The Best Coding Games for Kids

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Best Coding Games For Kids

In this age, where our society heavily relies on technology, coding has become an essential piece of employment qualifications. And if you wish your children to have a successful career, then it is best to give it a quick running start.

Coding for children does not merely help improve their writing and mathematical skills because it also supplies them crucial abilities in life and, ultimately, in the workforce.

Why should we become aware of the significance of coding in our kids? There are several reasons for it, but the most crucial factor for that is, if they know how to code at a younger age, it significantly increases their chances of getting their dream job in the future.

Why is coding a vital skill to learn?

Knowing the basics of programming is a vital skill not only for adults but for children as well. Specifically, for the young ones, learning the fundamentals of coding in the early stages of life provides a massive benefit. 

One advantage of this skill is that when students are capable of creating simple websites and games, it will help them polish their logic, plans, and problem-solving skills. Besides, it also enables them to formulate ideas and show creativity in uncommon ways. That is why coding is indeed a useful tool for learning for children.

As we observe how the world develops, it is evident that coding is a highly essential skill to have. Why? Because there is a rising number of institutions that rely heavily on computer code, not just the sector in technology.

A student who knows how to code at an early age will possess an advantage in life. This advantage means more opportunities in employment waiting for them in the future. Regardless of which industry they will settle in, be it in the health sector, retail sector, finance sector, or others will never be a problem because our society currently revolves around technology.

So, if you have a child who spends a lot of time playing mobile games, why not incorporate coding into it? It is an excellent way for them to learn how to code while having fun at the same time. As kids expose themselves to technology, it will surely help them become a vital part of huge corporations as they grow up.

How can you teach your child to code?

This question is probably the first one an interested parent will ask. Well, many parents are as clueless when it comes to coding as the others, and that is particularly normal.

The most beneficial component of programming is that we can learn it at any period. Although the retention of various languages can be quite hard, especially for late adults, it can still turn out to be an excellent experience.

If you are going to ask about the most effective approach for your kids to learn to code, then the answer is for you to learn it with them.

You can stimulate interest in your children if they notice you doing the same.

So, if you become interested in coding and put in a little effort to learn it, chances are your children will follow.

To help you start, here are some top coding applications for kids.

Bee-Bot

Available on iOs and ANDROID

Available on iOs and ANDROID

This app is available on Google Play and the App Store. The Bee-Bot floor robot inspired this coding application, which now enables the children to learn the fundamentals of programming at various levels quickly.

The little ones who learn to code may entirely use this application to enhance not their problem-solving skills alone, but also their programming skills. Bee-Bot has 12 levels encouraging progression in total. Each level is time-bound, and the quicker you complete the stage, the more stars you acquire.

It enables children to enhance their skills in directional languages together with programming through the various sequences of backward, forward, left, and right 90-degree turns in every level. 

The progression within this game will allow students to improve their knowledge and their problem-solving abilities through encountering difficult challenges throughout the various aspects of Bee-Bot.


Daisy the Dinosaur

available on all major platforms

available on all major platforms

This application is suitable for ages 5-8 and is free to download. Daisy the Dinosaur serves as an excellent foundation for programming or to assess your child’s curiosity in the topic. Kids can program Daisy and in the process, learn some fundamental practices of programming. 

Daisy the Dinosaur has a couple of sections for your students to explore, one is the free-play mode, and the other is challenge mode. 

In the free-play mode, juniors can explore with commands to see how Daisy will move as an outcome of their program. Meanwhile, in challenge mode, kids will challenge themselves to solve a presented problem.

They need to use the given commands to finish the challenge. Apply the smooth drag and drop symbols to make Daisy the Dinosaur move. This Gaming application sets the foundation for learning the fundamentals of programming.

The content in this application is not huge, but sufficient enough for a free app. 

Code Adventures: Coding Puzzles For Kids

available on ios and android

available on ios and android

This remarkable app is ideal for ages 6 to 8 that concentrates on child-friendly computer coding puzzles.
This game features exciting puzzles while learning how to code, loveable characters, funny sounds, engaging visuals along with around 30 puzzle stages.

The main goal of this game of puzzles is to help Aurora go home by finishing the 30 stages of challenges. Also, this app works through different levels, which include the basics, functions, and repetitive control structures (conditional loops).

Students will have to set the commands into the correct order, which indicates a practice in sequencing ability. Besides, they will find the necessity to repeat the commands to help move the character around, as each movement hardly takes it one block in any direction.

The app slowly introduces different puzzle details such as ladders, movable bridges, flying platforms, and portals, which makes the programming even more enjoyable.

Children will solve tricky puzzles while learning how to code. It also grants an excellent opportunity for a family to bond together while stimulating the child’s curiosity in STEM subjects.

Kodable

avaialble on ios and android

avaialble on ios and android

This coding application cuts down computer science into the fundamental thoughts that children require to build a stable foundation in life. 

Kodable gives materials that concentrate on subjects ranging from communication and social-emotional knowledge to the real influence of computer science in the world.

This application hosts lessons for coding and games for children between 5 and 10. The main objective of Kodable is to assist elementary school educators in bringing programming basics into the classroom in the form of a game. 

While Kodable is indeed useful in the classroom setting, parents can also take advantage of this app to teach coding to their kids in an engaging and entertaining method. The design of the teaching guide of this app is so excellent that even people who have no experience in coding at all can also use it.

Kodable applies the sets of principles and processes of JavaScript, which makes it an outstanding source to learn to code for beginners. 

While this app focuses on younger ages, older children can take classes regarding JavaScript too. It will lead learners through the concepts of programming using various challenges and games, such as maneuvering a labyrinth. 

Kodable is one of the best apps for coding because it also enhances vital skills such as problem-solving abilities, social-emotional learning, decision-making abilities, communication skills, and a lot more.

ScratchJr

available on all mobile platforms and devices

available on all mobile platforms and devices

This game is a free coding application for young children.  With the help of ScratchJr, kids ages 5 to 7 can program their games and stories. While having fun, children will develop their skills in problem-solving, project designing, and will be capable of expressing themselves creatively.

Students snap together blocks to help make the characters move, sing, dance, and jump. They can also modify the characters in the app using the paint editor, add their voice, and even add their photos, which can truly develop their imagination and creativity.

Furthermore, as children learn how to design projects and solve problems while playing the game, they can also enhance their abilities in sequencing, which is an essential factor throughout life.

To Conclude

A lot of people believe that teaching students to code is almost an impossible task, and they are correct. However, if you introduce yourself in these coding apps and by recognising the benefits of coding in your children, then you would probably change your mind.

Teaching the little ones how to code will truly be advantageous for them, particularly later in life. Not only that, learning how to code at an early age would grant them a skill that they can utilize throughout their lives, but it would also prepare them for several new careers that will arise. 

This effect is a result of the rising inclination of the current generation towards technology, which makes it more reasonable for every parent to introduce coding to their kids.

Excellent free self paced coding course for teachers and students

If you are a teacher required to, or keen to teach your students how to code but have no idea where to start, fear not.

The Catholic Education Office Ballarat has created a self paced course for teachers and students designed to run between 7 - 12 weeks.  And it's all completely free. 

It offers a mixture of plugged, and unplugged sessions and even a robotics module.  Students in grades 3 - 6 can learn everything around coding and algorithms in a structured, engaging and logical manner.

Absolutely everything you need is here, including tutorial videos, resources, assessment tasks and even links to the Victorian curriculum. 

The course can be found here and is highly recommended.

bit.ly/ceocoding

 

5 S.TE.M gifts for coders, makers and computational thinkers

With only a few weeks until Christmas many parents may not realise they have a budding Henry Ford in the making who just needs a spark to light a fire to ignite ingenuity and creativity.

Today, we are going look at five gifts that offer your kids to problem solve, code, identify patterns and create algorithms to solve programs.  Whilst I am writing about these at Christmas they would obviously also be great STEM resources for the classroom.

I had one of these Electronic Kits as a boy and I learnt so much about how electronic circuits work and what different components can do.  So much to do here for under $50.00 and they are very durable.  Whilst there are clear instructions to follow it also offers much in the way of problem solving and algorithmic design.

Laser maze encourages kids to think and act sequentially to solve and avoid problems.  Plenty of logic required to compete and it even uses real lasers.  

Okay, I know this one is a pricey option but it clearly ticks every box for quality of product, educational value and awesome fun.  Build an incredible robot using the worlds most proven and versatile toy.  Command your robot by either coding the inbuilt computer which is incredibly versatile or just use the remote control.   Then when you are finished use your imagination to create a robot or machine only limited by your imagination.  These sets are hugely popular in schools and are already highly credentialed for educational value alone.

Camelot Jr.
$26.40

Basic building blocks are great, but this wooden-block puzzle game helps build even more skills for your budding engineer or architect. It includes 48 interesting challenges at four different skill levels, all with the goal of connecting the prince and princess by building stairs, bridges, and towers according to the "blueprint" laid out in the challenge book.

No, it isn't Wall-E or an expensive super LEGO robot but ReCon is a great little programming rover that uses all the common commands and of real coders.  Easy to pick up, very versatile and won't break the bank.

So there are five options to consider in this space.  If you have any other suggestions please leave us a comment.

5 great sites to get your head around computational thinking

This eBook is a great starting point for teachers looking to get started with computational thinking, coding and robotics. Click image to access.

This eBook is a great starting point for teachers looking to get started with computational thinking, coding and robotics. Click image to access.

This year I have been doing a great deal of research around understanding computational thinking, coding and robotics as it becomes a mandatory element of the Australian Curriculum in 2017.

I really feel this to be a huge step in the right direction for our students as Australia's economy is currently built upon unsustainable mining practices which leaves our best and brightest to head overseas as to pursue successful careers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Throughout this process I have struggled at times to find some worthwhile resources for teachers but at the same time uncovered a few diamonds among the rough that I highly recommend.  They are as follows.

Teaching London Computing - Has some fun activities for teachers to pick up and run with straight away that effectively reinforce the concepts of computational thinking and computer science to the average Joe.  Regulatory updated also.

CSER Digital Technologies MOOC.  - This is by far and away the most concise resource I have encountered.  A completely free unit from the University of Adelaide with hundreds of participants sharing ideas and insights.  It will take you a few weeks to get through but incredibly thorough.  It is aimed at an Aussie audience but is by far and away the best I have encountered globally.

CS Unplugged - Tim Bell has put together an incredible collection of activities for budding computer scientists and computational thinkers.  Just one catch though.  You don't use a computer to do any of them which I love.  Excellent for those who are a little scared by screens and keyboards.

Computational Thinking for Educators - Google's free mini course on computational thinking  is short but sweet.  In theory you could polish this off in a few hours but there is much to explore and flesh out beyond that.  A great starting point. 

Code.org - Whilst code.org is probably the largest of all of these resources and definitely a must visit for any budding teacher or student looking for ideas in this space it's purpose is a little less defined than all the others on this list.  Or at least I felt so.  Certainly heaps here for coders in particular but go in with an end goal.

If you are aware of any others I would love to hear your thoughts.

 

Are you signing up for Google's Computational Thinking course for Educators?

Google are going all in on coding and computer science in an effort to improve the learning opportunities for teachers and students.  

On July 15 they will begin running a free course for educators to train them in how to use 'computational thinking.' in the classroom.  The course is open to all educators and there is a set time frame allocated to complete the course.

I have enrolled and would encourage others to do the same.  The course will be broken into five different modules exploring 

  • Introducing  Computational Thinking

  • Exploring Algorithms

  • Finding Patterns

  • Developing Algorithms

  • Applying Computational Thinking

The Computational Thinking for Educators course runs with support from Google teaching assistants, content experts, and other students responding to questions in the G+ Community from July 15 through September 30, 2015 and can be completed at your own pace during this time. The course consists of text lessons, supplemental videos, activities, and a hands-on final project.  You can access the course here.

iOS Apps on the iPad to support Coding and Robotics

A must see resource for coding and robotics in the classroom.

A must see resource for coding and robotics in the classroom.

The iPad is a great tool for coding.  Particularly for developing the skills and concepts in the junior years around directional language, understanding sprites and developing the building blocks of coding before moving onto traditional desktop coding software.

Here is a list of great apps on the iPad to assist coding and robotics in the classroom.  If you would like to learn a great deal more about coding and robotics in the classroom I an strongly recommend getting a copy of this excellent eBook.

Hopscotch   A visual programming tool for year 3 - 7 Students

Tynker Edu  Video game and puzzle creation tool for year 5 - 9 students

ScratchJr A visual programming tool for juniors for P - 2 Students

My Robot Friend A Problem Solving and Logic Skills Game for P - 6 Students

Codeacademy Code Hour Learn how to build things through coding. Various ability and challenge forTeachers / Students

The Foos Learn to code for an hour game forP - 2 students

Treehouse:  Learn Programming and Design Various resources to learn coding and design for Year 7 - 12 Students

Move the Turtle A variation on the classic BASIC programming skills from the 80’s for year 3 - 5 Students

Kodable A game introducing coding and problem solving skills for year P - 2 Students

Cato’s Hike a programming and logic odyssey. A friendly game for juniors intended to introduce coding and logic for year P - 4 Students.

Codea Kind of like Garage band for Coding.  More complex than anything else here but more rewarding and great tutorials and support for year 5 - 12 Students

Gamepress  Great tool for video game creation on the iPad.  Share your creations with peers also for year 5 - 9 students

Hyperpad Built on Gamepress platform but you need to create everything yourself.  You can actually export apps to iTunes store from Hyperpad.  Quite open ended. for year 7 - 12 students

Teach your students about coding and algorithms without a computer

To make a computer act like a human such as a robot, first we need to teach humans to think like a computer.  

Strangely enough this process does not, and and in some cases should not involve a computer.

CSunplugged is an excellent resource for teachers and students which is completely free and teaches students about computational thinking through a series of hands on activities.  

CS Unplugged is a collection of free learning activities teaching Computer Science through engaging games and puzzles that use cards, string, crayons and lots of running around.

The activities introduce students to Computational Thinking through concepts such as binary numbersalgorithms and data compression, separated from the distractions and technical details of having to use computers. Importantly, no programming is required to engage with these ideas!

CS Unplugged is suitable for people of all ages, from elementary school to seniors, and from many countries and backgrounds. Unplugged has been used around the world for over twenty years and should not be missed if you are considering teaching robotics or coding with your students.

ScratchJr finally brings programming for juniors to the iPad

In many new national curriculum's around the world coding is being viewed as a new form of literacy as we try to entice kids to become tech creators and not simply tech consumers.

Scratch Jr is the little brother to the very popular Scratch that was released nearly a decade ago by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or (MIT).  Scratch revolutionized coding for kids as it changed lines of irrelevant syntax with variable jigsaw pieces that could be manipulated by students with far more simplicity and success.

Scratch has never worked on the iPad unfortunately and there have been numerous forums discussing the potential of making it happen.

So ScratchJr is now available on the iPad and it is targeted at students aged 5 - 7 years old.  It is free.

As young children code with ScratchJr, they learn how to create and express themselves with computers, not just to interact with it. In the process, kid's learn to solve problems and design projects, and they develop sequencing skills that are foundational for later academic success. They also use math and language in a meaningful and motivating context, supporting the development of early-childhood numeracy and literacy.

ScratchJr is somewhat limited in what it can do in comparison to Scratch but then again it's also aimed at a younger audience. 

Younger students have no trouble picking up the concepts and the basic skills behind ScratchJr but you will really need to reinforce to them what they are doing with it or else it might just come off as a poor man's animation tool for the iPad.

If student understand they are in fact controlling a computer much like video game makers do they will value the process far more.

ScratchJr is available on iTunes now with Android coming soon.