Coding, as Scratch Jr stated, is the new literacy. It is the buzzword in education and beyond. There is now an increasing emphasis on incorporating computer science classes in elementary schools and, in fact, several schools from all around the world have already started teaching kids the fundamentals of coding.
One of the greatest things about coding is that when kids learn to code they also learn several other skills that go with it, educationists have a name for this learning phenomenon: it is called incidental learning.
For instance, coding games and exercises are inherently challenging and often require collaboration and teamwork. As kids work together to debug codes and find solutions to their coding problems, they do not simply learn the skill of coding (which is the skill that is intentionally targeted) but also develop (incidentally) a bunch of other key skills including problem solving, critical thinking, strategic thinking, systems thinking, logical reasoning, design thinking and more.
Indeed, coding games and activities are not only about being better at technical skills, they also develop kids psycho-social systems. The more kids collaborate and engage in coding activities, the better their sense of resilience, motivation, and perseverance become. Coding also nourishes kids sense of curiosity, creativity and autonomous learning.
Over the last few years, I have reviewed and shared with fellow educators and teachers a wide variety of educational coding resources including coding websites, coding apps, books on coding, and more.
Kids regardless of their skill level will find these materials helpful. In fact, kids do not even need any prior coding knowledge to start playing the games. There are video lessons, tutorials and guides to help kids make their way as they play the coding games.
Kodable helps kids learn coding through interactive games and fun activities. As a teacher, you can easily create a class for your students in Kodable and invite students to join. I have covered this process in detail in Kodable review for teachers. From your teacher dashboard you will be able to access pre-designed coding lessons, game courses, check students progress and track their performance.
After introducing them to coding concepts, students can access Kodable games to test their learned skills. There are three main games offered by Kodable namely Smeeborg (for beginners), Asteroidia (intermediate level) and Bug Word (advanced level). Students can further consolidate the coding knowledge they gained from these lessons and games using kodable projects.
There are three main projects which students can use to apply their coding skills: Fuzz Builder, Maze Maker, and Game Designer. Kodable also offers Hour of Code allowing students to take an hour of computer science activity at their own pace and anytime they want.
Scratch is a coding platform that teaches kids a wide range of coding skills and help them use these skills to create games, animations, digital stories, and many more. While it is specifically designed for kids 8 and 16 years old, Scratch coding resources and activities can be used by anyone interested in learning about computer science. For kids aged 5 to 7 there is Scratch Jr which is a simplified version of Scratch.
Scratch Ideas page features a wide variety of activities where students can use Scratch to design various types of creations. These activities include: animate a name, make music, create a story, make a chase game, animate a character, animate an adventure game, create animations that talk, record a sound, animate a sprite, and many more. For instance, in Imagine a World activity, students use Scratch to create the world as they imagine it. They can make animals talk, people fly, etc.
There is also the Scratch app which allows students to create and save their projects without the need for Internet connection. The app is available for free for Windows 10+, Android 6.0+, Mac App Store, and ChromeOS.
Minecraft helps kids learn coding through block-based games and activities. The Education edition of Minecraft offers a wide variety of features designed specifically for teachers and students.
These include over 600 premade standards-aligned lessons with the possibility for teachers to write their own coding lessons to submit to Minecraft. Also, Minecraft Education offers support materials for using coding and programming across curriculum covering subjects such as history, STEM, Language Arts, space exploration, and more.
Minecraft Education allows teachers to facilitate Hour of Code at their schools and classrooms. They simply need to set up Minecraft Education edition, choose a lesson plan from the lesson library, then start facilitating the Hour of Code in their class. There are several resources including video tutorials and guides to help teachers incorporate computer science lessons in their teaching, some of these materials are provided for free. However, Minecraft Education is not free it offers different pricing plans.
Coding Park helps kids learn coding and computer science through fun video games. It also provides a wide variety of educational resources including lesson plans ideal for use with elementary school students.
Teachers can set up their classes and conduct online coding workshops, invite students to join, and monitor their progress in real time. Coding Park also offers the possibility of 1-on-1 online coaching sessions. There are three pricing plans in Coding Park: Family ($29.90/year), Educator ($149.99/year), School (request quote).
CodeCombat’ s Resource Hub offers a wide variety of educational materials for teachers including lesson plans, activities, exercises, printable guides, and many more. Teachers can easily set up their classes and invite students to join using a class code. Teachers can use the dashboard to get access to class stats and reports on students progress. CodeCombat offers different pricing options.
Code Monkey is another great platform that offers coding games to help kids learn computer programming. It offers numerous K-8 curriculum resources to get kids from different grades and skill levels engaged in learning how to code in real programming languages.
Besides having access to pre-designed courses and activities, teachers will also be able to set up their own classrooms and manage their students coding progress. As students play games and take coding lessons, teachers use automatic grading and reports analytics to track students progress and offer help and feedback in real time. Code Monkey offers two main plans: Teachers Plan and Parents Plan, each has its own pricing.
Erase All Kittens also offers over 5 hours of engaging lesson plans covering topics such as computer science, cybersecurity, online behaviour, fake news, the environment, and entrepreneurism. The first two levels of Erase All Kittens are free then a premium subscription is required to unlock other features and content.
Kidlo Coding offers interactive fun games that helps kids learn the fundamentals of coding and programming. There are over 50 games covering different coding concepts. There are games for learning the basics of coding, games for learning the concept of sequencing, games to learn about looping, debugging, functions, and more.
As kids play these coding games, they get to develop the following skills: recognizing patterns, ordering actions in a logical sequence, problem solving, logical thinking, and many more. The game is available as an app for iOS, Android, and Amazon Appstore.
Code with Google (Google)
Scratch educators guide (Scratch)