As someone who writes code for a living I can say it is sometimes the best job in the world. Sometimes it isn’t, but I’m pretty sure everyone can make a similar claim. I’ve always been excited to share the things I enjoy with my kids. Heck, even my children’s friends have learned a thing or two. While coding is exciting it can be frustrating jumping in with no prior knowledge. To reduce the risk of children quickly losing interest I’m a fan of using coding games for kids to keep things interesting.
Turning coding into a game, something fun and exciting, will help capture a child’s attention. I dare say they might not even know they are learning!
Regardless of why you want to teach your child how to code, these games can make the learning experience fun for both of you. If you aren’t familiar with coding this could be a great opportunity to pick up a new skill and watch your child learn.
Now, let’s look at some of the best coding games for kids.
Coding Games For Kids
You might not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but a young mind can learn anything. Children, even preschoolers, can benefit from being introduced to coding concepts.
LittleCodr is a card game (bet you weren’t expecting that) designed for young learners. It’s a simple game that is interactive, engaging and doesn’t require staring at a screen. If you like playing games as a family you need LittleCodr. Kids get to use action cards (turn right) to get parents and siblings to do silly movements.
Kids get a laugh, but they also learn about linear thinking and executing actions in sequence.
For the nerdy music-loving dads this one is for you. Well, your kids but you can play along as well. Osmo Coding Jam combines music with coding skill development. Kids, and dads, use coding blocks to create music. You will need the iOS app to accompany the game blocks. Players will move the blocks around the board to change the music. Not only will children develop problem-solving skills, but they will also learn about melody and rhythm.
ScratchJr is the younger sibling of Scratch, a programming language used by millions around the world. The Jr. version allows younger learners a chance to get their feet wet with programming. Kids will move a character around, make them dance, and much more by using the programming blocks.
As kids start to program their own games they will be introduced to new concepts. ScratchJr introduces coding concepts as well as math and language. Available for iOS, Android, Chromebook, and Kindle Fire, and the best part, it’s free!
Move the Turtle is a game available on iPhones and iPads. Kids will be introduced to the basics of designing and building computer programs. A cool little turtle is your champion throughout the game. As you and your child complete tasks the turtle will move around on the screen. This game introduces some more advanced concepts such as planning complex operations using simple commands. Children will also gain experience with loops, variables, and conditionals. Finally, your child will get to play around with using sound and graphics in the game. It’s a ton of fun and is used by schools around the world.
As we climb the grade levels we’ll start to encounter some games you may already be familiar with. You may be a bit surprised to learn that games can be a great tool to teach kids about technology and coding.
First up is Minecraft.With 100+ million users you’ve most likely heard of the game. This is an extremely popular game for kids. While it looks like it’s mostly about making stuff out of blocks it also has some important lessons. Most notable is the logical thinking that is required. Problem-solving and thinking outside the box are also important to be successful in Minecraft. All these skills are necessary when programming. So while your kid isn’t technically writing lines of Python, they are learning coding fundamentals.
CodeMonkey is a fun online game that started out as a program for teachers to use in the classroom. It’s now available for use at home, though it does require a monthly subscription ($4.95 – $9.95). What’s super helpful about CodeMonkey is that you have a progress tracker to see how your child is learning over time. Kids have access to courses for K-8 with block-based and text-based coding practice.
In Swift Playground (iOS only) kids will guide a character through a 3D world. This game introduces kids to Swift, a language created by Apple and used by professionals to create mobile apps. Users can interact by incorporating their own pictures, sounds and files into their creation. Kids can also share the games they develop with friends.
Looking for an exciting game that has been introduced in 100+ countries? Give LightBot a try. Players will guide a cool little robot through various levels trying to light up tiles. Topics introduced include sequencing, overloading, conditionals, recursive loops, and procedures. Available on iOS and Android this is a game that kids won’t be able to put down. For once, you might not be too upset when they are playing a game.
Thus concludes our quick list of coding games for kids. As you can see, numerous games exist that introduce many core coding concepts. You can find games for very young learners and get them started early. Coding is a great skill and those who can master the required skills will have tons of opportunities in the future.