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12 websites that teach children basic programming

Nowadays, just basic programming is almost a must to participate in our society.
But what is basic programming? And how can you teach children?

With the use of smartphones, tablets and the internet, the benefits of mastering the basic skills of programming are great.
There is no denying that computer science is essential to our modern lives.
Technology makes our lives easier (most of the time!) and everywhere you look you are surrounded by smart devices.

What is coding for children?

Coding is writing instructions for a computer to make the computer perform a task.
Coding is also called programming. A completed set of computer instructions is called a program.

Every app, game and software program we use requires a coded program to work.
Many of our home appliances and even our cars also require an encrypted program to work.

For a program to work, it must be written in a way that a computer understands.
This is done with a computer language. There are different computer languages designed for different types of computer programs.

These computer languages include HTML, Javascript, C and Python. Essentially, computer language converts human-generated instructions into binary code.
That is, series of ones and zeros that tell a computer what to do.

When learning basic programming, children usually first learn to use simplified, visual programming tools that allow them to build programs from pre-made blocks of code.
These blocks can be stacked on top of each other to form a series of instructions. This is commonly called block coding or block programming.

Children then usually move on to learning programming with text-based programming languages that use words, abbreviations, numbers and symbols to create the coded instructions.

Computational thinking

To learn to code, children also need to understand how computers work, they need to develop computational thinking.

Computational thinking involves a logical thought process to solve a problem, including the ability to detect and fix errors when a program does not work as you intended.
The only work of the computer and the instructions they received! If a program’s instructions are not written correctly, the program will not work properly.

Very young children can even start learning the principles of coding without touching a computer.
These types of coding games and activities provide children with the opportunity to learn the basics behind coding and to develop the logical thinking sequences, or computational thinking, that are useful once they start learning to code on a computer.

Why teach children basic programming?

Programming teaches children that finding a solution to a problem often involves a logical series of steps or actions.
It helps develop problem-solving skills such as perseverance, trial and error and understanding of cause and effect, analytical thinking and reasoning, as well as mathematical and language skills.

Coding also challenges children to think creatively and pursue innovative ideas and solutions.

What are the 12 best websites to learn basic programming?

1. Codemonkey, coding website for kids

Format: online, app, game-based coding
Age: 4+ to 13+ years
Costs: Free and paid

CodeMonkey invites users to code with block- or text-based programming language to solve a variety of increasingly difficult puzzles.
Each level contains an additional piece of code or a new function to use.
Great for home and school, the website includes coding courses at different levels – from Code Monkey Jr for 4+ years to Coding Chatbots for 13+ years.
This website is in English.

Get started with Codemonkey.

 basic programming2. Code.Org coding for kids website

Format: online, game
Age: 5+ years
Costs: Free

Code.org is the original home of Hour of Code and well known in education circles.
With sections dedicated to interactive tutorials and projects for grades 5 through 8, Code.org gets kids started with block coding before moving on to JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. This comprehensive resource is great for learning to code at home or in the classroom.
On this website you can select the language so that the website can also be used in Dutch.

Click through to learn more about code.org.

basic programming 3. Scratch & Scratch Jr

Format: online, app
Age: 5/8+ years
Costs: Free

For kids ages 8-16, Scratch is a great tool that can help them learn to code practically anything they can dream of.
Scratch allows programmers to program interactive stories, games and animations – and share their creations with others in the supportive online community. The system uses block programming.

Scratch is free to use for all coders, and schools can access the tools without a license.

Younger children can also learn with Scratch Jr, made for ages 5-7.

This website is also in Dutch.

Click through to get started with Scratch.

basic programming 4. Blockly. Free coding for children’s websites

Format: online
Age: 8+ years
Costs: Free

As the name suggests, Blockly teaches coding through a series of block programming puzzles.
Children must solve a series of eight puzzles by dragging and dropping the code blocks to solve a specific challenge.
Blockly is a simple tool created for children who have no previous experience with computer programming with the aim of introducing conventional text-based coding languages.
Children must be able to read independently to get through lessons without help from adults. The website is in Dutch.

Click through to give Blockly a try.

basic programming5. Code for Life

Format: online, lessons
Age: 6+ years
Costs: Free

Designed for use with students from elementary through high school, Code for Life uses Blockly and later Python to teach everything from coding basics to coding through gameplay. The comprehensive lesson plans are a great resource for teachers.
The website is in English.

Read more at Code for Life.

basic programming 6. Codakid, programming for children

Format: online, game
Age: 7+ years
Costs: paid

Offering hundreds of hours of video tutorials and coding tools, CodaKid teaches kids to use real programming languages (JavaScript, Java, Lua, and Unreal Blueprints) to accomplish all kinds of awesome coding tasks.

Start with a 14-day free trial at CodaKid.

basic programming 7. Tynker, Coding for Kids

Format: online, app
Age: 8+ years
Costs: Free and paid

Used by kids and schools around the world, Tynker teaches coding through comprehensive step-by-step tutorials.
Once the tutorials are completed, kids can create their own puzzles, games, websites and apps.
The website is free to use (block coding) but requires a subscription for programmers who want to take their expertise to the next level (advancement to Javascript and Python languages).
Includes free programs for teachers, as well as a comprehensive paid coding curriculum.
The website is in English.

Check out Tynker for some fun online coding fun.

basic programming 8. Codemoji, coding websites for kids.

Format: online
Age: 8+ years
Costs: Free trial/paid

Codemoji taps into children’s fascination with emojis as a clever visual code to teach the basics of computer coding, web design and animation.
It contains a great library of animated coding tutorials and interactive coding lessons.
Programmers can get started with a 14-day free trial, followed by a monthly/yearly subscription for home or classroom use.
This website is also in English.

Visit codemoji.com for more information.

 basic programming9. Code monster

Format: online, lessons
Age: 8+ years
Costs: Free

Code Monster introduces children to JavaScript programming through fun and interactive sessions with a cute, blue monster. Easy to use, there are two boxes – child code in one box and the result of their code displayed in the other box!
Children must be able to read English independently to get through lessons without help from adults.
The site contains 59 lessons and the user’s progress through the levels is automatically saved when accessed via the same computer and browser.
This website is also in English

Have some coding fun now with Code Monster.

 basic programming10. Code Combat, coding for kids

Format: Online, game-based coding
Age: 9+ years
Costs: Free and paid

This is a cool site for kids who like to play online games and learn to code while playing. The games are interactive, with players writing lines of code to control the action on the screen.
Players can choose between Python and Javascript languages, which become more difficult as programmers progress through the games step by step.

Kids can play the eleven CodeCombat levels online without creating a login, although they will need to create a free account to save their progress through the game levels.
There are also paid subscription options for further levels and paid personalized lessons for kids who want to learn more about coding. CodeCombat also offers licensing plans for schools with substantial support material for teachers and is also in Dutch.

Learn to code while gaming at CodeCombat.com.

basic programming 11. Stencyl, encryption website.

Format: online
Age: 10+ years
Costs: Free and paid

Stencyl is block coding, and therefore basic programming, just like the popular Scratch, but with turbo-boosted capabilities!
Users can create games that can be published on different platforms with simple block coding.
Includes tutorials and a wide range of useful resources, including an educational kit for schools.
This is all in English.

Try Stencyl for free at stencyl.com.

Paid upgrades provide more game sharing options for those who want to publish their completed games and educational licenses to schools.

12. Code Avengers, basic programming.

Format: online.
Age: 5+
Costs: 7 day trial period, paid

Code Avengers is a striking graphical, game-like habitat with a range of free introductory lessons for building web pages, mobile apps and games.
Get started with the seven-day free trial. The languages Python, HTML web development and JavaScript are all discussed.
A language selection is possible on the website, but we believe it will remain in English.

Look here for Code Avengers

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