These iOS and Web Apps are Visually Oriented and Kid-Friendly and Help to Build Critical Logic and Problem Solving Skills
Computer coding is becoming an increasingly popular activity for today's technology oriented kids. Even kids who do not plan to grow up and become computer programmers are enjoying the control and autonomy that coding delivers.
Coding encourages kids to be creative, think logically and develop critical thinking skills that they will need throughout their lives.
The skills young students develop through these early coding experiences can also help them to succeed in their education. With coding, kids get to try out new solutions to problems and tinker around with what can happen in various situations. The following seven visually oriented and child-friendly apps can help to teach even the youngest children how to code.
Hopscotch is excellent for young children and beginner coders. Children are provided with simple tools that are visually based and kids can use them to make games based upon characters that they choose.
Within the app, there are tutorials that show how to put bits of code together in a logical way. Kids can drag and drop instructions to form a script with a command that their chosen characters execute. Once children develop the list of instructions, they then get to see what the character does and they can make certain tweaks to change what happens.
Tynker lets students build modification for the hugely popular Minecraft game. It has a free section that helps kids to learn about coding in a visual process and in chunks that progress from simple to more complex. The color coded blocks are a benefit to children who are visual learners. These lessons include simple projects and puzzles, while the section that requires a fee includes more extensive programming lessons.
Kids get to choose their own characters and start building their own programs to share with their friends and parents. The programs can also be shared within the Tynker forums, which also offer tips on the coding process.
Developed by students at MIT in 2003, Scratch is one of the earliest programming languages developed for kids aged 8 to 16. It is a visually based set of instructions that are connected into bricks and put together to create an animation of sprites.
Kids put their thinking skills to work by using the bricks to trigger loops, play sounds and create variables to put together animations or different games. This app can help to build confidence in kids who start out thinking that coding is too complex.
Daisy the Dinosaur
Daisy the Dinosaur is an early introduction to coding, with visually based instructions that allow kids to engage in either a challenge or free play. Kids choose a command such as “jump” or “spin” from a list of options and drag it to the actions list. They can then include variables such as repeat and see Daisy do what they instructed her to.
The app gives children insight into how specific codes can result in certain outcomes. It is a great choice for kids who require simple and clear instructions and guidance.
Move the Turtle
With Move the Turtle, kids are able to learn the beginning aspects of coding by building and using an interactive game with a turtle. This app is ideal for young children as well as older kids who have never tried coding before. The game is sorted into chapters of increasing skill levels, which allows your child to have one success and then try a new challenge at coding.
As kids achieve a goal, they earn stars and are then able to progress. There are pre-set projects kids can try and the app will provide them with feedback if they make mistakes, which gives your child the opportunity to try again.
This app is a great example of how beneficial technology can be. Not only does it help children learn to code but it can also teach kids many different skills such as critical thinking, geometry and graphing.
In CodeMonkey, kids code a program to help a monkey find its lost bananas. The game is a series of puzzles that require kids to write and then do test runs of their code. The codes help to direct the monkey toward its bananas. A split screen makes it easier for your child to see what is going on and shows instantaneous results of instructions and actions.
Multiple levels help kids to advance their coding skills through an incremental approach. With each goal that is achieved, your child earns stars to unlock the next level. This is a more challenging coding app than a drag and drop system, which makes it a great option for older kids who are interested in more complex coding.
The Vidcode app is aimed at teenage girls who are often left out in coding and computer programming technology. This app puts together creativity, social media, and self-expression and allows children to upload photos and videos and turn them into music videos, memes, and animations.
While doing this, children learn that the code is what makes each action take place. In this split-screen app, instructions appear on one side and helpful hints are on the other side.
Kids have the option to link the finished projects to their social media accounts and share them with friends and family. This is a great app for teens who have never coded before.
No matter whether your child has a solid interest or a passing one, these coding apps can help to build logical, critical, and creative thinking skills. Your child will experience early successes at using coding. These successes can be a solid foundation for future computer programming.