With so many coding tools for kids out there, it can be difficult to narrow down where to start for your child. Variability in kids and their interests and motivation are a factor to be considered as well. If you know the WorkChops team, you know we don’t believe that one-size-fits-all in anything, especially Maker endeavors. This guide can help you choose a web-based, free coding platform for your child or class. We’ve tested various programs and found these three to be some of the best for learning to code.
For the creative kid: Scratch. Scratch was developed by the MIT Media Lab and is one of the best and most popular block-based coding platforms for kids. Because of it’s huge popularity, there are tons of guides, videos, books, and other resources for getting started with this programming language. The website itself has some tutorials, and kids can learn a lot about Scratch and coding simply by building basic projects and exploring the various code blocks. With Scratch, kids can make animations, games, stories, and more. This makes it a perfect introduction to coding for the creative kid, because it feels like a natural transition from drawing and creating on paper to creating animations with code. Additionally, Scratch is a fun (and well-moderated) social coding platform for kids, where they can post their projects for others to see, play games made by Scratchers across the world, comment, and “Remix” projects created by other kids.
I hope this list helps you to choose an engaging coding tool for your child or school based on what you know about them. Of course, every child is different so the program you expect would motivate them might not click- it is certainly worth it to try a few different programs until you find the right fit. Also, motivated coders may have a great time using multiple platforms. I have had students who enjoyed using all three of these within the same academic year! If you try any of these tools, or if you have others you suggest for different types of learners, comment below and let us know about your experience.