Jumpstart Kids With Coding: Hour of Code & Other Free Activities

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Coding has become an essential skill for students to learn; it drives innovation and creativity, as well as, builds self-confidence. According to Tynker.com, “In today’s digital world, coding is a fundamental skill alongside math and reading.”  The sooner children become familiar with complex coding concepts, such as sequencing, loops, and conditionals, the more they will understand them. By starting early, students will be better prepared for success in any 21st century career path.

To jumpstart your child with coding, try these five free coding activities:

1. Hour of Code
Hour of Code presented by code.org is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. A great resource for parents and teachers, Hour of Code offers one hour introductions to computer science through free student-guided tutorials. These tutorials are for all ages and teaches kids that anybody can learn the basics of coding. The official Hour of Code week is December 4-10, 2017, but you can access the tutorials year-round. No sign-up or login is needed to participate; simply navigate to the website, click on a tutorial, and spend an hour coding. Interested in hosting an Hour of Code event?  Join the movement today!

2.  LightBot
One of STEM Revolution’s favorite coding apps is LightBot. LightBot is a puzzle game where students must help the robot reach its destination by coding its movements. Through this game, students practice coding concepts such as sequencing, overloading, procedures, recursive loops, and conditionals. LightBot was designed for first-time coders and friendly to all-ages. Over 20 millions kids and tens of thousands of teachers worldwide have played LightBot. The full app costs $2.99, but the company has recently partnered with Hour of Code to create a FREE one hour demo game. The hour demo challenges students to program LightBot to light up all the blue squares in the game.

3. Scratch
Scratch is a completely FREE online platform where students can program their own stories, games, and animations, as well as, share their creations with others in its online community. Designed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT Media Lab, Scratch teaches young people important strategies for solving problems, designing projects, and communicating ideas. Originally designed for ages 8 to 16, Scratch is used by people of all ages. STEM Revolution loves Scratch and often uses it to teach students coding in its summer camps and student workshops.

4.  Khan Academy
Khan Academy is a FREE online resource that offers lessons on many STEM subjects. For more advanced students who want a deeper understanding of coding, we recommend using Khan Academy’s Computer Programming Tutorials & Games. With these, your child will receive an introduction to popular coding languages such as JavaScript, SQL, and HTML, as well as, practice their new skills with games. These tutorials will familiarize your child with writing code and manipulating existing code. Once students complete the computer programming lessons, they can learn about other computer concepts such as computer science and computer animation.

5. Codecademy
Like Khan Academy, Codecademy offers FREE lessons on popular coding languages. This interactive website teaches students how to code in Python, Java, JavaScript, and Ruby through its programming tutorials. Codecademy also provides tutorials on other aspects of computer science, such as web development and data science. Where Khan Academy is more friendly to all ages, Codecademy is better suited for high school aged youth.

STEM Revolution is passionate about preparing students for the 21st century and coding is a fundamental skill to their future success. Get started today and see the difference coding can make in your child’s life!