Let's get your student started with coding for first graders! Today's children have a thrilling way to play and learn through coding. This isn't just about typing on a computer; it's about developing creativity, problem solving skills, and having an absolute blast doing it! Discover the best programming language for first graders to get started, great coding classes with engaging teachers that will help your student develop a passion for computer science and learning, and even free coding platforms that make learning accessible to all. Turn screen time into an educational adventure: coding is not only fun but a stepping stone for the future.

Start learning right away by joining an award-winning online coding class led live by an engaging expert and designed by professionals from Google, Stanford, and MIT: Scratch Junior.

What's the Best Coding Language for a First Grader?

Block coding is great for first graders who are learning how to code. In this type of program, kids can drag and drop colorful digital blocks to create different combinations of code to create animations and games. This type of language empowers kids to learn foundational coding skills without having to type. That's important because often typing can lead to more errors and prevent code from running entirely.

The most common block coding language new coders learn at this age is ScratchJr. ScratchJr was designed by the MIT Media Lab specifically for kids ages 5-7, as a way to begin programming. To get started, download ScratchJr on the App Store and on Google Play for free. Launch the app. And click on the Home icon to start a new project.

How Can First Graders Learn Coding?

There are undoubtedly many online resources and platforms where you can get information and knowledge about how to help your first grader learn to code. But what happens if they get stuck on a line of code, learn outdated information, or find all it too overwhelming or confusing? They probably won't stick with coding, and they might never want to return to it. The opportunity to foster their passion for computer science might flash by in the blink of an eye.

As the chart below reveals, there are many options for learning kids coding. Live classes offer some of the most compelling benefits when comparing some key factors such as supportive help, interactivity, and thoughtful accurate learning paths that set students up for success.

Live online classes are a great solution for helping your 1st grader explore computer science and discover how it aligns with their interests. They are likely the best shot your student has at gaining real coding skills soon, because passionate teachers will guide students and support them. In addition, live online courses adapt the material to kids' learning styles, they help students when they run into tough problems with their code, and they taking the 'thinking' off your plate with a carefully designed curriculum - so you don't have to plan your student's next step or worry that the content will be out of their reach and overly frustrating.

Learning quickly and accurately in live online classes and camps will best equip your student to gain valuable computer science skills. They are an investment, but they don't have to be forever. For example, here at Create & Learn, you can pick and chose the classes your child enrolls in based on their schedule and interests: which can easily match your child's preferred time engagement and growing passions. Check out our curriculum and learning path for students in grades K-2.

Of course, there's not just one solution for learning something new. Pairing live online classes with additional materials, such as free online websites and apps that encourage self-discovery, is a great way to round out your student's coding education. We'll share some of the highest rated options by kids and parents below.

Join Top Coding Classes for First Graders

The following award-winning first grader coding classes are a modern and engaging way to introduce young children to the world of programming. These classes are designed with young learners in mind, utilizing colorful visuals, simple drag-and-drop interfaces, live expert guidance, and interactive games and projects to teach fundamental coding concepts. Designed by professionals from Google, Stanford and MIT, and offering certificates of completion, these first-grade-friendly coding classes are an innovative gateway to technology education, providing a fun and supportive environment where little ones can begin their coding adventure.

1. Scratch Junior

In this fun Scratch Junior class, first graders will create a series of animations and games while learning about core coding concepts. For example, your child will learn loops, messaging, how to capture events in a game to take action, and a lot more. A live expert will lead them from simple projects with different characters working independently, to connecting characters with complex actions. Your child will also get to apply their artistic skills to create their own sprites, tell stories, and share their math and science knowledge! Get started with the intro class:

2. Scratch Junior Coding Club

Create something new every week with Scratch Junior coding! Put the Scratch Junior skills you've already learned to create weekly new projects for 6 weeks, including original challenges and fascinating projects. Join along live online as an expert guides first graders through a different project from start to finish in a 45-minute session each time including hide and seek; fairy says; word puzzle; color fun; and much more.

3. Budding Digital Artist

Did you know computer science isn't just coding? The field of computer science includes many different areas such as AI, Data Science, robotics, game development, UI/UX design, and cybersecurity, that may interest your child. Students who like art and design will really enjoy this class! There are so many different way for kids to be creative with art these days: drawings, digital photography, stop motion video, digital art design, and more. In this class, students explore a wide range of digital art topics and basic techniques to try many different things. Your first grader will enjoy creating a fun art project every session, and learn to appreciate great design in their daily lives, while exploring many different types of art mediums.

4. NASA Science

From Mars and aliens, to galaxies and rockets, space fascinates many kids and adults alike, and is the source of powerful imaginations. In this class, your kid will learn a wide range of topics related to space science, NASA, and practice other STEM skills. Every session is project based to encourage curiosity and develop problem solving skills. In each session, students will learn cool new things about space and science, then build small projects and play games sometimes to make it fun and strengthen their learning!

Free Coding Programs for 1st Graders

Free coding programs for first graders make the world of technology fun and approachable, laying down the first building blocks for a future in coding and computational thinking. By employing a playful and interactive approach with visual elements, they engage children's natural curiosity and creativity. Explore a free app, free tutorials and projects, and more.

1. ScratchJr app

Free, Ages 5-7, iOS and Android

Scratch Jr. has a large online community and high ratings. It is free block-based coding website designed for kids that can enjoy instruction from a live expert and a small class size. Here are some fun ScratchJr project ideas for your student to try.

2. Hour of Code tutorial by non-profit Code.org

Free, Ages 4+, Web-based

Code.org is a great option for kids because they can learn, study, and practice at their own pace. Explore the free Hour of Code tutorials to find a project that interests your student: make mazes, beat beaver achiever, create robots and puppies, complete beach cleanup, and much more. These activities are pre-reader friendly!

3. Daisy the Dinosaur

Free, Ages 4-7, iPad Only

Meet Daisy, the friendly Dinosaur! Through a simple drag-and-drop interface, Daisy the Dinosaur teaches kids the basics of coding. Kids can animate Daisy and make her dance on their screen. First graders will start to intuitively grasp the basics of objects, sequencing, loops and events by solving this app's challenges. And it's totally free!

Get Started with Coding for 1st Graders

Coding for first graders is no longer a futuristic concept; it's a present-day reality that's shaping the way young minds engage with technology. With an ever-increasing emphasis on digital literacy, starting the coding journey at an early age has proven benefits. A study showed that children who were introduced to coding activities in preschool have a significant effect on mathematical reasoning skills of children. Early exposure to programming doesn't just build technical prowess; it fosters creativity, enhances analytical thinking, and prepares children for a world where technology is intertwined with every aspect of life. Coding for first graders is more than just child's play; it's a fun and enriching experience that lays the foundation for a generation ready to embrace the future with confidence and creativity. So why wait? Let your student's coding adventure begin!