They say some of the best ways to learn is through play. This is especially true for young kids. If you’re thinking of introducing your children to coding, try doing it with coding games for kids. From Scratch to Minecraft, here’s our list of top competitors for the place of your child’s coding instructor!
Coding in a nutshell
By now, you’ve definitely heard of coding in some shape or form being perfect for kids and their early years’ education. We couldn’t agree more – coding is the 21st-century skill that constitutes a completely different empowered relationship with technology and supports various skills, such as logical thinking, communication, creativity, or even math proficiency. We spoke about the countless benefits of coding at length in one of our previous blog posts.
We’ve thus already established why coding in and of itself is a great use of your children’s time. The sooner they begin to grasp the basics of coding (just as with any other language), the better chances they have at learning it quickly and adopting it naturally. But if you’re still wondering how to get started, perhaps because you yourself are no expert at coding and are wondering how to approach the topic in a digestible manner, we have another useful suggestion for you – coding games for kids. So, why coding games at all?
Coding games for kids – why they’re good educational resources
On our blog, we previously discussed why learning through play is so practical for kids. You can find the article here. To sum things up, learning through play comes naturally to children. They experiment, tinker, observe, conceptualize, and build on their previous experience without even realizing it. Learning through play thus emulates a real-life problem-solving setting for those young kids who still play on a daily basis, making the process of learning smoother and more enjoyable than sitting behind a desk and hearing a lecture.
Another reason why trying out coding games for kids is a great idea is the storytelling behind these games. Storytelling is another learning environment children enjoy and are naturally attuned to, as we’ve already discussed before. At Robo Wunderkind, for example, we build all our coding lessons around creative stories that engage children’s minds and humanizes learning. Through compelling narratives, children are drawn into the plot and relate to characters. Stories can furthermore also promote understanding, creating an environment in which a child is relaxed, curious, and thus open to new information.
Top 10 coding games for kids to try out
So which coding games for kids fulfill these criteria of compelling storytelling and well structured play-based education? We’ve created a list of 10 games worth noting. We’ll discuss their benefits as well as age appropriateness so that you can choose the best one for your child or students.
Minecraft is a well-known game that functions adaptively to those who use it – from simple constructions to complex worlds, everyone can find something appropriate for their level of understanding. Children can get started with building simple objects and then progress to building games within the game itself. Minecraft is available for all operational systems and its price ranges between 7 and 27 dollars depending on the complexity.
Code Monkey is a programming platform where children can learn to program using several different programming languages and requires no previous coding experience – perfect for those who just want to get started. It offers coding courses and is even adaptable for classrooms with full-fledged curricula, making this game a perfect teaching alternative for educators (while it is also great for parents, or students). You can request a price plan based on the size of your classroom as well as your needs, but you can always try it out with a 14-day trial.
4. Scratch + Scratch Jr.
This free online app game developed in an MIT lab offers games, interactive story-telling and even the opportunity to join an online coding community. Scratch is also a coding language, largely based on visuals and graphics and ideal for beginners. While it at first might seem overwhelming, learning to work with Scratch is easy. Similarly to Minecraft, kids can create their own games rather than playing others’ games, which serves as a huge motivating factor. Then there’s also Scratch Jr., a simple version of the game for kids aged 5-7. Both apps are available for iOS and Android devices.
Robo Wunderkind also incorporated Scratch into our newest and most advanced coding app for children aged 8-16, Robo Blockly. Robo Blockly is a Scratch-based app that teaches advanced coding concepts, like variables, functions, operators and input-output mapping and offers coding games and challenges for kids.
This coding platform and app meant for children aged 5-9 prides itself with a research-based curriculum and a variety of activities – from self-build games (like Minecraft and Tynker) to pre-programmed puzzles and challenges. The app is available on all devices and offers a worldwide community and support, ideal for both teachers and parents. You can try a 7-day free trial and then pay 9.99 dollars per month.
This app, while similar to those like Minecraft in its block-building interface, focuses more on teaching the concepts of coding rather than an actual coding language. The concepts include sequencing, conditions, loops, and more – ideal for those who have already at least some experience with playing coding games. Because these concepts are taught through play and a visual interface, however, they can be easily adopted by even younger kids. The app costs 2.99 dollars and is available for both iOS and Android devices.
Good news for kids (and parents or educators) who have no previous experience with coding – this website is just for you. Again, rather than programming itself, the website teaches the concepts behind it through puzzle-like assignments and coding games for kids. The concepts are introduced and built on gradually, so don’t skip over those you don’t like! You’ll need each lesson for a more thorough understanding. Playing all the levels is free.
Another staple in coding games for kids. Osmo is a tablet game that builds on physical objects that come with the game, par for the course of its Montessori-style approach. Osmo can be used both at home and in the classroom, all you need is the Osmo base, the app and the tangible pieces that children build while interacting with the screen. Osmo is meant for kids aged 5-12 and the most basic pack starts at 79 dollars (you pay for the physical product, while the app is free). The great thing about Osmo is that you can always build on the physical objects you have by buying new components. The system itself is simple and user-friendly, but offers a healthy challenge every step of the way. No wonder, it was developed by former Google engineers.
Besides those mentioned above, Robo Wunderkind is also a great introduction to coding for both the classroom and the home. Our modular robotics kit comprised of color-coded building blocks is intuitive to use and can be built on in an open-end fashion to fit the needs of more advanced coders. Furthermore, our apps (Robo Live, Robo Code, Robo Blockly) address the cognitive needs of different age groups, making our products available for children from 5 to 16 years old. We also offer themed weekly and monthly challenges for our worldwide coding community so that you never run out of creative ideas.
There’s a lot of coding games for kids to choose from, so make your pick and join the fun adventures of the world of technology!