10 Best Apps for Coding
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I thought I had wrapped up my 10 Best Apps for _________ series, but I received an overwhelming number of requests for a few more lists- one of which is the 10 Best Apps for Coding. A number of you shared that you have found lists of coding apps for iOS, but are frustrated by the lack of Android and Kindle apps. Exactly! That’s a big soapbox for me as well. If you are an Android or Kindle user, the good news is there’s a great selection of quality coding apps available for kids! The majority are either free or low cost. And some have teaching guides available. (I’ve noted those with such options below.)
There’s so much to cover with these coding apps. Let’s jump right into our list!
10 Best Apps for Coding
#1 Lightbot: Coding Puzzles
Recommended Ages: 9-11
Lightbot is a programming puzzle game. Users gain a practical understanding of basic control-flow concepts (like procedures, loops, and conditionals) as they guide a robot with commands to light up tiles and solve levels. It’s so much fun, users don’t realize how much they’re learning!
Lightbot has 50 levels and 20 challenge stars to collect. There are multiple save slots and separate progress tracking for multiple players. So families can play Lightbot on the same device. Multiple players can advance at their own pace in their own save slot. Players are also able to compete on number of levels finished, number of stars collected, and number of overall commands used to complete the game.
Lightbot lets you play in English, French, Russian, Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Norwegian, Slovenian, Romanian, Indonesian, German, Polish, Danish, Croatian, Dutch, Slovak, Czech, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Thai, Hindi or Swedish! To change the language, simply hit the associated flag icon on the main screen.
There are NO in app purchases.
- Best Kids App for iPad! -Best App Ever Awards
- Best Educational Game App – iEAR.org
Recommended Ages: 4-11
Kodable app can be used alone, but you’ll get the most from it when you pair it with the award-winning Kodable Curriculum. This curriculum is designed to teach computer science to elementary students in grades K-5. And, best of all, it’s FREE! Visit Kodable for more information about the complete Kodable Curriculum.
Kids have the ability to learn concepts from an early age. Many of today’s best programmers fell in love with coding at a young age by experimenting with the very concepts taught in Kodable. Understanding computer science not only empowers your child for the jobs of tomorrow, it expands their mind to solve problems in more intelligent ways.
Kids learn the fundamentals of every modern programming language in a fun and inviting way. Kodable introduces computer science to kids using fun, furry aliens called Fuzzes. The naturally curious fuzzes need kids to program them to explore all the colorful Technomazes on the planet’s surface. Along the way kids learn:
- Sequence/ Order of operations
- Algorithmic operations
- Conditional logic statements
- Problem solving skills
- Higher level thinking skills
- Collaboration skills
- Communication skills
- Critical thinking skills
The are in app purchases available.
- Editor’s Choice Award! – Children’s Technology Review
#3 The Foos Coding 5+: Make Games
Recommended Ages: 5-10
The Foos are funny, happy creatures that teach kids to code through a series of thrilling adventures. The word-free interface makes Foos a game where anyone, anywhere can play and learn. Players won’t get bored on their adventure as they track down a sneaky donut thief, rescue puppies lost in space, and serve up gourmet meals. All the while they are learning and mastering core computer science concepts.
The Foos gameplay is based on curriculum from MIT and Exploring Computer Science at UCLA. There are over 40 puzzle levels and 3 unique creative play areas for storytelling and animation. Players can share their creations with the community of Foo coders.
Skills players must master:
- determine the actions needed to solve each Foo’s problem
- order actions in a logical sequence
- recognize patterns
- use those patterns to make their code more efficient
- test solutions
- learn from tests and try revised solutions
There are NO in-app purchases in The Foos but please note, before installing, this app offers push notifications. These can easily be disabled in your device settings.
- 2016 KAPi Awards – Best App or Product for Younger Children
- 2016 Kidscreen Award – Best Learning App
- 2015 Parents’ Choice — Gold Medal
- 2015 USA Today’s — Best Pick
- 2015 Tillywig Toy Awards – Brain Child
- Apple Editor’s Choice & Top Educational App
- 2015 Children’s Tech Review— Editor’s Choice for Excellence in Design
#4 Scratch Jr
Recommended Ages: 5-7
Scratch Jr is an introductory programming language inspired by the popular Scratch program used by millions of kids ages 8 & up. Scratch Jr has a redesigned interface and programming language appropriate for kids 5-7. Children snap together graphical programming blocks to make characters move, jump, dance, and sing to create their own interactive stories and games. They can also modify characters in the paint editor, add their own voices and sounds, and even insert photos of themselves. They can then use the programming blocks to make their characters come to life.
What’s fun and unique about Scratch Jr is the approach. Children aren’t just learning to code; they are coding to learn. They learn how to create and express themselves with the computer, not just to interact with it. Children learn to solve problems and design projects, and they develop sequencing skills that are foundational for later academic success. Math and language skills are used in a meaningful and effective way. This approach sets Scratch Jr apart from other apps for coding you’ll find on the market.
Android Users: Scratch Jr works only on tablets that are 7-inches or larger, and running Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) or higher.
#5 Tynker – Learn to Code
Recommended Ages: 9-11
Tynker is an intuitive and imaginative app for coding. It’s inspired by visual programming languages like Scratch from MIT, Alice from CMU, and other programming languages like Logo, SmallTalk, and Squeak.
More than 40,000 schools and 28 million kids have used Tynker to learn coding and computer programming skills. It’s easy to see why. Tynker has over 100 step-by-step coding tutorials!
Kids can learn with interactive tutorials, then go on to create an unlimited portfolio of games and projects to share and play with friends. A few things Tynker teaches are:
- Animation: Stop-motion animation and custom character animation
- Drawing: Pen commands, math art, kaleidoscopes, and your own art studio
- Game Elements: Scoring, health, buttons, and joysticks
- Game Kits: Arcade shooters, platforms, runners, and physics games
- Motion: Move, follow, spin, and glide objects on the screen
- Music: Music, sound effects, musical notes, drum beats, and tempo
- Physics: Falling balls, bouncing penguins, zero gravity, and cannons
- Storytelling: Slideshows, stories, comics, jokes, riddles, and quizzes
Additional puzzle sets available as in-app purchases.
- Parents’ Choice Gold Award
- Editor’s Choice, Children’s Technology Review
- Rated 5 stars for Engagement, Common sense media
- Academics’ Choice Award
- Rated “Best for 8-14” by USA Today
- Award of Excellence from Strictly Mobile
Recommended Ages: 13 & up
With the Udacity app you can enjoy these courses on the go from anywhere. Hopping on a plane without internet access? This hand app for coding lets you download classes ahead of time, and watch them when you don’t have an internet connection.
The Udacity app is a great option for busy teens and adults!
#7 Robot School Programming Game
Recommended Ages: 7 & up
Robot School is a programming game that makes programming fun for kids of all ages, regardless of their experiences. Players are introduced to R-obbie the Robot who has crashed his spaceship in a faraway galaxy. R-obbie needs a lot of energy to get back to his planet. Players drag and drop programming instructions to help him reach the fuel he needs to return home safely.
Robot School includes:
- 45 levels that teach real programming logic
- Drag and drop instructions to control R-obbie and collect the fuel
- New powers and achievements unlocked after completing each level
- A preview of your code in Swift programming language
- An easy way to share your code on Facebook
Robot School is a great logic game for grown-ups too. So, parents, play along with your kids!
There are NO in app purchases.
- Winner of 2015 Parents’ Choice Gold Award
Recommended Ages: 6 & up
A.L.E.X. is a no frills, but fun, puzzle game. Players must think logically as they plan and program their robot, A.L.E.X., with a sequence of commands to get through each challenge. Levels progress and get more challenging. 25 levels are included in the free version. Players can upgrade to an additional 35 levels with more block types to create their own puzzles. The upgrade also gives 3 additional looks for A.L.E.X.
Upgrade available as in-app purchases.
#9 Code Warriors: Hakitzu Battles
Recommended Ages: 8-14
Some of my favorite features of the game:
- Compete online against your Facebook friends using a large arsenal of weapons and across a number of awesome arenas
- Work your way up through the different coding difficulties: Beginner, Junior Coder, Coder and Hacker
- Earn coding credits as you play to spend in the Chop Shop on a vast array of weapons, textures, robot styles, and paints
- Customize your robot warriors and share your creations with friends on Facebook
If you’re a teacher and interested in bringing Hakitzu into the classroom, download the Teacher Pack for a guide to the game and lesson plans that will get your pupils coding.
iOS users: These devices are supported: iPad 2 and above, iPhone 4S and above, iPod Touch (fifth generation)
#10 Blockly for Dash & Dot Robots
Recommended Ages: 8 & up
PLEASE NOTE: This app requires a Wonder Workshop robot – Dash or Dot – and a Bluetooth Smart/4-enabled device to play. I normally only recommend apps which run without a toy. However, I feel this robot is really worth sharing.
What is Dash and Dot?
[kad_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/BqRHXSG7auY” ]
The app is FREE to play.
So what is Blockly? It’s a visual drag-and-drop programming tool developed by Google. With Blockly, children can snap together commands like puzzle pieces. These coding inventions can then be used to control Dash & Dot robots.
Kids learn concepts like sequencing, events, loops, algorithms, operations, and variables through self-directed play as they explore ways to code their robots. The app comes with guided challenges as well. Basic puzzles teach the kids concepts of coding and give them a springboard so they can learn and explore ideas of their own. Bonus puzzles are added each week so kids never get bored!
Android users: Please note all Android tablets with Android 4.4.2 (KitKat) and Bluetooth Smart/4 can download this app. These devices are supported: Galaxy Note 10.1 • Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 • Galaxy Tab 3 8.0, 10.1 • Galaxy Tab 4 7.0, 8.0, 10.1 • Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 • Galaxy Tab S 8.4, 10.5 •
Nabi 2, DreamTab • Nexus 7 (2013)
Kindle users: These devices are supported: Kindle Fire Kids Edition • Kindle Fire HD 6 • Kindle Fire HD 7 (2014) • Kindle Fire 7 (2015) • Kindle Fire HD 8 • Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 (3rd Generation) • Kindle Fire HD 10 (2015 HD Display)
Don’t see your device on the list above? Find out if it’s supported.
What are some of your family’s favorite apps for coding?
Are you looking for other great apps? Check out my 10 Best Apps for Science or my 10 Best Apps for Reading posts. And, be sure to share your favorite apps for those categories on those posts as well!
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Another nice app coding is Cricket. Great article!
Awesome! Thanks so much for mentioning it. I’ll definitely check it out.