Every kid loves to play games whether it’s on the phone, computer, or console.
The concept of programming sounds scary to some kids. Kids don’t know that they could already start programming at their age. Luckily there are a multitude of free apps which combine the fun from playing video games and coding/programming into one app.
Here are the top 5 in our opinion
1. The Foos: Code for an Hour FREE educational app
The Foos: Code for an Hour FREE girls and boy’s educational app features monster characters that will appeal to both boys and girls; in this case, however, those characters’ work together, and the game plays out in a story format. The levels get increasingly harder and the story more complicated. Kids have to figure out what to do and how to do it on their own, which will be an empowering feature for most kids and frustrating for some. A solutions guide is available through the parent section, which is essential, as some levels involve trickier solutions requiring multiple characters. Overall, it’s a fun and educational way to expose kids to the basis of programming.
Recommended for children ages 5+
LightBot is a very challenging puzzler which does an amazing job of teaching kids programming concepts. However, it’s most likely to engage kids who would be drawn to programming in the first place. This is mostly because of the quickly escalating challenges. There are no user accounts, so only one player at a time can work through the levels, but kids can erase and start over for a new player. It’s easy to get stuck for a while on some levels, and no hints or clues are offered. Kids get as many chances as they need to be successful, though, and they’ll learn from each failure.
CARGO-BOT’s challenge is great for all ages. Kids learn programming concepts as they figure out the most direct way to reach their goal of getting the crates in place. The best part is that the game itself was developed using Codea, a programming language specifically designed for the iPad, so kids can see an example of what is possible and what they can create using programming logic. With Cargo-Bot kids can learn a variety of programming skills in a fun, challenging game.
Recommended for all ages
Codea as a programming is amazing. The ease of use on the iPad along with the visual pop-ups within the code and the immediate response of code errors make it a great tool for beginners. The tools and resources are easily accessible on the iPad, so the app is touch-screen friendly. User-friendly however does not mean easy. Programming is hard and kids should not expect to pick this up within a few minutes and create their own app. Learning to program takes time, patience, and focus. The app is straightforward so kids will need to find some internal motivation to work through it. But for those who are motivated, Codea puts the resources kids need to learn and practice programing on the iPad.
Recommended for children ages 13+
This app is for kids although nothing is stopping adults from using it too. It’s a programming language for iPad that allows kids to generate their own games, apps and animations through puzzle solving programming logic. It evolved out the Daisy the Dinosaur app, which was created by Samantha John at MIT to encourage other women to get a grasp of fundamental programming logic.
Recommended for children ages 6+