When children do not let go of a smartphone or tablet, adults always complain about this situation. However, gadgets and mobile games can be used for learning that is more interesting than the exercises in the textbook. For example, suggest to children several sites where you can play and learn programming at the same time.
Here are 10 online services to help teach your child programming:
Programming language and at the same time a service that will help you start programming from scratch. This is one of the easiest ways to learn the basics of coding and see the result right away.
Scratch has the main character – a red cat – and code blocks to control him. To “program” a certain action, you need to drag it from the proposed list into the code field. There are codes for moves, sounds, events, etc. In this way, you can teach the character to walk, talk, and react to certain conditions, simply by composing a “constructor” of a huge number of different blocks.
Scratch results can be shared with the community. Here, children learn to create animations, games, and digital stories – as well as begin to collaborate, seek help, and help themselves.
It is recommended to program in Scratch from the age of 8. However, for 5-7-year-old children who also want to have fun, there is a separate version of ScratchJr. The service is completely free.
2. Minecraft Hour of Code
Most people know this service as a game, but Minecraft has a whole training section with several separate game adventures. For example, in Timecraft, a character travels in time, where he has to correct certain inconsistencies with the help of code, collect clues and identify the violator. And in Tale of Two Villages, the player has to combine two settlements, completing and changing the world with the help of cubic blocks.
Minecraft provides virtually unlimited opportunities to explore the game world and modify its elements. The player completes the world in different ways, visualizing his ideas. In this case, all elements of the created world must perform specific tasks, so they need to be built thoughtfully and functionally.
You can code using a programming language, or in a simpler way – by adding blocks, as in Scratch. During the game, the child sets goals and strives to achieve them to discover new corners of the fantasy world, which also fuels interest in the process. The service is completely free.
Game levels are structured like a quality programming course – the more tasks are completed, the more knowledge the participant receives. CodeCombat has a free (basic) version, as well as a premium subscription that opens up more programming languages and gaming capabilities.
A game in which you need to program the robot to go through the field of cubes and “turn on the light” in the marked blue places. Actually, that’s why the robot is called “light”. To make him move, the player does not even need to know the letters – the commands are visual and simple enough to understand. With each level, the path becomes more difficult and requires more imagination and creativity.
The functionality is very simple and intuitive. During the game the child learns the logic of programming and gets acquainted with its basic concepts – sequences, conditions, cycles, etc. Play for free. It can be installed on a smartphone or tablet.
5. Code Monkey
The main character in the game is a monkey looking for bananas. The player programs the monkey’s movements with short commands in English, such as “go”, “turn around”, “right”, “left”, and others. Command entry can be automated using the appropriate buttons.
The game is accompanied by hints, and funny animals and tasks make it exciting. For example, to get to a banana, a monkey needs to scare a mouse or cross a bridge of crocodiles.
Code Monkey is designed for children who can read and type. It has a free version with 30 tasks to complete. Initial tasks only require the player to control the monkey, but then it is possible to program other objects in the game.
You can study on the site or download one of the Tynker mobile applications to your smartphone or tablet. The platform also provides access to courses and tutorials to help children expand their knowledge.
The site has a huge number of game projects that need to be done through programming. For example, you can create your own 3D game with Mario, teach artificial intelligence to collect garbage from the ocean or save Christmas from the Grinch by programming a drone to take away gifts.
Projects can be sorted by child’s age, theme available to the player, programming language, and other parameters. You can also create your project, watch a video about computers from Bill Gates, or learn more about programming with 20-minute interactive lessons.
The platform is completely free. Its goal is to make programming more accessible to all students, regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender.
8. MIT App Inventor
A very simplified service in which you can develop mobile applications. Programming is done with the help of already familiar blocks containing commands. Combining teams in a certain sequence, the developer very clearly “constructs” the application. You can view the result immediately and download it to your gadget.
This development is much easier than “adult”, because in the App Inventor you do not need to write the code yourself. In addition to the service, there is a site with video lectures, explanations and a lot of additional information for a novice programmer.
Training is completely free. The service was developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to educate children around the world.
The service allows you to combine existing codes and designs. This allows children to customize applications, blogs or websites – as well as create them themselves in a new project. The platform is designed for older children and is recognized as one of the best programming sites for children.
Here you can get acquainted with Node, React, Eleventy and SQLite, create the simplest site and page with links. The service allows not only to write code, but also to receive support and advice from other developers to improve it.
Glitch has a free and Pro version. The latter allows you to “hide” your projects from other participants in the platform and speed up the work of applications.
Instead of standard programming lessons (like writing “Hello World!” on a colored background), CodaKid students receive interesting courses with tasks to solve. For example, develop and revive your own monster from Minecraft or create a game in which you need to catch a red cat from Scratch.
CodaKid has its own programming platform and also includes courses in Minecraft, Scratch, Roblox, Python and more. There are 300 online quests and 750 programming challenges for children, as well as the opportunity to book private lessons with a teacher.
The service is available by subscription. There is a free trial to see all the features.
Children learn best by playing, so this method has been widely used since ancient Greece. With the development of technology, editing (that’s what game learning is called) reaches a new level. It can and should be used to gain useful skills. Including – to prepare children for life among technology and, perhaps, future profession.
If after reading the article you got an idea “I also want to learn this way”, we have prepared 15 services for learning adult programming .