Top 8 Kids’ Coding Languages 2020
Have you ever thought about teaching your child how to code? Here are 8 kids’ coding languages perfect for starting your child’s coding journey.
Coding is an essential life skill which teaches not just about computer programs, but also about more complex aspects like problem-solving, communication, collaborating with others, resilience and more.
Coding typically involves a lot of commands and familiarizing particular syntax. However, to help the kids grasp the benefits of coding early in life, coding has been gamified to a large extent in the last decade.
There are platforms where kids mostly drag and drop code blocks on a canvas rather than writing the actual code. In short, kids can start learning how to code in a fun and entertaining manner.
Scratch is a drag-and-drop coding language developed at MIT. Scratch provides easy to use visual blocks that kids can drop and attach with each other to create games, animations and stories.
Scratch was built so that the kids get a creative environment to express themselves in a fun and interactive way.
Various components like operations, actions and events develop logical reasoning and mindfulness in kids without having to deal with actual code writing.
Scratch is also free to use and has a huge community of more than 15 million people all over the world, learning how to code.
TinkerCAD is a 3D modelling platform where kids can make 3D shapes, models, and designs using block programming.
What this means is that there are blocks of code already written on the platform. The kids just stack these blocks together following a logic of what they want to build. And then, press Play to see their creations come live on the screen.
They can, of course, edit and rearrange the blocks to see how it changes the overall shape or design.
TinkerCAD is developed by AutoCAD, which is the world leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment and claims to be the stepping stone for learning AutoCAD later in life.
MakeCode by Microsoft
We talked about MakeCode briefly above in the Modding section. But, MakeCode is more than just modding for Minecraft.
MakeCode is an open-source platform developed by Microsoft, especially to develop coding skills in kids. This platform has both block-based and text-based programming options and is suitable for kids from 6 – 14 years of age.
MakeCode offers fun coding projects (like Modding of Minecraft games) which give pathways to more real-world programming. Kids can also learn to integrate electronic components like circuit boards, lights etc. from the projects on MakeCode.
It is a browser-based platform that does not require you to download anything and can be run on a mobile device as well.
Blockly is an intuitive and visual way of coding developed by Google. It provides blocks of code to represent various coding concepts like logical expressions, loops, variables and so on.
These blocks allow kids to grasp programming concepts and develop logical understanding without having to worry about syntax or errors in code.
Swift is an iOS programming language, and Swift Playgrounds is an iPad and Mac app to teach Swift programming to your kids.
As like the platforms above, this one too does not require any prior coding knowledge. The app has fun lessons for kids to play through, telling them about the basics of programming and the Swift language.
There is also an option for older kids to take on the challenges designed by the Apple team and develop those within the app itself.
Robotics is a very interesting way of learning how to code. It is also a way which most kids are already curious about. Lego Mindstorms comes in 2 parts – the hardware or the Lego kit which you will have to purchase and a Lego EV3 programming app which runs or computers or tablets.
The app is free to use and is visually appealing, designed in a way to attract kids.
The Lego program is written horizontally like a logical flowchart of events rather than an actual program, but the problems are simple enough for kids of 8+ years to understand and solve.
The Lego kit contains a lot of lego blocks from arms and axles to caterpillar tracks and compatible wheels. These can be used to make simple Lego robots which can be then activated using programming instructions given through the app.
If your kid has been a lego fan until now, this will be a good progression for them.
Alice is a free to use, interactive block-based coding platform which teaches kids how to solve real-life coding problems in languages like C++, Java and C#.
It is meant for creating animations and simple 3D games. The platform looks a bit outdated and old but is actually clutter-free for kids to use.
The focus here is to teach logical and thinking skills, basics of programming and be the first exposure into the world of Object-Oriented Programming for these kids.
GameMaker Studio is a game development engine which enables kids and teens to create video games. This is made possible by having a custom visual programming language called Game Maker Language (GML).
GML can be used to create even the more advanced games which were not possible using the drag and drop (DnD) feature before.
GameMaker Studio is great for kids aged 10-15 who are into video games. It can give them an idea of how things which happen in video games are created in real life.
Whether it’s about learning a particular language or just coding basics in general, each of these platforms will give your child a good foundation to develop the right way of thinking and logical reasoning.