Coding Resources for Kids
A curated list of resources for teaching coding to children, from ages 5 upwards. Suggest links in the comments below.
- “Make a Sandwich” game - A simple game where the class has to instruct a computer (the teacher) to make a ham sandwich. This introduces the idea of computers following instructions. Here's another example.
- Hello Ruby - Various activities, including making a remote control to control your friends.
- Bee-Bot Floor Robot - Programmable robots that can be used to introduce sequencing and following instructions.
- Bee-Bot App - An iPad version.
- Coding For Kids: Without a Computer - A collection of activities away from a computer that encourage and teach basic computing concepts.
Key Stage 1 (5-7 Years)
- Hopscotch - An iPad app for creating simple games and apps by dragging and dropping colourful blocks and images.
- Makey Makey – An invention kit that turns everyday objects into computer inputs.
- ScratchJr - A simplified, trimmed down version of Scratch. Only on iPad.
- Run Marco! - An adventure game in which you must give an intrepid explorer sequences of instructions to reach crystals. It offers a nice step-by-step mode where you can run the instructions one at a time to work out where you went wrong.
- Lego - Any Lego set could be used to introduce the concept of following a set of step-by-step instructions like a computer does.
- Robot Turtles - Board game for kids to learn basic programming concepts. Focuses on sequencing. Purchase on Amazon.
- Nina and the Neurons: Go Digital - A series of short games that introduce the basics of sequencing and building up rules. There is also a special series of Nina and the Neurons programmes on CBeebies that focus specifically on computing.
Key Stage 2 (7-11 Years)
- Code Kingdoms - An adventure style game, similar to Run Marco!, with a level editor for creating your own adventures.
- Code Monkey Island - Another board game for basic programming concepts. Combines aspects such as conditionals, loops, assignment, and strategic thinking. (Appears to be US-only, but waiting to find out if they ship to the UK).
- Technobabble - An online app by the BBC for creating simple games by plugging together different actions and rules.
- Tutorial Videos - Follow two short videos to learn how to make a simple Asteroids clone.
- Code Club - A nationwide network of volunteer-led after school coding clubs for children.
- Scratch - A online-only app, much like Hopscotch but far more in-depth in the scope and possibilities.
- Hour of Code - Much like Scratch and Hopscotch, using a blocks based structure, but with a series of short exercises to introduce concepts gradually, using well known characters.
- Shaun the Sheep’s Game Academy - A series of video tutorials and Scratch projects.
- Cargo-Bot - An iPad game in which you program a series of robots to move crates to solve puzzles. Created using Codea.
Key Stage 3+ (11 Years+)
- Codea - An iPad app for making any app you can think of. Some of the qualities of Hopscotch and Scratch, but at a much higher level, introducing text-based programming using the Lua language.
- Learn to Program with Minecraft Plugins
- Greenfoot - An interactive Java development environment for simple two-dimensional applications.
- Kids Ruby - A basic Ruby development environment for creating simple command-line applications.
- Let's Make a Mario Game - An excellent in-depth tutorial showing how to use the Processing.js library to make a Mario game that runs in a web browser.
- Computing ITT & CPD - A curated collection of resources for use by those training teachers to deliver the new primary computing curriculum
- Espresso Coding - An entire course (including supporting materials) for teaching coding to all ages. Requires a paid subscription.
- Programming Literacy: Why Every Kid Should Learn To Code, by Eric Elliott - A extremely eloquent piece about how we're standing at a junction, looming towards a future where a lack of programming literacy has devastating consequences.
- Have We Got It All Horribly Wrong? - A very frank article discussing the merits of introducing KS1 children to coding, questioning whether it's too young and potentially detrimental.
- Today We Made a Computer Game - My account of introducing my own children (who are 3 and 5) to programming one wet and windy afternoon.
- Tips On Making Sure All Staff Are Ready To Teach Coding - Notes from a #UKEdChat twitter session where teachers share their concerns and experiences regarding teaching coding.
- School App Store: Setup a website where children can upload their creations to share with classmates. It would be sort of like a mini app-store for the school. They could even charge a small fee or ask for donations and give any money raised to charity.
- Blindfolded Obstacle Course: Mark out a simple course using cones. Then one pupil is blindfolded and the rest of the class has to give instructions to that pupil to help them through the course.
- After-school Workshops: Children can come along with ideas for things they'd like to make and get some one-on-one time to help them figure out.