Top 5 Free Coding Tools for Kids

Help early learners build 21st Century skills with these free tools

Engage kids in your classroom with these free coding apps. These tools can be used during Computer Science Education Week's suggested Hour of Code and beyond, giving elementary students an intro to computer programming.
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Updated on: November 19, 2015
Minecraft for Education
Minecraft for Education
Minecraft is one of the most popular games around for kids of all ages - and there is now an Education edition available that helps students learn coding skills! Using the Code Builder, students can work independently or in groups to design and build their own characters and worlds.

Kodable focuses on the concepts needed for computer programming. The free version has a parent section that includes a teaching curriculum and off-screen game ideas for kids to continue developing skills. The parent section also includes instructions for unlocking levels for kids and how to enable guided iPad access, allowing kids to focus on one task at a time. The parent section is especially helpful to nonprogrammer parents. Kodable's free version also includes Smeeborg, a beginning lesson for kids. Smeeborg introduces loops, if/then statements, and other programming basics in a step-by-step format.

Price: Free Devices: iPad. Ages: 6+


ScratchJris a more basic version of Scratch, designed to give younger kids an introduction to computer programming and multimedia. Adults will need to explain the game to kids in order to get them started because both the animated guide and the written instructions are at a higher reading level than the intended age groups. However, once students have it figured out, the apps many options for creating scripts, including the different backgrounds and actions, can keep them entertained for hours.

Price: Free Devices: iPad, Android. Ages: 6+

Tynker is a complete learning system that enables everyone from beginners to advanced programmers to code with intuitive, interest-based activities. Tynker's self-paced courses let kids experiment with visual blocks before progressing to intermediate programming and even languages like JavaScript and Python. Includes lessons and support for building Minecraft mods!

With Hopscotch, kids can create their own programs. They write their own code, code that controls characters, using the app's drag-and-drop programming design. Kids can also add text to their programs. The character-based design of the app sets it apart from other apps. Created by the makers of Daisy the Dinosaur, Hopscotch is open-ended, meaning kids aren't writing code for characters to do specific things, another aspect that makes this game different. Kids can create what they want. Hopscotch also has a community section where kids can upload the programs they create and view programs designed by other kids. However, kids are asked not to use their real names. Parents should know that the community section is not moderated.

Price: Free Devices: iPad. Ages: 10+
Next: Top 5 Free Coding Tools for Teens
Next: Top 5 Free Coding Tools for Teens
Need coding apps for older students? Check out our Top 5 Free Coding Tools for Teens!

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