The 18 Best Apps, Robots & Tools for Kids to Learn Coding

The 18 Best Apps, Robots & Tools for Kids & Teens to Learn Coding

For about two years now, I’ve been trying to narrow down the plethora of apps, websites, robots and other tools which allege to be THE BIG THING schools need to teach kids coding. I must have run through a couple of hundred in that time. What follows are my favorite tools sorted by age group.

Please feel free to share with acknowledgement.

Let me know what you think.

(The images and titles are hyperlinked to each tool’s homepage. Other links are also live.)

KINDERGARTEN & JUNIOR PRIMARY (AGES 3-8)

App / Tool

Details

Support Material

Usage

Code-a-Pillar

This is both an app and a physical robot. They can be used independently or together.
The Code-A-Pillar encourages kids to experiment as they play, helping them to develop coding, sequencing and critical thinking skills.
None required. Ages 3-6

Free App

For best results, purchase the physical robot!

Robot Turtles

Robot Turtles is a board game you play with your favorite 3-8 year old kids.
It sneakily teaches the fundamentals of programming.
None required Ages 3-8

$25 per set

Scratch Jr

Children can modify characters in the paint editor, add their own voices and sounds, even insert photos of themselves — then use the programming blocks to make their characters come to life. In the process, they learn to solve problems, design projects, and express themselves creatively on the computer.
Tutorials as well as teacher guides, curricula and assessments are available HERE Ages 5-8

Absolutely free!

Hello Ruby

Hello Ruby is the world’s most whimsical way to learn about computers, technology and programming. It’s suited for kids age 5 years and older (but even adults might learn something new).
Lesson plans, videos, and community resources available HERE Ages 5-8

Website resources are free

Purchase the companion books HERE

CodeSpark Academy

Completely word-free. Based on research-backed curriculum from MIT and Princeton. Built with girls in mind without pandering. Self-directed – no experience required.
Educator resources available HERE Ages 4-9

Free for schools. Set up an account HERE

SENIOR PRIMARY (AGES 9 TO 12)

App / Tool

Details

Support Material

Usage

Scratch

Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century.
Many learning and support materials available around the web. Ages 9 to 12 (and up!)

Absolutely free!

Tynker

Tynker is a complete learning system that teaches kids to code. Kids begin experimenting with visual blocks, then progress to JavaScript and Python as they design games, build apps, and make incredible projects.
Educator resources available HERE Ages 9 to 12

Free option.

(Paid plans are available starting from $400 per class)

The Everything Machine

Put the camera, microphone, speaker, screen, gyroscope, and light to work for you.
Create something as simple as a light switch or as complex as a kaleidoscope, a voice disguiser, a stop-motion camera, or a cookie thief catcher!
Manual available HERE Ages 9 to 12

App costs $2.99 once off.

Tinybop has a range of other unusual and cool apps! See HERE

Kodable

Kodable translates computer science into easy-to-teach lessons and games that kids love.
Many resources available HEREi Ages 9 to 12

Free option.

School license: $600 per annum

Lego WeDo2

The accompanying desktop and tablet supported software provides an easy-to-use programming environment and includes the WeDo 2.0 Curriculum Pack, which covers life, physical, earth, and space sciences, as well as engineering.
Free app contains subject-aligned and investigation-based lesson plans

Can be used with Scratch!

Ages 9 to 12

WeDo2 set: $190

Sphero Robots

Draw, use block-code, or try JavaScript to code your Sphero robot.
Many resources, examples and lesson plans available HERE. Ages 9 to 16

App: Free

Various Sphero models available from $50 to $130

JUNIOR HIGH (AGES 13 TO 15)

App / Tool

Details

Support Material

Usage

Get Ready

An unusual digital creation tool.
Make and publish your own games & apps to any app store with no coding experience.
Curriculum resources available HERE Ages 13-15

Free

Lego Boost

&/or Lego EV3

Vernie can move in all directions at variable speed on its large tracks, see objects and colors, sense distance, grip and carry accessories, make hand gestures and launch darts from its shoulder mounted shooter!
By combining LEGO® EV3 elements with a programmable brick, motors and sensors, you can make your creations walk, talk, grab, think, shoot and do almost anything you can imagine!
No additional resources for Boost yet.

There are thousands of resources off EV3. The best is probably THIS one.

EV3 robots are compatible with many coding apps.

Ages 13 & up

App is free

BOOST robot: $160

EV3 Robot: $410

Coding With Chrome

Coding with Chrome is a Google project to provide an easy-to-use coding programming environment (IDE) within the Chrome browser that even works offline. Currently, users are able to create programs using Blockly, Coffeescript, HTML, Javascript and Python with output to Logo Turtle and/or connected toys such as the Sphero, mBot and Lego Mindstorms.
None. Ages 13 & up

Free of charge

Swift Playgrounds

Swift Playgrounds is a revolutionary app for iPad that makes learning Swift interactive and fun. It requires no coding knowledge, so it’s perfect for students just starting out. Solve puzzles to master the basics using Swift…
All resources included in the app

Curriculum Guide HERE

Teacher Guide iBook HERE

Ages 13 & up

Free of charge

Code Combat

CodeCombat is a platform for students to learn computer science while playing through a real game.
Resources available HERE Ages 13 & up

CodeCombat is free to play for core levels

$9.99 USD/ mo for access to extra level branches

SENIOR HIGH & BEYOND (AGES 16 & UP)

App / Tool

Details

Support Material

Usage

Code.org

Code.org® is a non-profit dedicated to expanding access to computer science and increasing participation by women and underrepresented minorities. Our vision is that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science, just like biology, chemistry or algebra.
Mostly student driven. Guides and manuals provided.

Many teacher resources available HERE

Ages 16 & up

(Some courses available for younger coders)

Teaching London Computing

Teaching London Computing supports Computing teachers in London and beyond (we hope our resources help you wherever you are) providing workshops and free classroom resources.
The entire site is filled with teacher-based resources Ages 16 & up

(Some courses available for younger coders)

Mainly for teachers

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