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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Audience: All (adult must create accounts for kids under 13)
Below are books that I have personal experience with and recommend. The book images link to Amazon. If you come across other programming books for kids that you like, feel free to email me the information.
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.
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.
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.
Audience: 3rd Grade & Up
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.