7 Amazing Coding Games For Kids To Improve Their Skills

Coding doesn’t always sound like fun to kids, and as adults it can feel almost like a punishment to put your kid through a coding class, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be this way.

7 Amazing Coding Games For Kids To Improve Their Skills

One way kids learn, in general, is through play. Play doesn’t mean slacking off, but is a way for kids to embrace their creative side and experiment with things without great consequence.

Screen time can be a currency we often don’t want to trade in, but with these games screen time can be used for a learning experience and kids can grow fast intellectually with these games.

Outside of the screen, there are actually lots of physical resources, games, that are tactile and embrace kids’ love of touching and manipulating objects.

No matter which game you choose, all the games on our list are designed to be entertaining but also to teach your kids about coding, computational thought, and many other skills they can take into their future life and careers, whether they become coders or not.

Keep reading to find your kids new favorite game, today, just read below!

1. Scratch

Scratch, and Scratch Jr. has been teaching kids how to code since the early 2000s and is a proven game or tool to help kids learn how to code.

Scratch has the largest coding community for kids out there, and comes directly from the clever clogs at MIT. It’s free, accessible within a browser, and is available in more than 70 languages.

Scratch is designed for kids aged 8 to 16 but can be used by people of all ages for an easy approach to computational thought and general problem solving.

Scratch provides a very simple visual interface where kids can learn how to create (see also: Creating An Outdoor Learning Space For Free Or Frugal)digital stories, their own games, or simple animations, by using a really simple coding language.

The stuff you learn on Scratch can make the basics of other coding languages really simple as you have probably crossed these bridges already on Scratch.

2. Scratch Jr.

With normal Scratch, it’s generally made for kids over the age of eight, or slightly younger kids who are ahead of their curve.

Yet, if you have even younger kids and want their screen time to be used on something educational as well as entertaining, then Scratch Jr. could be the best choice.

Made for kids aged 5 – 7, Scratch Jr. is basically a more simple version of Scratch, that does many of the same things.

It can be worth starting with Scratch Jr. for younger kids with the view that they can move up to the normal Scratch should they progress.

In addition there is the official Scratch Jr. Book you can buy for non-screen-time, as well as the Scratch Jr. Coding Cards to embrace the learning experience alongside your child.

3. Minecraft

Kids love Minecraft, and while it seems like a video game, it’s actually one of the best games out there to capture your child’s imagination, creativity and expression.

There isn’t any literal mention of coding in the game, but when you are talking about problem solving, efficiency theory, and general computational thought, there is perhaps no better way to engage this than in Minecraft. 

Minecraft will teach basic computational thought processes to kids of all ages.

Watch as your kid plays and over time they become more efficient, solve problems on the fly with experience, build things from their own imagination, and embrace concepts they will use for life.

Your kid will undoubtedly learn things through Minecraft, without even really noticing it.

4. Code Monkey Island

Like the idea of kids learning coding while they play, but don’t want to add any more screen time, or alone time? This board game could be a result. Welcome to code monkey island where you can learn about coding as a family.

Kids aged 8 and up, as well as adults, can embrace the game of Code Monkey Island. Here, you will learn programming concepts that are used in the real world, all through some simple games that are effectively problems that need to be solved.

Each thing you learn is actually related to a real concept, like Boolean logic, or assignment, etc.

It has great reviews and is something even parents can enjoy who have no coding background, the game is simply about problem solving with programming concepts that are actually quite innate. With this board game you can socialize, and learn, all while having lots of fun.

5. Mimo

Speaking of learning languages, you may have taken up apps such as Duolingo to do this, which contains fun daily challenges and goals that make it easier to keep your learning going on with streaks and rewards.

Mimo is basically the same model as Duolingo or another language learning app but instead teaches coding.  It’s a simple and free app that will teach your kid all sorts of stuff.

The app offers daily goals and streaks, achievement badges, and teaches kids all sorts of skills like building websites, automating tasks, app development, and more, in a way that is really bite size and easy for kids to smash through when bored.

For kids aged 12 and up this is a great way for them to hone those coding skills, for school, or just for the future.

6. CodeMonkey

CodeMonkey is a great one for younger kids, and has a game-based approach that can teach kids how to code from scratch.

The game based approach is really useful for kids who may struggle with attention or engagement issues and keeps them interested in the games, even if they aren’t keen on the theory behind it.

It’s another browser based game, which means you can monitor your child as well as the time they are spending on the computer itself, rather than letting them run away with a tablet.

Moreover, parents love checking the progress of their kids and seeing what they have learned on the way.

You can start for free and see how they enjoy it before committing to a purchase. The purchase options are generally plan based, and can have most value when learning with multiple kids.

7. Kodable

This is a great option for young kids as young as four, and is a great app to play games on that will ultimately teach them how to code.

The games are super interactive and have the production quality of a Disney programme. This said, you can start the app for free to see if you like it but there are payment plans as their main form of subscription, starting from pretty cheap.

Perhaps the best high about the app is that while it starts as young as four, you can actually use the app until around the age of 11, so you do get your money’s worth, and the breadth of what’s available to learn is big.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, learning coding at a young age can be really conducive for a coding career, among many other beneficial skills you learn through coding that can be applied anywhere in life.

There are loads of games out there that suit different needs and attention spans, as well as kids of different ages and learning abilities. 

Get your kid started on one of these games today, learn with them, laugh with them, and make learning a fun experience they cherish and remember!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Young Kids Actually Learn About Coding?

We know what you are thinking, surely coding is a bit out of the reach of my young child, when even I as a parent might struggle with it.

Of course, none of these games will teach your kid how to code fluently in Python, the idea here is to hone their ‘computational thought’ rather than literal coding skills.

It’s best compared to learning a language. Both coding and language learning experts, respectively, will tell you that in terms of learning languages and coding, it’s best to start young.

A child who grows up around Spanish and is familiar with it will pick up easily in later life and will already have some hold of the language as a child.

But you wouldn’t start teaching them Spanish grammar at this age, although they may have all the building blocks there to speak the language. 

The same is true of coding, when they grow up honing their computational thought coding comes really easy later down the line.

But like grammar, there’s no point teaching them Python right now, but simply getting the framework ready so the coding comes easy.

Moreover, computational thought, which is the main thing being taught here, isn’t necessarily contained to computing and coding.

Computational thought is really useful in many other professional settings such as engineering, design, even working in a kitchen.

Suzy Anderson
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