Top 5 Free Coding Tools for Kids

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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The Foos Free Hour of Code
The Foos Free Hour of Code

For Hour of Code, codePark is offering an hour of The Foos for free. The hour can be played at anytime. Afterwards, the participant gets a certificate. This app uses drag-and-drop coding puzzles. Kids learn programming logic by working with visual blocks of code. The puzzles grow increasing more difficult as the game continues. The app doesn't have a section for parents, but codePark's website does, including a fullcurriculum, solutions guide, and explanation of all the game's concepts. This app does include monster characters, but the monsters work together, as part of the story-based game.

Price: Free Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Fire phone, Kindle Fire, Windows Phone. Ages: 5+

Kodable
Kodable

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+

ScratchJr
ScratchJr

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+

Daisy the Dinosaur
Daisy the Dinosaur

Daisy the Dinosaur is a simple, free introduction to programming. The game makes programming easy, covering all the basics with nine commands that players drag-and-drop to make the dinosaur move. It will take older kids only a few minutes to make their way through it. However, even after they have completed all nine commands, kids can continue to play for free. This game makes programming accessible. It is good for kids who don't have much or any tech experience.

Price: Free Devices: iPad. Ages: 7+

Hopscotch
Hopscotch

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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