A few years ago I wrote a Best Apps series. As part of that series, I wrote an article featuring the Best Apps for Coding. I’ve updated that article every year, but it’s limited to coding apps, and there are so many coding resources for kids outside of apps!
In writing about coding apps, I’ve found coding websites, coding courses, coding toys, coding subscriptions, and coding books. If you are looking for a toy to give your child a little introduction to coding or a course that really challenges a child who already has some coding experience, you’ll find lots of options below!
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The Ultimate List of Coding Resources for Kids
Coding Websites for Kids
Age: 8 & up
ATT Internet has put together an incredible FREE website for kids which teaches the basics of coding. Kids will go through a well laid out, structured, mini coding curriculum where they will learn:
- What computer programing is
- Data and variables
- Control structures
Kids receive a certificate when they complete all the coding modules. And the website has a nice list of additional coding resources for kids as well.
Age: 9 & up
Price: Monthly subscription with FREE trial
Monthly options starting at $9.99
If learning through gaming isn’t your child’s preferred learning method, be sure to check out the newly added online courses from Code Combat.
Age: 4 – 13
Price: $4.95/month or $9.95/month for 3 kids
CodeMonkey takes a gamified approach as it teaches kids programming skills. In CodeMonkey, a gorilla has stolen the monkey’s bananas. The goal of the game is to get the bananas back. Kids not only learn coding in a fun way, but they will also improve their math skills as they use a ruler and calculate their monkey’s steps towards a banana.
Kids go across almost 400 challenges and learn how to write a simple code phrase to make CodeMonkey move across the screen to retrieve the bananas. Each new level introduces an additional piece of code or a new function.
Age: 8 – 16
At Scratch, kids can program their own interactive stories, games, and animations and share them with others in the online community. It is free for users and is a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab.
Coding Courses for Kids
Age: 11 – 16
Price: Pay per course
Free trial, then courses start at $199 (Self-Paced) or $499 (Teacher-Led)
If your child is interested in learning Python, Bitsy Bytesy is a great option. What I love about this is you are not overwhelmed by a ton of online coding courses for kids to sort through. They offer high-quality Python courses for kids. That is it! And they do that one thing really well. A few reasons to consider adding Bitsy Bytesy to your kids’ coding lessons this year:
- Kids can go through Python courses from beginning to master level.
- Lessons are short and easy to understand.
- Class sizes are kept to 3-6 students so your child can receive attention and help when needed.
- Classes do not just teach Python; they teach critical thinking and problem solving.
- Courses use an in-browser editor. So, you do not need to download and install a software program to participate in the class.
Wondering if the self-paced or teacher-led option is best for your child? Consider how your child likes to work. Do they work best independently? If so, the self-paced course will give them the opportunity to dig in and learn at a pace that is comfortable for them. If your child needs more 1-on-1 personalized teaching, go with the teacher-led option. This gives them teacher feedback on their homework and ensures they have the help and accountability they need to succeed.
Age: 4 – 17
Code.org is used by over 52 million students worldwide! Here you can find coding courses and activities that are completely free. And they run the popular Hour of Code.
Age: 5 – 16
$20-$29/month following FREE trial
Code Avengers is a subscription-based coding course that offers students unlimited access to hundreds of coding lessons and projects. All the instruction takes place within the Code Avengers web app, so there is no need to download and install any software. Students can take notes, view their courses, and monitor their progress on their personal dashboard. Lessons are conducted using a combination of text-based instruction and videos. And certificates of completion are given when students finish a course.
Age: 12 & up
Basic Plan is FREE; Pro is $19.99/month
CodeCademy teaches virtually every coding language through fun simple exercises. The website is user-friendly, and it is easy to find the course you want. I love that CodeCademy offers so many courses for coding under their basic plan. It is a great way for students to explore coding. If your child does want to learn coding beyond the basics, you will want to upgrade to the Pro version.
$25/month or $149.99/year following a free 14-day trial
CodaKid offers hundreds of self-paced courses. They are well-designed and laid out in a way that is easy to follow. The style and format of the coding courses at CodaKid are different than other online coding courses. They are recorded and produced with a younger animated personality. Kids who love watching YouTubers and Twitch will likely connect with the teaching style of CodaKid better than other online coding classes. Some of the features I love best about CodaKid:
- Self-paced coding courses allow kids the opportunity to work through the classes at their own pace.
- Subscription gives unlimited access to all the coding courses.
- They offer a free 14-day trial so you can try it out and decide if the style and format are a fit for your child.
Age: 9 & up
Free 14-day trial; monthly options starting at $10
- Designing with HTML & CSS
- Breaking down problems into smaller pieces
- Recognizing important patterns
- Creating and computing models
- Automating solutions to problems with algorithms
Age: 9 – 17
Price: Pay per course
$450 per course
CodeWizardsHQ offers live, online coding classes for kids. They offer 6-week accelerated online coding courses for kids. Or kids can sign up for their more traditional 12-week online coding classes. Classes run year-round, so kids can take classes when their schedule allows. High school students can take advantage of their internship program and get real-world experience with a nonprofit organization. Some things that make CodeWizardsHQ stand out from other online coding classes are:
- Both interactive live classes and recordings of the classes are available to students.
- Access to free one-on-one office hours with teachers
- Hands-on, project-based learning
- Ability to download slides from every class
- Receive certifications from all courses they complete
- Opportunity for real-world internship
Age: 7 & up
Price: $299 and up
idTech’s on-site coding courses and camps are now available online, making their offerings available to kids worldwide. If your child seriously wants to learn coding, idTech.com offers excellent courses, 1 on 1 tutoring, and online summer camps. They also have several after-school coding programs. Students can gather a few of their friends and book a coding course. Courses are all taught by highly trained professionals with expertise in the field of technology. Most after-school clubs and courses run in the $299 range, and discounts are available.
Age: 8 & up
Age: 3 – 18
Price: Pay per course
Classes start at $10 but most coding classes are roughly $250
Outschool offers classes on a variety of subjects including coding courses for kids. Classes are small and taught using Zoom, a live video conferencing program. What I love about Outschool is the variety in both the classes you will find, and the days/times classes are offered. It is easy to search for classes by day, age, or format. This means busy families can find the perfect class for both their schedule and the needs of their child. Outschool is the perfect option for kids who want to learn to code and want some social interaction.
Age: 8 – 17
Price: Pay per course
$80 registration fee (includes 2 lessons); $96.00/month per course; courses run 9 months
TekkieUni offers live, online coding classes for kids. Kids meet once a week with a teacher and other students in a virtual classroom where they can have real-time interaction with their classmates and teacher. They can also screenshare and view lessons the teacher shares from their computer. Best of all, lessons are recorded, so students can watch them again if needed.
In addition to the 1-hour live, virtual weekly lesson, students can take part in a weekly practice hour with a teacher and join practice sessions where they can ask questions and receive personal attention from the teacher. These additional practice times give students the opportunity to work on the skills they are learning and progress at a pace that is individualized for them.
Age: 5 – 17
Starting as low as $10.00/month; or get a lifetime membership for $180.00
Kids can learn with interactive tutorials, then go on to create an unlimited portfolio of games and projects to share and play with friends. And, Tynker has homed in on what kids really want to create and share by featuring coding activities with popular franchises like Minecraft, Star Wars, Roblox, and Barbie. This gives kids the ability to code a skin or weapon for their favorite video game.
Age: 12 & up
Price: $11.99 and up
Udemy is a huge catalog of online courses. At the time of writing, Udemy has over 4500 coding courses! You can find many coding courses for kids among these. What is great about Udemy is anyone passionate and talented about a topic can develop and teach a course. The downside is you need to read the reviews in order to decide if a course is going to offer your child any real value. That said, there are some good coding courses available for kids at Udemy.
Coding Software for Kids
Age: 9 & up
GameMaker 2 Studio is a software program that allows users to create games with minimal coding skills. Their visual programming language means kids can use a drag-and-drop code to make and customize 2D games. There are many tutorials to help kids get started coding games on GameMaker 2. Games can be exported and played on a multitude of devices: Windows desktop, Mac OS X, Ubuntu, Android, iOS, tvOS, fireTV, Android TV, Microsoft UWP, HTML5, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. GameMaker 2 is a great jumping off point for kids who want to learn to design video games.
Age: 9 & up
Price: Free; you can upgrade to the Student Studio Version for $149.00
Stencyl is an easy-to-use program for creating 2D flash-based games for mobile, web, and desktop. Much like Scratch, Stencyl employs the drag-and-drop method of teaching coding to kids. It is free so it is a great option for kids who want to try their hand at coding games. And, if your child loves it, you can upgrade to the student studio version. This version gives them the ability to publish and sell the games they make.
Coding Apps for Kids
Age: 5- 9
7-day free trial then $7.99/month
CodeSpark Academy is not just an app; it is a full coding program for kids. Kids will learn programming skills that apply to all computer languages like sequencing, loops, and conditionals. And kids love the fun animated Foos. Some of the features I love about CodeSpark Academy:
- Unlimited coding challenges
- Full access to Game Maker
- New content added each month
- Track progress of up to three children
- Available for Apple devices, Android devices, and desktop computers
CodeSpark Academy can be used as a teaching tool. And unlike other apps, your child will not outgrow or tire of this coding app in a month.
Age: 4 – 10
7-day free trial then $6.99/month or $49.99/year
- Sequence/order of operations
- Algorithmic operations
- Conditional logic statements
- Problem solving skills
- Higher level thinking skills
- Collaboration skills
- Communication skills
- Critical thinking skills
Age: 9 -11
Lightbot is a programming puzzle game. Kids 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. 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 the number of levels finished, number of stars collected, and number of overall commands used to complete the game. Lightbot can be downloaded and played on iOS, Android, and Amazon devices.
Age: 10 & up
Swift Playground is a free app designed by Apple for iPad. What makes Swift Playground so unique is it uses Learn to Code lessons as the basis. Kids are guided through interactive puzzles and solve a wide range of coding challenges. You can view Apple’s Everyone Can Code Curriculum Guide for more information on using Swift Playground. Or, check out their coding resources for educators.
Coding Subscription Boxes for Kids
Age: 6- 12
Price: Starting at $16.96/month
BitBox is a fun monthly subscription box for kids that teaches coding. Each month, kids receive a box with a mix of coding projects. Projects range from simple to more advanced. Kids can begin coding with no previous experience and no parental help is needed. Kids simply start with the code material sent in the subscription box, then change it to make it their own. The best part is, they can then use and share their app on any computer or device.
Hands-on Coding Games and Toys for Kids
Looking for a screen-free toy that teaches coding? Botely the Robot requires no phone or tablet. This 2019 Toty Winner is perfect for kids 5 – 12.
Code-a-Pillar Think and Learn teaches early coding and problem-solving skills for kids ages 3-6 years. Each of the segments (there are five) has a dial for kids which kids can turn to program a path for Code-a-Pillar. There are over 1000 possible combinations to keep creative kids engaged and learning.
This is an impressive new STEM learning toy for preschoolers. Arrange the segments in different orders to make the Code-a-Pillar perform different functions.
Age: 4 & up
Coder Bunnyz is a board game that teaches simple coding concepts like loops, branches, functions, and conditionals, as well as advanced concepts like inheritance, parallelism, list, stack, queue, and algorithm writing. So, it can be played by everyone in the family. The object of the game is to use coding cards to get your bunny through the maze to its destination. This is a fantastic screen-free way for kids to learn coding.
Age: 4 & up
Coding Critters won the 2020 Toty Toy of the Year Award for the Best Preschool Toy and it’s easy to see why! This 100% screen-free activity teaches young kids coding. It comes with a full-color code-along storybook which guides kids through fun coding adventures. The set also comes with a 22-piece coding playset that includes a house, slide, tennis ball launcher, and more! I love that Coding Critters can be set to Play Mode for additional play options. In this mode, kids can pet, feed, and take care of Ranger just like a real pet.
Age: 6 & up
This is the ultimate bundle when it comes to coding toys for kids! Dot and Dash are ready to go, straight out of the box, so kids can begin coding using block-based coding skills. In addition to both the Dash and Dot robots, the Wonder Pack comes with building brick connectors, charging cords, a tow hook, a bulldozer bar, a launcher and balls, target stickers, a bunny ears and tail set, and a xylophone. There are five free apps for iOS, Android, or Kindle Fire 8 kids can use to help Dash and Dot sing, dance, navigate obstacles, respond to voice commands, respond to each other, and work together to solve the app challenges. These apps give your child hundreds of hours of fun coding challenges. And the accessories let kids turn Dash and Dot into things like a catapult or a bulldozer. Kids can see their coding skills work in real life.
If you are looking for a hands-on coding toy that will grow with your child, this Dash and Dot Wonder Pack is it.
Age: 6 & up
Price: starting under $20.00
When it comes to coding toys for kids, Kano is hands down my favorite. Kanos are perfect for kids who love coding and want something beyond a coding app or course. They use quality materials and fun themes, all while making coding fun. Kids can build their own computer and code it using Raspberry Pi3. Kano also makes coding kits for Star Wars, Harry Potter, or Frozen fans.
Age: 10 & up
With LEGO Mindstorms, kids can build and code a fully functional robot to walk, talk, and even play games or complete tasks! The set comes with 601 pieces and includes the intelligent EV3 Brick, 3 servo motors, plus color, touch, and IR sensors. Build a robot and program and control it with the free EV3 programmer app! This toy pulls a hefty price tag, but it will bring hours of learning and fun for kids who love to see their coding skills in action.
Age: 8 – 12
Let‘s Start Coding is a hands-on kit that teaches kids to code using a kit and a computer app. Kids follow along with the lessons and projects provided. The lessons include videos that teach both the code and the concepts behind the code. It’s great for elementary and middle school students who want to move from block coding and learn to write code.
Age: 5 & up
Osmo transforms your iPad or Fire tablet into a hands-on coding adventure that grows with your child. The Osmo Coding Starter Kit lets kids build coding skills in progression with three hands-on learning games: Coding Awbie, Coding Jam, and Coding Duo. Kids learn to code as they connect colorful blocks of code in the physical world to chart the adventure on their screen. If your kids love the Osmo Coding Starter Kit, be sure to check out all the other activity kits from Osmo.
Age: 4 & up
Robot Turtles is a fun, screen-free board game for young kids. It was designed by programming expert Dan Shapiro and was the most-backed board game in Kickstarter history when first released. It’s easy to see why! There are multiple levels to add, so very young kids can play, and the game grows with them. Robot Turtles was designed for parents and children to have a fun play experience together. And I genuinely believe that’s what makes this game so unique. It’s truly a way to teach coding to your kids while not “teaching” it at all. This is a gift to buy in bulk and give to every family on your shopping list this holiday season.
Coding Books for Kids
Age: 8 – 12
Price: $15.23 paperback or $5.99 Kindle version
I love DK books. They are wonderful for visual learners. And Coding Games in Scratch does not disappoint! It teaches kids important strategies for solving problems, designing projects, and communicating ideas, all while creating games to play with their friends using Scratch.
Note: DK also has Coding Projects in Python for kids who are learning that coding language.
Age: 10 – 12
Price: $9.99 Paperback; FREE on Audible
Reshma Saujani wants to inspire you to be a girl who codes! And since 2012, her organization, Girls Who Code, has taught computing skills to girls across America. Girls Who Code: Learn to Write Code and Change the World weaves real-life stories of girls and women working at places like Pixar and NASA and explanations for coding principles to show girls how coding plays an active role in our lives. This book inspires girls everywhere to create their own apps, games, and robots to make the world a better place.
This completes my Ultimate List of Coding resources for kids. I didn’t list every coding website, coding app, coding course, and coding toy or book for kids; I listed ones I’ve tried, tested, evaluated, and found to be the best! New coding resources for families are popping up all the time. As they do, I’ll continue to check them out and add ones that are truly educational to this list. So, be sure to earmark this page and check back often, especially if you have a child who enjoys coding!
Do your kids love to code? What are some of your favorite coding resources for kids? Share with us in the comments below!
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