Coding? What’s that and why do I need to get my kids apps for coding? Good question!
Remember secret code fun when you were a kid? Remember making up codes with your BFF and using it to write encrypted messages back and forth? Messages no one else could read? A=1, B=2, C=3. I think that’s where we all started. Old school coding.
Today’s coding is simply using a special language to command a machine or computer program to do what we want it to do. It’s a partner to math. It’s going to be a gateway skill for employment in the very near future, about the time some of your children exit high school and start their post high school life.
And, coding is a blast! Kids take to it like ducks to water. The coding apps and sites have gotten better in the last several years and I thought it was time to round up some of the best and pass the tips on to you.
Ages 5+. Free on all devices – Android, IOS, Mac, Kindle Fire. I found this one looking for updated apps to put on my granddaughter’s iPad and, as we have played with it, I found it really can span a wide age range. By codeSpark. Award winning. Play Foos Hour of Code and get a certificate at the end!
Ages 5+. Free app for iOS and Android. I could see early elementary youngsters enjoying this app for awhile. It’s easy to use. The interface is a little cartoon like but the ease of success is very rewarding! Well. I even like it! For best results spend some time learning it with your child so you can help her get acclimated to it.
Ages 12+. Sign up for a free account on this excellent coding site and get started. The tutorials on computer languages and building apps and websites all use easy skill development steps. User friendly. Your kids (and you) can do this. I just learned that my friend Jana recently released her own trivia app in New Zealand!
Ages 12+. A free site from MIT where tweens and up can learn how to create apps. “There’s an app for that.” Right? We say this like the cliche joke of the decade. But, it’s no joke. Apps really are where it’s at. And, from MIT? Can’t get better than that. Easy to navigate the site. Easy to learn the skills. Lots of tutorials designed to teach, and your child will have a finished, working app at the end.
Ages 12+. A site designed by professional women in computer science who want to help girls learn coding through creating videos. The feedback from the girls is that they love this site! A well constructed and intuitive site with lots of girl created videos to view. The results are stunning! A Free Forever option as well as paid options. Free forever sounds good to me!
Ages 8+. Free to join and use. Scratch is an online media community maintained by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab. At this point there are 10,492,287 projects shared on Scratch, created by children around the world! Wow! Scratch has been around since 2007 or so, and like many things in the coding world, has just gotten better and better. Easily used in school and at home.
Your Turn Now
I could go on and on about the coding apps and sites that you might find once you start looking. I’ll let you get started. Watch this TED Talk by Mitch Resnick from MIT, Let’s Teach Kids to Code, for even more inspiration.
Like learning a foreign language such as French or Spanish, the young mind learns it faster and better. So, check with your child’s school to make sure they are including learning to code in the curriculum. It even meshes with Common Core standards. Most of all, you can easily do this with your family at home. Learn it and help them learn it. It’s playful and interesting.
Have fun and let me know what you think!