Coding for 12 year olds should be a main focus in schools and summer camps! In this post, we will discuss fun ways to get 12 year olds involved in coding to learn valuable computer science skills that will set them up immediately for success, as well as for later on in life.

At 12 years old, students are likely feel confident trying something new, but also will need the right balance of support and games to stay interested.

So today, you'll discover some ideas to get your tween interested in computer science! Don’t let your student miss out on the beauty of coding and all the opportunities it will open for their future.

To jump right into learning, start with a free award-winning beginner-friendly live online coding class designed by experts from Google, Stanford, and MIT.

Can a 12 year old learn coding?

Yes, a 12 year old can learn coding very easily! Oftentimes, 12 year olds are beginning to get involved in gaming, social media, and other elements of technology. Animations and video game creation are all based on coding. 12 is the perfect age to spark an interest in coding, specifically so that as the child enters high school they begin furthering their coding skills.

Explore coding for 12 year olds

Oftentimes, if students learn code after the age of 12, they begin to lose interest and experience a lack of confidence in the subject. Let's take a look at some classes, toys, and robots that can help peak their interest.

Top free coding programs for 12 year olds

Here are some of the top free coding programs to get started with.

1. Create & Learn's coding program

Create & Learn offers computer science classes in 35+ different subject areas. These classes are small group sessions of about 5 students, and are taught live by an engaging instructor. The award-winning curriculum is designed by experts from MIT, Stanford, and Google. There are also many free coding classes to try first, to see what sparks your teens interests!

Pros: Interactive with live feedback and personalization
Cons: Need to attend class at a specific time

2. Code.Org's coding program

Plethora of choices and games! Tons of tutorials and independent learning opportunities.

Pros: Expansive and global
Cons: Children will need to work independently

3. Blockly.games

Block-based coding for beginners! Uses interactive challenges for high engagement.

Pros: Entertaining and fast-paced
Cons: Independent work and requires parental assistance

Discover the best coding classes for 12 year olds

Here are a few teen favorites for learning coding and essential computer science skills.

1. Accelerated Scratch Coding

A great introduction to beginner-friendly coding for middle schoolers. Design your own games and animations quickly!

Pros: Based on simple block coding
Cons: Basic Scratch is not as fun for older students

2. Python Coding

Transition from block coding to text coding! Students will learn to animate in Python.

Pros: Entry level, game-based, and fun!
Cons: Requires a solid understanding of Scratch

3. Roblox Coding

Roblox coding is very intricate but empowers you to create your own games and world. This class builds students throughout the process, from basic functions to complicated programming!

Pros: Based on a very popular game, Roblox
Cons: Lua is a harder language to learn than others

4. Website Design

This fun hands-on class teaches students how to build beautiful professional looking websites for themselves, friends, and communities using Wix. This class covers a wide range of topics in Web Design, starting from the basics of how to use WIX and how to structure your website, to designing layout, choosing color schemes, and even to creating a web store to sell products.

Pros: Learn how to make something you can use again and again
Cons: At 75 minutes it's a longer session each time than other classes

5. Website Coding

Build your first web pages, and learn how the Internet, browsers, and the web work! Learn how to build your very first fan website featuring some of your favorite things. Before finding out how to build more complex web projects, from drawings and animations to online games.

Pros: Learn a real-world skill you can use again and again, nice small class size so you can enjoy individual attention
Cons: Javascript can be challenging to pick up

6. Mobile Coding

Learn the basics of the mobile programming environment and find out how to code your very own apps.

Pros: Bring your app ideas to life yourself! Nice small class size so you can enjoy individual attention
Cons: A phone is needed if you would like to run the apps on a phone. But it is optional.

Best apps for 12 year olds to learn coding

For tweens that prefer to learn on their own, and progress at their own pace, apps can be great supplemental learning.

1. SoloLearn

Available for iOS and Android; Allows students to learn coding languages like Python and Java from anywhere!

2. Encode

Tiny lessons that allow students to learn coding like HTML and CSS in small chunks.

3. Mimo

This app teaches coding through game creation and website development.

Coding toys for 12 year olds

Coding toys are interactive, with a purpose and mission, and can be great for tweens with a shorter attention space. These toys teach children basic coding and programming concepts through play. Here are some of the most popular toys:

Coding robots for 12 year olds

Coding robotics is a great application activity once 12 year olds learn simple code. Creating robotics code gives the robot instructions to follow. This stimulates scientific inquiry and encourages students to utilize trial and error to produce a desired result. Here are some coding robots that utilize programming in their daily functions:

Get started with coding for 12 year olds

To get your 12 year old started in the field of coding, try a free coding class or app! Depending on your child’s interests and learning preferences, there are many options on the market for you to choose from, such as Create & Learn's online classes for grade six and above.

Apps are nice because you can have your child learn when it works for them, at their own pace. Meanwhile, online live classes are great because they get feedback from a live teacher and many of the classes are free. We hope this gives you ideas regarding where to begin your student's coding journey.

Written by Lauren Mauel, a Create & Learn instructor with 8 years of teaching experience. She also has a BS in Mathematics, an MS in Analytics, and is a PhD candidate. She loves seeing kids' creativity come alive.