Today we’re following up on our recent post: Are UK Schools Ready To Teach Kids Code?
We asked whether schools will be ready to teach programming from September this year. With the conclusion that schools need to choose the right teaching methods for the scheme to succeed.
One of the methods we covered was tablets in the classroom. Youngsters love using them. And the apps that power them use all the code skills pupils are about to study. Making them the most relevant programming tool out there.
Better yet, there’s a range of apps to get youngsters started on their programming adventure. So today we’re looking at some of the best apps to teach kids code.
Kodable (free, iOS)
Kodable is a fun introduction to programming for kids five years and up. Colourful characters lead youngsters through a series of short challenges, based on essential programming skills.
Starting with the ‘programming logic,’ Kodable teaches users to think like a programmer and incorporates basic coding concepts like functions, loops and sequences.
Hopscotch: Coding for Kids (free, iOS)
The award winning app from Hopscotch Technologies is another animated introduction to programming, for slightly older audiences. Using simple building blocks, kids program their characters to move, create animations and program simple games.
For honest feedback, look no further than the Hopscotch homepage. Teacher Steve Kinney sums the app up nicely: “This is a terrific beginning programming environment where kids don’t have to sweat the syntax – a great use for the iPads in the classroom.”
LightBot (£1.99, iOS, Android, free in-browser)
Aimed at kids of all ages, LightBot is a cool animated puzzle game that starts with the same principles as Kodable. The addictive game takes things further by teaching kids their first if-then statements.
There’s still no physical coding at this stage. But after guiding their robot through 40 challenges kids will have a strong grasp of the programmer’s approach to breaking down and solving problems.
This app should come with a warning though – it’s extremely addictive!
Cargo-Bot (free, iOS)
Cargo-Bot is similar to LightBot in many ways. Equally as addictive and visually engaging, Cargo-Bot takes programming logic to the next level. Debugging plays a big role in Cargo-Bot, encouraging youngsters to spot and correct their own mistakes – a vital programming skill.
Another nice touch is how Cargo-Bot rewards efficiency. Shorter programs get more points, giving kids the incentive to find the most effective solution.
Codecademy: Hour of Code (free, iOS)
One of the best online resources has published its first app. As the name suggests, this app aims to teach the basics of code within an hour. A series of short challenges gets youngsters writing their first snippets of working code.
Recent updates mean you get more than an hour of tutorials. While a library of further challenges can be found at the Codecademy website. Both the app and website are better suited to slightly older users. But there aren’t many better resources for a wide range of programming languages out there. And it’s free!
L2Code apps (£2.99 each, iOS, Android)
L2Code offer two apps focused on the core languages of website development. Like Codecademy, kids will write their first bits of code. But the colourful interface and simple intro to HTML and CSS make these apps suitable for younger audiences too.