Originally published May 25, 2020. Updated November 5, 2021.
From the vehicles we drive, to the thermostats in our homes, just about everything around us uses coding (also known as programming).
Code is the language used to tell technology what to do. You can think about coding like you would think about following a recipe in a cookbook. For any given recipe, you are given a set of ingredients and a sequence of instructions. Following a sequence of instructions is similar to creating an algorithm (or set of steps) which must be followed by a device to accomplish a task.
But, here’s the tricky part, your device doesn’t understand the human language. Your device needs its own set of instructions written in a language it can understand. This is where learning to code comes in handy.
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Scratch:, opens a new window Scratch is a program developed by MIT that allows kids to create games and animations without learning programming text. This drag-and-drop way to learn coding concepts is called block coding - and it’s great for beginners, allowing children to have fun using games that subtly teach coding. Ages 6+.
Hour Of Code
Learn to code with Tynker's, opens a new window easy-to-learn, visual programming courses. Similar to Hour of Code, Tynker makes it fun to learn coding by using games and activities. Tynker has a website and two apps. Tynker Junior for ages 4-7 and Tynker for ages 7-13. Dragon Dash is one of Tynker’s games that has upwards of 20 levels (at various degrees of difficulty) which allows kids to progress through more advanced problem-solving.
Swift Playgrounds is an app for iPad that teaches kids to write code in a fun, interactive way. Learn the code, developers use, to build apps for iOS by completing interactive puzzles.
HP's Computer Science Fun for Kids
For kids looking for more ways to practice their computer science skills, HP.com, opens a new window has a helpful guide complete with fun games and programs to help them learn! There are activities for kids of all ages to enjoy—including learning to code using lego, and exploring how to spell in binary code.
A special thank you to Katie, for suggesting this awesome resource be added!
Want to learn more about coding? Here are some good book recommendations.