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Great Resources and Tools for Kids to Learn Programming

ArticleID 191  
Writer Isaac Thuku
Category Personal Article
Computer programming can be a challenge especially for kids. It gets even more challenging when your kid is not familiar with what entails coding. This has been evident with many children across the globe. On the other hand, it is becoming necessary that kids learn how to program. In an effort to meet this objective, individuals have created apps, software, as well as guides that simplify the process of computer coding and make it understandable for kids. If you are a parent or a guardian looking to simplify the process, the following are great resources and tools, you can share with your kids to help them learn programming.

Resources from MIT Media Lab’s Scratch Team

This tool is one of the most popularly used resources for coding with children. Its key objective is to help parents teach their kids how to code. It targets children who have very little skill in programming or none at all. Its teaching methodology serves its purpose by allowing kids to create animations as well as stories by using building blocks. These building blocks mimic the structure used in computer coding. Scratch also comes with a simplified web-based beginner guide making it one of the best resources for beginners. Parents can also download the beginner guide as a PDF version. You can work with ScratchJr. or Scratch. The latter is a more advanced level of the previous tool. ScratchJr. Allows kids to use drag and drop blocks ensuring simplicity whereas Scratch allows kids to share their creations from the scripts they create through coding blocks online.

Pros

- They are simple
- They are captivating and fun to capture your kids interests
- They are user-friendly

Cons

- It only targets the younger kids

Programming Tutorials from Made with Code by Google

The key objective of Google as a resource for programming is to encourage more female kids to have a preference for programming and coding. In this, they will be able to pursue careers in computer science. The added advantage with this resource is that it comes in both intermediate and beginner lessons. Whether your kids are getting started or have little knowledge on programming, you can be sure that they have something to educate them. Another key feature is the ability to gain access to more tutorials, as they will periodically release new offerings.

Pros

- It is simple to understand
- It can be used by both younger and older kids effectively
- It is a gradual tool that advances with every achievement
- It allows for versatility with more tutorials in the resource section

Cons

- It needs a guide to help maneuver the system

Lessons and tutorials from Code.org

In an effort to advocate for computer science learning in schools at an earlier age for kids, Code.org introduced lessons and tutorials with a special target for students of color. Though it was launched in 2013, it has had a great impact on students. You will find useful lessons such as K-8 Introduction to Computer Science. You will also see the several links that lead to informative tutorials from different sources.

Pros

- It allows for diversity as it provides more content through links
- It is simple and fast to grasp even for beginners

Cons

- It is rather specific and not ideal for everyone

Best Apps and Websites for Learning Programming and Coding

This resource is provided by Common Sense Media and is provided on their Graphite Platform. It highlights reviews of some of the most popular programming tools. Professional teachers provide the reviews. The idea is to provide a highlight on how easy the apps are to use, the quality as well as the level of engagement. It offers tools for younger kids and some for older kids to help develop kids as they grow and provide more programming and coding tips. In this, there are tools for the different levels you are your kids. Some of the available tools in each category will include the following. However, it is important to note that there are more tools that you can explore. Depending on your kid’s age, you will be able to identify the best tool for him or her as they come with a recommended age.

Younger kids

- The Foos. This coding game is story based and it starts out as a simple task but with every level of success, it becomes more challenging to help sharpen the skills. The recommended age is 5 years and above.
- Kodable Pro. This is strictly for beginners and it will provide information for parents to help their parents’ guide their children through the basic lessons of programming and coding. The recommended age is 6 years and above.

Older kids

- Lightbot. This tool pushes kids to meeting programming goals because every time they meet these goals, they are able to unlock new levels, which have more advanced concepts thus improving their programming and coding capabilities. The recommended age is 10 years and above.
- Codeacademy. This tool offers an interactive interface that has several programming languages. It offers several skill-level tracks in that every time a kid succeeds in a previous level, he is able to access the next, which is more challenging. This is recommended for 13 years and above.

Pros

- It offers a variety of tools and lessons making it diverse
- It considers tools for both beginners and kids who have some slight know-how in the field
- They are user-friendly
- They offer free trials

Cons

- After trials, one has to purchase the tools

Tynker’s Hour of Code Free Activities

This resource is designed specifically to target young kids. It is fun and offers a suite of games that are attractive in an effort to ensure kids are attracted and that their attention is directed towards learning. It offers basic computational thinking and programming skills for kids. Parents can help their kids to get started with the help of the included parents section, which provides ideas and tips for starters. For kids who want to get started, this is one of the best resources for kids to learn programming and coding because the activities are intriguing and captivating.

Pros

- They are ideal for beginners
- They are easy to comprehend
- It comes with tips and ideas to better your kid’s experience

Cons

- It is specific to beginners only

EdSurge Guide: Teaching Kids to Code

This is designed specifically for parents to teach their kids. It offers a comprehensive guide that provides articles such as Teaching Coding: Where Do You Start? In addition, it will provide you with more than 50 tools that parents can use with their children.

Pros

- It provides supporting literature to better your kids user experience
- It is diverse with several tools

Cons

- Parents or a guardian must be involved especially in the previous stage.

Teaching kids how to code and program is becoming an essential feature especially because the world is majorly operating through technology. In reference to kids, it boosts their creativity and encourages them to sharpen their intellectual skills. The above are great resources and tools for kids to learn programming no matter their age or level of understanding.
scratch, best programming languages for kids, learn programming, coding, games
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