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Coding for Kids: Fun Ways Kids Can Learn to Code

Here are some great ways kids can learn to code – fun, introductory computer science activities for all ages. Some of these ideas may surprise you!

Fun ways kids can learn to code

Computer science is all the rage in education – especially in Silicon Valley, where we live! My husband is a computer scientist who works with drones a lot, so robotics is very much part of my children’s everyday life. Emma and Johnny have even helped build drones for Mike’s lab!

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Fun Ways Kids Can Learn to Code

Pretend Play

Anna is, actually, a bit young for most of these activities, but she sure loves using my tablet case without the tablet inside as a make-believe computer. Sometimes she sticks pieces of paper or post-it notes on the tablet portion to draw computer screens on. This type of pretend play is a wonderful preschool introduction to computer science!

Make Jewelry

Introduce your kids to binary code with this fun code your name in jewelry activity! We have always done bracelets, but necklaces work too – and are necessary for longer names!

Explore Robotics

My kids dream of owning the Sphero BB-8, but for now they are contenting themselves with the Sphero SPRK that we were lucky enough to receive as a review item. Dash and Dot look like very fun robotics toys. Personally, I dream of owning the LEGO Mindstorms set, but that set is quite the investment and I am waiting for my kids to get older.

Play a Board Game

There are some great coding-based board games out there! My friend Michelle at Research Parent created this Code a LEGO Maze game that you can print for free! Code Master and Robot Turtles are two commercial games that teach kids how to code.

Online Programs

Khan Academy’s Hour of Code site is full of fun ways for kids to learn how to code! Nine-year-old Emma is a BIG Khan Academy fan, and she has learned a lot through their online lessons. My kids are able to access Tynker through school, and they love their online coding programs. Code.org is used by some of my schoolteacher friends. Scratch is another coding program that my kids love – and it is free!

What are your favorite ways for kids to learn to code?

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MaryAnne at Mama Smiles
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MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

10 thoughts on “Coding for Kids: Fun Ways Kids Can Learn to Code”

  1. My son learned to code using Scratch which we hired a tutor to teach a group of 3rd grade boys. It was the beginning of a love of coding for him. Minecraft is also a great entry point to coding too! My son has learned Java through iD tech camp in a Minecraft and Coding class to make your own mod.

    1. Very cool! We haven’t entered the world of Minecraft, but I do hear from several people that it is great for teaching kids to code.

  2. I guess you will think I am bonkers, but this may be the way I can begin to learn about coding. I watched the little vimeo on “Scatch” that your article led me too. It was fascinating. And I will need to keep up with my grandson who will learn this way before I do!

  3. Interesting list! I’m not too fussed about my kids learning to code – probably I am underestimating its importance in this computerised world – but I am interested in them learning logic, which is integral to good coding, and pervades other aspects of life as well.

    1. I think your kids will do just fine. I have a feeling that coding will look quite different from what we see now by the time our children are in college.

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