Summer is winding down, back to school shopping sales are in full swing sooo that means school is starting back. Is it just me or did summer really fly by? Anyway, back on topic lol…I get asked often by parents if there are things they can have their child can do online for coding or app development, etc. Well yes, yes there is. Let’s get into the some ways your kids can learn tech online…oh and did I mention most of these resources are free?? Let’s go!
First up is Code.org, which is a great site because it can be used for such a wide range of ages. They have resources for kids as early as kindergarten! What also makes it so inviting is that they have lots of code based activities. Some that incorporate cartoon and movie characters that they know and love (like Frozen, The Avengers, even Gumball), so it helps get them excited!
They’ve got full lessons and shorter ones as well, Hour of Code is one of those. It’s what it sounds like in that you’re getting a intro lesson and you’ll end up building an app or quick in under an hour..at the very least you’ll have have a basic understanding of the concepts, and it’s presented in a way kids can understand and follow!
Have a kid that’s into games but isn’t quite into the coding part yet? I find that Sploder, helps them with the concept and storytelling behind games. Sploder is an online site that lets kids (or adults) create and publish their own games for free.99! No really they can create (or you if they’re not old enough for emails yet) a free account and design games! Sploder offers a platformer game creator, a retro game creator, a physics puzzle (the jury is out on this one, none of my students or my son used it) and one called The Algorithm Crew, it’s kind of cool, more mission based style of play.
It’s drag and drop style in most of the creators and your kids can test each level of their game before publishing. I always had my students QA each others games because sometimes you miss stuff. The excitement though when they published and couldn’t wait to share the link with their parents!
The last one I’m going to introduce is Scratch. This was born out of the MIT Media Lab. This is what alot of schools use, and alot of other coding programs and curriculum’s use to introduce coding. It presents the arguments in the form of blocks, that the kids have to place and connect together for actions or commands to be executed. It has some step by step tutorials as well, or you can go in and use a project as the base, and “remix” it. Meaning you’re using some of their code in your project.
I did a project on here years back it’s a falling objects style game I did for Little Debbie when I was an ambassador really simple not really advanced but it was fun. You can play it here if you want!
Got older kids?? Maybe they’d enjoy building an app?
So a question I get asked often when I teach classes or have parents with older kids, is “What’s the next step, is there something more advanced?” Well MIT (some brilliant minds and things over there) has another platform, MIT App Inventor. This platform is free, and has full blown tutorials to help your kids or you, build an app. Some of the easiest apps can be built in under an hour!
There are definitely other sites out there as well, some you can pay for, others have trials, but I encourage you to start here and see if you kids have an interest in coding or other aspects of STEM. I know STEM camps can be costly so this is a great way to let them explore without banging up your wallet. They can grasp alot of these concepts early, don’t believe me I took DJ on the news with me to share about year ago, you can check out our interview with Good Morning Washington!