Are you navigating the exciting world of computer coding for children and wondering where to start or how to help your student further build their skills? This guide will be your north star, shining light on the best coding classes for kids (including free coding classes!) and sharing tips on how to introduce your child to the mesmerizing language of computers. We'll delve into fun, engaging resources that turn learning to code into a child's play, all while fostering essential skills like logical reasoning and creativity. Give your student an edge in their coding journey today.
For live expert guidance, join free award-winning coding classes for kids, designed by professionals from Google, Stanford, and MIT.
Discover the Magic of Computer Coding for Children
Astoundingly, a report by Code.org states that 90% of parents want their children to learn computer science, yet only 25% of schools teach it. Let's bridge this gap by starting at home. Today we'll explore some of the best coding classes to get your child started. Share some tips on teaching kids coding. And even reveal some free coding resources.
Explore the Best Coding Classes for Children
The best coding classes for children help develop students' passion for coding while empowering them to solve real-world problems. Here are a few coding class platforms that are highly recommended by experts, parents, and kids alike.
Free sessions, for all ages 5+, live online classes, small group
Create & Learn is an award-winning computer science platform that offers live online expert-led computer coding classes for children. The curriculum was developed jointly by tech experts and experienced educators from Google, Stanford, and MIT, with a strong focus on developing students’ creativity and critical thinking skills using project and inquiry based learning. From beginning coding with Scratch Junior through to advanced AP classes, your student is sure to discover their passion for technology and continue to grow. Begin with a free Scratch class or free Python class.
2. Khan Academy
Free, for all age groups, online, wide range of topics
Free basic plan, premium plans available, for teenagers and above, online
Codecademy is an online platform best suited for teenagers looking to delve deeper into coding. Their hands-on learning environment ensures your student will be writing real code from their very first lesson. It covers a wide array of languages like Python, Java, and more, and is self-paced. It offers a free basic plan, and there are premium plans for more comprehensive learning.
Unveiling the Secrets: How to Teach Coding to Children
Teaching coding to children can be an exciting journey! Here are a few steps to consider:
It begins with fostering an interest in computers and technology. Kids love coding, but when they understand that code built all of the games and programs that they love, they become positively thrilled at the idea of designing their own. If you can define coding and explain how different coding languages work, you can relate those languages to things your kids already enjoy. Are they into gaming? They might like to learn Java, the language used to make Minecraft, or Unity and Unreal, which are used to make most major PC and console games. Do they like VR or AI or Robotics? Then Python might be perfect for them. Even if they only like LEGO or sports, you can find ways to relate these interests to coding in a way that will get them excited about coding.
Introduce them to the basics through simple and engaging games like Blockly or Scratch, which are designed to make coding fun and intuitive. Scratch is a free, visual, block-based coding language that allows kids to develop their own games, apps, and animations using colorful, easy to understand blocks of code reminiscent of LEGO blocks. By sticking the blocks together, kids can go from coding simple animations to coding sophisticated games that they can then share with the largest community of kid coders on the Internet. Scratch teaches fundamentals and is a stepping stone toward learning more advanced, text-based computer languages. As they get more comfortable, you can introduce text-based coding using languages like Python, which is particularly user-friendly for beginners. Also, encourage them to create their own little projects – it could be a simple animation or a mini-game. Remember, the goal isn't just to memorize commands or syntax, but to cultivate computational thinking and creativity.
Coding isn't about getting it right the first time, so celebrate their efforts, encourage perseverance, and make debugging a part of the learning process. Failing and troubleshooting are daily activities in professional software development, but for kids, this constant frustration can prevent them from pushing forward and engaging with material that seems challenging or cryptic. Especially for young learners, being self-paced can be a great way to cultivate a sense of fun and enjoyment around coding. Self-paced doesn’t mean self-taught, however, and while it’s possible for kids and adults to learn coding on their own, for beginners, having a structured environment, and ideally a talented teacher, can make a huge difference in building long-term interest.
Explore Free Coding Resources for Kids
The internet is teeming with free resources to help kids learn coding. Here are some of the best resources for teaching kids to code:
- There are free live online coding classes led by experts, and online tech events for kids hosted by professionals from Pixar, Intel, Google, and more.
- Kids can also enjoy Scratch coding for free and start exploring tutorials. Additionally, platforms like Code.org offer interactive coding lessons targeted at young learners. Hour of Code, as a part of Code.org, provides a variety of 'one-hour' coding activities for students of all ages. For kids interested in app development, MIT App Inventor is a fantastic free tool.
- And don't forget about YouTube! Channels like Create & Learn, Scratch Team, and Code.org provide step-by-step guides for various projects. Remember, the best resource is one that keeps your child engaged and curious, so don't hesitate to explore and experiment.
What is the best programming language for my child to learn?
The best programming language for most children starting out is Scratch. Scratch coding offers kids (ages 8-16) the opportunity to design interactive stories, animations, and games very quickly. Which helps keeps kids engaged and excited right from the start.
It is a blocked-based coding language designed by the MIT media lab - imagine an experience sort of like building with digital LEGOs - that makes it easy for students to learn code by helping them focus on the concepts of coding (such as loops) without having to type syntax and risking mistyping a letter, preventing all their code from running.
To begin learning programming a small group format, from a live expert, get started with the most popular beginner coding class, designed by professionals from Google, Stanford, and MIT: Create & Learn's Scratch Ninja class (for Grades 2-5) or Accelerated Scratch (for Grades 5-9):
Alternatively, for your youngest students, Scratch Jr. is a somewhat similar platform (a free app) designed by the same MIT team, for children ages 5-7. To bring things to life in the app, kids connect together simple graphical programming blocks to help characters move, jump, dance, and sing. Again, this helps kids master coding logic, without getting frustrated by needing to write coding syntax. ScratchJr works on iPads and Android tablets. So to get started, you can download ScratchJr on the App Store and on Google Play for free.
We also offer a fun live online class for kids in kindergarten to first grade, Scratch Junior, that teaches coding with Scratch Jr with live expert guidance.
For teenagers just starting coding, who don't mind putting in a little extra work outside of class, Python can be a good language to learn rather than Scratch. Python is a high-level coding language used by companies such as Netflix and Google, and it is also used for web development, game development, building apps, machine learning, and so much more. Join our award-winning online Python coding class, led live by an expert.
If you're having trouble deciding between Scratch or Python for your child read more here.
How to Learn Online Computer Coding for Children
There are many online resources and platforms where your children can get information and knowledge about how to code for free. 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 student 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. Explore our curricula here: grades K-2 | grades 2-4 | grades 4-6 | grades 6-9 | grades 9-12.
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 child's coding education.
Start Computer Coding for Children
Computer coding for children is more than just a new-age skill; it's a fundamental stepping stone that builds logic, creativity, and problem-solving prowess in kids. Consider trying out an award-winning Scratch class to get started, which offers engaging, age-appropriate coding lessons. Happy coding!