Resources

Coding Tutorials, Coding Sites, Books, and Robotics Equipment.  If you are looking for ideas on how to explore coding with your child, check out the coding resources for kids below.  Resources listed below are items that I have personal experience with and recommend.  If you would like additional information on any of these items or would like input on an item not listed, please feel free to contact me. 

Tutorials

Before trying these more advanced tutorials, I first recommend completing the Scratch Team Tutorials. Then, work on these more advanced Chase Game tutorials. After completing these Chase Game tutorials, those still eager for more can check out my classes or the Scratch programming book below.

Chase boredom away! Use these tutorials to create a Chase game. Learn to:
(1) Move characters using arrow keys
(2) Clone characters
(3) Play a sound when one character successfully catches another
(4) Keep score
(5) Use a timer
(6) End with a Game Over screen

Free Coding Sites

There are more free coding sites than I can possibly cover here. Below are my favorites. If you need help getting started with any of these, check out my classes.

Site: www.scratchjr.org
Audience:
 K – 2
Description: ScratchJr is an introductory programming language that enables young children (ages 5-7) to create their own interactive stories and games. Children snap together graphical programming blocks to make characters move, jump, dance, and sing. ScratchJr is available as a free app for both iPad and Android tablets. Get a PDF of the block descriptions here and see some activities you can do with your child here.

Site: scratch.mit.edu
Audience:
 3rd Grade & Up
Description: Don’t let the block nature of Scratch fool you. Scratch is developed by MIT and used in many introductory computer science courses at universities around the country. It is a powerful programming language that can be used to create simple to incredibly complex animations, games, and more.  The best part about Scratch is the large community of people who use the programming language. Learners can explore and learn from programs created by others in the Scratch community. Your child can get started with a basic set of Scratch tutorials here. If your child loves Scratch and completes the tutorials successfully, check out my Chase Game tutorial above, the classes I offer, or the book I recommend below.

Site: www.code.org
Audience:
 K-12
Description: With Hour of Code tutorials and a variety of at home learning options, code.org is a great way for kids of all ages to explore computer science.  I hope to eventually finalize a guide I am putting together.  If you are interested in a draft version, feel free to contact me.

Site: www.vr.vex.com
Audience: 5th Grade & Up
Description: Using Scratch as the backbone, VR Vex provides kids with the ability to control a virtual robot and complete challenging activities.

Site: www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/labs/lab/cyber
Audience: 6th Grade & Up
Description: The Cybersecurity Lab is a game designed to teach people how to keep their digital lives safe, spot cyber scams, learn the basics of coding, and defend against cyber attacks. Players assume the role of the chief technology officer of a start-up social network company that is the target of increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks. In the game, players must complete challenges to strengthen their cyber defenses and thwart their attackers. The Lab also features stories of real-world cyber attacks, a glossary of cyber terms, and short animated videos that explain the need for cybersecurity, privacy versus security, cryptography (cyber codes), and what exactly hackers are.

Site: https://www.typing.com
Audience: All (adult must create accounts for kids under 13)
Description: A free online typing program used by students and educators around the world. The program offers typing lessons, typing tests, and fun games. Definitely take advantage of the games to cement concepts learned in lessons. In addition, the site offers some basic courses on HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and digital literacy. As students move from block based coding to text based coding, good typing skills become essential.

Books

Important Note: The book images link to Amazon which allows me to earn income on qualifying purchases. I use the income to fund free classes.

Book Link
Audience:
 5th Grade & Up
Description: If your child is up to learning how to program by working through a book, then this book is a good choice. It  provides step-by-step instructions on how to build basic versions of a maze game, a slither.io type snake game, brick breaker, asteroids, a fruit slicer game, and a basic platformer game. This book provides access to a website with Sprites and Backdrops that can be used in creating the games.

Book Link
Audience:
5th – 8th Grade
Description: This novel documents Lucy’s experience in the new coding club at her middle school. Lucy is excited about the club because she wants to build an app that she believes will help someone special to her. She becomes frustrated when she realizes the club will not be coding the world’s greatest app at the first meeting – after all, it takes time to learn how to code. A mysterious note leads her on an adventure of friendship with coding concepts applied to every day life situations. This fun story is a great way to introduce coding in way that helps concepts stick.  This book is the first book in a 4 book series and is by far my favorite of the 4 books.

Book Link
Audience:
 8th Grade & Up
Description: This autobiography charts Andrea “Andy” Gonzales and Sophie Houser’s journey from average teens who attend a summer Girls Who Code immersion program to their fame when the “Tampon Run” game they create during the immersion program goes viral. Their video game and their commitment to inspiring young women have been covered by the Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, CNN, Teen Vogue, Jezebel, the Today show, and many more. Andy and Sophie reveal not only what they’ve learned about opportunities in science and technology but also the true value of discovering your own voice and creativity. I especially like the incredible progress Sophie makes as she goes from being afraid to speak up in class to learning how to speak in front of audiences despite her shy nature.

Robotics

Site: www.sphero.com
Audience:
3rd Grade & Up
Description: Sphero BOLT is my favorite robot because of its simplicity, durability and powerful sensors. It is a programmable robot with a compass, light sensor, gyroscope, accelerometer, motor encoders, infrared communications, and LED matrix.  Code using drag-and-drop blocks or JavaScript. The Sphero App for coding is compatible with Apple iOS, MacOS, Android, Chromebooks, Amazon Fire, and Windows.  Use the BOLT At-Home Learning Guide to get started. Check the Sphero site for other free lessons.

Site: education.lego.com
Audience:
 Follow Lego Guidelines
Description: Younger kids will need parental guidance. With care, this kit will grow with your child(ren). It requires more of an investment than the Sphero BOLT and has enough parts for 2 people.  In addition to the Lego bricks, the kit contains an Intelligent Hub, motors, a Light Matrix, and a Color  Sensor. The Lego Education site provides access to 40 lessons that can be used with this kit.