Coding for kids is the new literacy. It covers various aspects of a kid’s learning—logic building, systematic thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and creativity.
To make our kids future-ready, we need to equip them with skills that are required in today’s industries.
You can teach your kids programming for free by selecting a suitable website from the list below that comprises some great free coding for kids websites like Code.org, Tynker.com, and Scratch Junior.
What’s taught through these coding apps for kids
The early education coding websites below teach the basic concepts of coding like commands, functions, loops, conditional codes, bug fixing and variables. The higher-level programming apps for kids cover more complex aspects and coding syntax, and provide intuitive platforms where you can build websites, apps and more.
Programming-for-kids lesson plans and activity sheets are also available on many of these websites. You can use these free coding courses to build your own skills, as well as for teaching kids to code.
What is the ‘Hour of Code’, and how you can join it
The ‘Hour of Code’ is a global initiative by Computer Science Education Week and code.org. Many of the following websites have joined the initiative by offering one hour of activities and lessons on Computer science and Computer programming for kids, to introduce students to the subjects.
The following list of coding websites for kids is sorted by the age groups that these platforms are recommended for. Not just kids, even adults can use some of the following websites to learn to code apps, websites and games.
Age: 4-11 years
The Codemonkey platform has 200+ free challenges where kids have to code a monkey to catch bananas.
In the paid version you can get access to all
400 challenges, and Game design courses—Platformer for learning the basics of game building, Frogger to code versions of the classic game, and Sprite Animation lessons. You will also get access to Challenge/Game builder where you use CoffeeScript to make computer and mobile games.
There are 35 lesson plans for teachers to guide students through this coding course. You also get a teacher’s dashboard to monitor the learning of each student.
Age: 5-7 years
Platforms: iPhone/iPad, Android, Kindle and Chrome extension
ScratchJr is a free coding for kids platform. This was developed by MIT after they developed Scratch, to teach coding to younger learners.
You can download the app on an android or iOS device, on your Kindle or add ScrathJr extension to your chrome browser.
It’s one of the best coding apps for kids with easy-to-follow code blocks. You can drag and drop the code blocks to programme games and interactive stories. On the website, you will find an interface guide, a paint editor guide to make graphics, and block descriptions.
It not only has instructions on how to code for kids, but also activities, curriculum and assessments for teachers to use in the classroom. This is one of our favourite coding for kids websites.
Age: 5+ (Grades K-12 and Higher Ed)
Code.org is one of the most widely used coding websites. It has coding classes for kids of Grades K-5, 6-12 and Higher Ed.
The platform has free coding courses on making websites and games. It teaches basics of programming, lessons on coding real apps, websites and games using HTML, CSS, Java Script and more, and other advance programming languages.
You can even undertake code.org Hour-of-code activities and tutorials, if you are just looking for a quick lesson. You can programme Minecraft animals, programme droids in your own Star Wars galaxy, code a Frozen adventure with Elsa and Anna, and learn basics through classic maze games.
They have free coding lesson plans for teachers to instruct and become experts in Computer Science. One does not need prior computer science experience to teach kids to code with Code.org.
Age: 6-12 years
This shifts your focus from memorizing tedious syntax, to using simplified emojis to create intuitive programmes. It’s very much like block coding. This helps build a strong conceptual understanding among learners. Parents can access the progress dashboard of their kids with a $ 9.99/ 3months. Get access to 400+ lessons.
Age: 4-8 years and 9+ years
Platforms: iPhone/iPad, Android, Windows, Mac, Kindle and Web
It’s a simple, game-based platform with lessons on Sequencing, Overloading, Procedures, Recursive Loops, and Conditionals. It has apps to teach coding on various types of devices. A demo version of the coding app for kids is available for Lightbot’s Hour of Code.
This cute coding app is by Hopscotch Technologies. It has a drag-and-drop interface. Using their block-based kids programming language, one can learn coding basics like object, loops, sequencing and events.
Platforms: Windows, iPad/iPhone
It’s one of the simplest code apps for kids. It covers basics concepts of programming for 6 year olds through games. It has 30 levels.
Platforms: iPad/iPhone, Android, Mac, Windows and Linux
Stencyl has a drag-and-drop interface like Scratch. Students learn to code by making games. Teachers can use the curriculum that is available on the website to streamline lessons. It has lessons on computer coding for kids that teach basics of computer science.
You can learn to create games and publish them on iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows, Mac, Linux, Flash and HTML5.
They have offer a certification programme and exam in partnership with AIA.
Age: 7+ years (Grades K-8)
Platforms: Web, Android, iPhone/iPad
Tynker.com has wonderful apps to teach coding. It teaches how to code robots, build apps, explore STEM, build games, code drones and create MOD Minecraft challenges. In the Play section, you can start coding for free with Tynker’s step-by-step instructions.
Tynker’s school packages have programming courses with grade-wise coding curriculum for Grades K-8 (it’s also aligned to Common Core Curriculum), automatic assessments and teacher guides. You can also take teacher training courses and webinars on www.tynker.com.
One can also have kids try Tynker Hour of Code activities to practice and learn coding.
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This free coding for kids platform teaches the basics of Swift coding language through in-game instructions and challenges. You will learn to code in a 3D environment, by programming characters to accomplish challenges and goals.
The fundamentals of Swift taught to kids include commands, functions, loops, conditional code, variables, parameters, operators, types, initialisation, and bug fixing.
After learning the basics, you can learn to create games, apps, etc. for apple devices. You can also learn to programme drones and robots that are compatible with SwiftPlaygrounds.
Teachers can download guides to teach coding to kids from Apple’s website.
Age: 8 to 16 years
This free coding platform for kids is designed by MIT. It’s one of the first platforms that democratised computer science education.
It is like ScratchJr, but a little advanced. With Scratch you can use blocks of codes to create animations, interactive stories and games. You can even teach kids how to programme drones and robots that are compatible with this open-source coding platform.
Students can share their creations with a growing Scratch community worldwide. It encourages students to think creatively and systematically and collaborate.
Educators can join ScratchEd community to share and gain coding lessons, activities, and knowledge about using the platform.
Age: 8+ (Grades 3-8)
Hopscotch’s kids coding app’s mission is to democratise Computer Science education, and we are all for it. You can use their programming apps for kids to make games, animations, Minecraft versions, mini websites, art and interactive projects.
They also have a paid, unlocked version of the app. Using it, you can make games like Pokemon Go and Geometry Dash. You can upload images from your camera roll to add to your coding activities and projects. You can code a project, publish it to your friends, and debug it.
Hopscotch Hour of Code has tutorials and lesson plans to make games, interactive lessons and quizzes, and other projects.
Teachers can access free lesson plans for Grades 3-8 on coding in Math, Science, Language Arts and Social Studies. This effort to integrate coding with other subjects puts Hopscotch on our list of favourite websites to learn coding for kids.
Age: 10-18 years
It teaches Python, iOS development, Java, Minecraft, 3D printing, etc. It covers various programming languages for kids, and teaches them how to code and design games and other projects. Out of its 28 courses, you can avail many for free. You can also take online coding classes with a tutor at a fee.
It gives you challenges with instructions. You follow the instruction for hands-on learning on the platform. Their well-planned, free coding courses will provide you knowledge of the Syntax of various coding languages.
You will also get the chance to test your ability to put your coding lessons to practice by helping in building a website for an NGO. At the end you gain certificates that will add value to your resume.
Learn how to code by playing a game with Code Combat. Its free 39 levels teach you coding syntax, methods, parameters, strings, loops and variables. After that, you move on to game development and web development. All this happens amid their wonderful game environment of kingdoms and dungeons. Code combat teaches through actual syntax, unlike many other block-based kids programming platforms.
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Crunchzilla is one of the simplest coding apps for kids. It has four level—Code Monster for preteens, Code Maven for teens and adults, Game Maven for ages 16+, and Data Maven for ages 12+.
You can teach programming to kids using this free, web-based platform. It teaches actual syntax of various coding languages, and gives hands-on experience, as you have to type the correct codes to move from one level to the next.
Whether you go on Pluralsight for kids or your own skill development, it’s a great platform to learn software development. It has hands-on learning lessons with instructions. There is a free trial on the website.
18. Hackety Hack!
Platforms: Windows and Mac
Hackety Hack is a cross-platform, open source application that teaches you how to programme software. It teaches Ruby programming to beginners, so that you can eventually learn to create computer and web apps that are cross-platform. It’s a free coding for kids platform. The interface is simple and hands-on, like freecodecamp.
Platforms: Web, iPhone/iPad, and Android
Khan Academy is one of the most loved websites for e-learning. It has videos and assessments for various subject. It has recently added programming for kids lessons to its portfolio.
Its Computer Science lessons cover basics of programming like Algorithms, Cryptography, Information theory and Internet 101.
Its Computer programming lessons cover JS for drawing, animation, games, visualisation, and natural simulations, HTML/CSS for making webpages, HTML/JS for making interactive webpages, and SQL for Querying and managing data.
With Khan Academy’s Hour of Code, you can practice making digital drawing, making websites, creating databases, etc.
Its coding courses include challenges with instructions, which you can put to practise in the hands-on-learning activities on the platform. Its coding courses are systematic and comprehensive. You can also upgrade to the premium version for more support on lessons.
Platforms: Web and Books
RubyMonk, as the name suggests, teaches Ruby language. It has free coding classes for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. It has hands-on activities that let you try out the code while learn about them.
Coding Bat teach Java and Python through online interactive lessons. They have text lessons and hands-on activities structured in step-by-step lessons. It’s a great way to practice coding online.
We will keep updating this list as and when we find more interesting resources with lessons on coding for kids.
From the above list, you can choose a website that has lessons on ‘how to code’ as per the age of your kids and the platforms of your choice—iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, etc..
These coding for kids websites have different ways of teaching. some teach through code blocks, and some through actual syntax and games.
You can even choose any of these platforms to conduct an Hour of Code for your kids.
We are lucky to have such plethora of wonderful learning resources to choose from. Free coding for kids websites have democratised computer science education like never before.
We hope you find this list of free coding websites for kids useful. Let us know your thoughts on this list or if you’d like us to add any website or app to the list, by leaving a comment below.
We will keep trying to bring you such learning resources in the future, too. Stay tuned!