students. The only disadvantage of this application is that students may get bored with its puzzle format for early learning as it is repetitive.
Blue Bot application is designed for Pre-K–2 users as it is fun and easy to use. Aside from the application, Blue Bot also offers a robot that can be controlled by an Android, iOS, Mac, or Windows device using Bluetooth. While the application is free, the programmable Blue Bot Robot has a fee of $119.95.
While Scratch website platform is designed for beginners, ScratchJr was created to appeal to younger children. It is recommended for children grades K-2 to learn basic and beginner-level coding.
Scratch Jr has a substantially more straightforward interface than Scratch's, making it easier for young children. The amount of blocks used in ScratchJr, for example, is significantly fewer than in Scratch.
Scratch is a free website platform popular with block-based coding language developed by MIT. This coding platform website is best learned by students between Grade 2 and 12.
Since Scratch is one of the most popular coding platforms for beginners, it has a massive resource and support network that can be readily integrated into various topics.
Your kids will learn Coding while developing Arts, Communication & Collaboration, Creativity skills using Codeable Crafts Application. A free application available for Android and Ipad, Codeable Crafts is an intelligent rethinking of basic Coding that combines easy crafts such as coloring, stickers, and cut-out shapes with visual block-based Coding to encourage youngsters to generate animations and tell stories.
Basically, with Codeable Crafts, kids get a quick lesson in computer programming basics, starting by creating animating stories.
Cork the Volcano - Puzzlets
This free application available for Android, iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch focuses on teaching Coding using hands-on puzzle tiles. While playing an exciting game that extends outside the screen, students learn to think in new ways.
Cork the Volcano is recommended for Grades K-5 and will enhance the learner's Science and Critical Thinking skills.
Learning basic coding may be complex and complicated; however, with the right resources, it can be fun too! Not only will you get knowledge of Coding or programming itself that you can use today for your career or your kids future.
And these days, we all know that the Internet and digital world is growing and in the world of learning, it is an advantage as we get many resources – including getting knowledge. Getting started in learning Coding is now easy using these resources as many of them are engaging, simple to use, and would not even let you spend money to know as many of them are free.
I hope you grab the opportunity to learn coding for free using these best platforms to teach your kids.