Learning a new skill can feel daunting at first. It can be challenging to figure out where to start, especially since there are so many options and resources available on the web today. There are several ways for kids to start learning how to code, such as taking online classes, playing and creating coding games, or enrolling in coding camps or workshops. Ultimately, the best ways for kids to start learning computer programming will depend on their individual learning styles and interests, but starting with visual languages and interactive activities are a great place to begin.
Where to Find Lessons on Coding Basics for Kids
There are a lot of online courses and tutorials available for kids to learn coding basics. These are some of the best computer programming lessons to teach kids how to code.
1. Create & Learn’s Free Classes
Create & Learn offers award-winning live online courses for a variety of programming languages and computer science concepts. We focus on providing personalized learning experiences with small class sizes, and help students learn how to create interactive and engaging projects. The courses are developed and taught by tech experts and experienced teachers to provide kids real-world knowledge and experience while learning programming skills.
Best for: Elementary, middle, and high school students that would benefit from structured learning and feedback from a live instructor
Where to begin: Sign up for a free coding class in the programming language your child is interested in to get started - most of our students begin with our free Scratch class (elementary and middle school) or free Python class (high school)
Price: Free introduction classes and a la carte pricing for complete courses
Scratch is a free visual programming language and website that kids can use to create, share, and learn to code interactive games, stories, and animations. Kids create programs by dragging and dropping blocks of code that represent programming concepts like loops, variables, and conditional statements. The blocks are color-coded and have specific shapes to make it easy for kids to understand the different types of code.
Best for: Elementary, middle, and high school students that prefer self-guided learning and exploration
Where to begin: Kids can play around and make projects on the Scratch website. To learn how to code with Scratch, kids in grades K-2 can start by taking our Scratch Junior class, while kids in grades 2-5 can take our Scratch Ninja class. We also offer an Accelerated Scratch class for kids in grades 5-8.
Price: Kids can explore the Scratch platform and start creating projects for free. Kids can also get started by taking one of the free intro courses for the level they are ready for before signing up for the full paid course.
Code.org offers a wide range of interactive coding tutorials and games for kids to learn programming and computer science concepts. These resources are designed to be engaging and interactive and are available for free to anyone with an Internet connection. Code.org also organizes the Hour of Code campaign, which is an annual global event that aims to introduce kids to computer science and programming through a one-hour tutorial.
Best for: Elementary, middle, and high school students that prefer to learn at their own pace while creating interactive projects and games
Where to begin: Choose from any Hour of Code tutorial to get started
4. Raspberry Pi Foundation
The Raspberry Pi Foundation provides online resources and tutorials to help kids learn computer programming at home. The Code Club World, geared towards kids aged 9 through 13, teaches kids how to code through creative and interactive activities. Kids can learn how to code a character, design a shirt, or create music. The Raspberry Pi Foundation also offers projects that students can create by following step-by-step tutorials in a variety of programming languages.
Best for: Elementary, middle, and high school students that prefer to learn at their own pace while creating interactive projects and games, and using a physical object - a raspberry pi.
Where to begin: Explore the guide for parents, visit Code Club World, or complete one of the projects on Raspberry Pi Foundation's Learn page
Price: Free resources and step-by-step projects
How to Teach Kids to Start Learning Computer Programming
There are many ways to teach kids programming, depending on their age, skill level, and learning style. These resources are great places to start and provide various interactive and engaging ways to develop programming knowledge and skills. The most effective way will depend on your child's needs and interests, so it is helpful to try different approaches to find what works best.
1. Visual programming languages
Start with visual programming languages such as Scratch or Blockly, which use blocks to represent code and make it easy for kids to understand the logic behind computer programming. These languages allow kids to create interactive games and animations, which can help to keep them engaged and motivated.
2. Project-based learning
Giving kids a project to work on can help to keep them engaged and motivated. For example, you can have them create a simple website or game. This approach allows kids to see how their code is being used in real-world applications. Our courses implement a project-based learning approach, allowing students to create their own simple project by the end of each class.
3. Coding games
Because kids like playing games, the opportunity to design and make their own games with code can further motivate them to learn. Here are a handful of easy games to code that your child can begin with.
4. Interactive tutorials
Online tutorials and exercises can be a great way to teach kids how to code. Kids can use tutorials to supplement their in-class learning, to reinforce new skills they've learned and tackle new challenges. We have a bunch of fun Scratch tutorials to try. Beginners can get started with these five fun Scratch exercises.
5. Hands-on experience
Enrolling kids in coding camps or workshops can provide them with hands-on experience and guidance from experienced instructors. These programs are often tailored to different age groups and skill levels. We offer coding camps throughout the year on a variety of topics that allow students to get personalized attention while learning programming.
Ways for Kids to Start Learning Computer Programming
Lessons, interactive tutorials, and projects are great ways for kids to start learning computer programming. These resources make coding fun and interesting and help kids learn how these skills can be used in the real world. You can also read more about teaching kids to write code to help your kid get started.
Written by Jamila Cocchiola who has always been fascinated with technology and its impact on the world. The technologies that emerged while she was in high school showed her all the ways software could be used to connect people, so she learned how to code so she could make her own! She went on to make a career out of developing software and apps before deciding to become a teacher to help students see the importance, benefits, and fun of computer science.