So, you’re looking for a programming course for kids? Choosing the best one can be a daunting task, as there are many great options available online and in person. In today’s article, we break down some of the considerations for choosing an appropriate class for your child, and recommend some great resources to get them started programming.
The best programming course for kids
When it comes to some of the best programming courses for kids, Scratch is very popular language to begin with. Scratch is a platform designed by MIT that has a drag-and-drop interface that allows students to quickly code by organizing and connecting code blocks, and it is largely syntax-free (no typing!). Because of its visual interface it allows students to focus on the logic and critical thinking of coding, without getting stuck due to typing errors. It’s a great place to start a young coder’s programming education.
Scratch is also critically acclaimed and research-supported: one study found that Scratch “stimulates learners’ various abilities, such as creativity, problem solving, logical thinking,” and a recent experiment found that Scratch has a “positive effect on reflective thinking skills of the students.”
Here's where to begin
Create & Learn’s Scratch Ninja class (Grades 2-5) is a great way to start your student’s coding journey. This set of classes cover everything from Scratch fundamentals to complex Scratch tasks. We walk students through all the different blocks, teaching them core programming concepts that extend far outside of Scratch. We have made our classes project-based, meaning that in every class, students get to work on an animation, game, or other task they can customize and feel proud about. Younger students will enjoy our ScratchJr class and older students can begin with Accelerated Scratch.
Additionally, our Scratch classes are designed to fit all students’ needs and preferences. We offer an organized learning path that moves students along a logical coding progression, building from the ground up. For example, explore the learning pathways for students in Grades 2-4. Our curriculum is designed by experts from Google and MIT, and all content is taught live by instructors with extensive experience. All classes are small group, meaning your student will get individualized attention and feedback.
Our format works, but don’t take it from us. Our classes receive many positive reviews:
"My son tried out the free class and he loved it. So, we signed up for the full Scratch Ninja class. I have been really impressed with my son's instructor. She goes above and beyond to ensure that my son and the other students in the class get a good understanding of the materials and concepts covered in each class. I highly recommend Create & Learn!" - Richard A.
"We are super happy with every aspect of Create & Learn. My daughter was able to take 2 intro classes to see if she likes the topics and content (she loved both and the teachers!) She is taking Scratch Ninja and we are looking at more classes. The instructor is a wonderful teacher. More than that, the personal feedback and attention for the students and parents, the immediate response to questions and advice is amazing. Truly recommending Create & Learn." - Natalie F.
"My son is currently taking Scratch Ninja 2 and he is really enjoying every session. I love how every session makes his creative juices flowing. The instructor is an amazing teacher too. She is very helpful and very patient too which is a total bonus. I highly recommend this to every kid who enjoys computers and games and of course for those who like to think through creativity." - Charmaine A.
If your student may be ready to move beyond Scratch, be sure to explore other coding for kids classes, too.
What age should kids start programming?
All coding requires patience and problem solving. Students should be able to sit still for half an hour or longer, and should be encouraged and willing to try tasks independently. If they meet these two criteria, they are likely ready to start programming. At the end of the day, you know your child’s current abilities, and can likely make a good decision as to what they will enjoy.
How can I teach my child programming?
To teach your kid to code, here are a few simple suggestions:
- Sign up for a coding class: The quickest way to learn coding is to take lessons. Working with a teacher in a small-group setting or one on one allows students to get immediate feedback and rapidly develop coding fluency. That’s Create & Learn’s philosophy, and it’s why we offer so many different classes geared at students of all ages and expertise levels.
- Join a coding club. Many schools have after-school coding clubs, such as Girls Who Code or Code Club, that provide a supportive network for students who want to learn coding. These clubs have great resources and are nationwide. We also offer a live, online game-building coding club where students can create awesome games each week.
- Try a project on code.org. Code.org has many starter projects that students can attempt, and supports interests in games, web development, digital art, and more. Choose a project that is appropriate - for younger kids, finding one that involves block coding is likely the best.
- Build in a sandbox. Not all coding must be project-based; many times, learning is achieved through exploration. Help your student create a blank “sandbox,” or place to try out new techniques, in an IDE such as Scratch, and let them see what they can build.
- Code along with your child! If you have never coded, learning to do so with your child can be rewarding and a great way to bond. If you have, you can help show them fun tips and tricks while also deepening your relationship. Modeling being curious, trying new things, and problem-solving is a great way to get kids engaged and excited about programming.
Free coding classes for kids
- Scratch Ninja is our flagship coding class, and is a great fit for students who are just starting off in their coding journey. Take our free intro Scratch class today.
- Python is a great language for beginners and experts alike, and is well suited to kids who have some prior coding experience with a language such as Scratch. Begin with our free Python class.
- Minecraft coding is a great way to engage students who enjoy playing the game because it builds on something they love, and allows them to bring their ideas about changing the game to life! It's best suited for elementary to middle school children. Enjoy our free Minecraft class.
- Our Roblox Studio course is very popular among late elementary to middle school students, especially those who love playing the game! The class focuses on learning to code within the Roblox Studio, and allows students to be creative and expand their abilities in a comfortable, familiar setting. There's no risk in trying with our free intro Roblox class.
Explore some helpful free coding for kids resources and websites
- Free STEM at-home learning resources for parents: Read all about various learning resources for building a student’s interest in science and math, from games to books to online activities.
- Free Python for kids resources: For students interested in Python, find a comprehensive list of online tutorials and other helpful tools.
- Free online coding resources for helping elementary and middle schoolers learn to code: Discover more great general coding resources for younger to pre-teen students.
- Coding websites for kids: Explore another list of coding resources, broken down across all K-12 age groups.
Enjoy the best programming course for kids
Hopefully, this article has helped you think about the best way to get your child started with coding. Check out some of our free coding classes today to begin.
Written by Sarah Rappaport, who graduated from Northwestern University with undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering and music. She's now working on a masters in data with Georgia Institute of Technology. She taught math and computer science with Teach for America for two years, and now works as a Systems Engineer.