3 Best Free Coding Websites for Kids

Free Coding Sites for Kids

Are there free coding websites for kids?

Do these free coding websites really offer free coding lessons for kids?

Can there be real learning through those free coding websites for kids?

There are several free coding websites available online but only a few people know. Also, a lot of people consider coding as complicated and intimidating. So, only a number dared to search and learn coding.

Besides, we all have impressions that it requires a higher IQ to start coding. However, although a higher IQ is a great advantage passion, diligence, perseverance, patience, determination and grit are highly required not to mention good ethics.

Good Ethics??? Yes… You heard it right… Well, this is just my personal opinion… I hope programmers will keep good ethics so as not to use this coding power to create programs that harms instead of help.

Enough of my sentiments… Let’s get rolling…

Let’s Explore Three Free Coding Websites for Kids

Scratch

Code.Org

Code Monster

Nowadays, free coding websites are available online complete with courses introducing the concepts of coding for kids. They are made as easy as pie. Kudos to the programmers and developers who came up with the idea of creating colorful and attractive coding platform for kids. These coding platforms come with easy drag-and-drop puzzle like code pieces. Some even features characters that kids will surely love. Moreover, some even offer it for FREE… Amazing, right?

Some companies are just extraordinarily generous in offering their services for free.

Scratch

One of the free coding websites available online is this colorful and powerful coding platform developed and maintained by Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT Media Lab. Generally, it caters not only to kids of all ages but also to kids at heart.

It has a colorful interface and puzzle like command blocks. Hence, this will help kids develop their creativity and analytical skills. In addition, through this platform, kids can create their own animations, interactive stories and games.

Furthermore, you can use desktops and tablets for this program as it supports and runs in most browsers. As of now, creating and editing projects on phone are not possible. However, viewing them is possible. Scratch also has a downloadable app which allow its users to create and edit projects offline.

What’s Inside Scratch

Let us check what does one of the popular free coding websites has to offer:

  • SPRITES. Sprites are various animated characters in different category such as Animals, People, Fantasy, Dance, Music, Sports, Food, Fashion and Letters. In addition, you can choose the ones that you want to use in your project. Also, you can modify these sprites under the Costume Tab which allows you to change its color and alter its shape.
  • STAGE/BACKDROPS. Different choices of backgrounds that serve as the set for the project. And this has various category such as Fantasy (castles), Music, Sports, Outdoors, Indoors, Space, Underwater and Patterns. Moreover, you can make some changes on each stage through the Backdrops Tab.
  • CODE BLOCKS. There are different colorful coding blocks available such as Motion, Looks, Sound, Events, Control, Sensing, Operators, Variables and My Blocks.
  • SOUND EFFECTS. There is a list of recorded sounds available for use. Moreover, this platform allows you to create, record and use your own sound files.
  • ADD EXTENSION. This feature allows you to add play instruments, draw with your sprite and sense motion with your camera. Scratch also had some collaboration with companies like Google, Lego, Vernier, micro:bit, Amazon Web Services and Joylabz. Hence, if you have Lego WeDo 2.0, Lego Boost and Lego Mindstorm EV3, making a program through Scratch is now possible.
  • SHARE. You can share the projects among the scratch community members allowing them to see and give comments on your projects.
  • TUTORIALS / IDEAS. This contains lessons to help beginners with Scratch. There are at least five categories to choose from: 1) Animation; 2) Art; 3) Music; 4) Games; and 5) Stories.
  • CODING CARDS. There is a PDF file of the entire collection of coding cards available for download. Included in this file are sample programs with its codes.

Sample Program: Dance Party on Scratch

Free Coding Websites for Kids

In this sample program, Dance Party, I used three sprites: 1) Champ; 2) Cat; and 3) Bear. Also, the backdrop called Spotlight. And of course, a pop music to complete the party.

In addition, Take note that the names on the sprites and backdrop are changeable if desired by clicking the costume tab.

What Are Costumes

Each sprite has its pre-programmed appearances called costumes. Besides, we can change these as we wish. We can also create extra costumes for our sprites. We can freely change its color, size and overall look. For example, we can make Cat’s right arm longer and bigger than the left or make its body bigger than its head. We can even separate its body parts which can give room to a magic story by putting back the body parts together again. Our own creativity and imagination is the limit.

Backdrops also has costumes. We can create multiple costumes for the same backdrop. This gives the impression of motion or phasing on the background.



Code.org

Another of the most popular free coding websites is Code.org. This platform promotes and encourages students to have an hour of code. It offers courses for children 4 years old and above. There are a lot of resources available not only for students but for parents and educators as well. Parents and teachers can make theirs and their students’ accounts. Signing up as a teacher will allow you to create a section for your class and monitor your student’s progress.

What’s Inside Code.Org

As you signed up with Code.org, you will get to know the reason why it is one of the admired free coding websites. Introductory tutorials are available for beginners. In addition, each tutorial has a corresponding teacher’s guide. Furthermore, a PDF file of all lessons is also available for download.

Check out the list below for more information:

  • Dashboard. Every user has his/her own dashboard. Hence, the user can easily select and track his training courses and view his projects.
  • Courses. There are different courses available which are divided according to age group. There are Pre-Reader Course for ages 4 to 8 and Express Course for ages 9 to 18. Each course has easy to follow step by step lessons that students will surely have fun learning.
  • Projects. After going through the courses, students can create and publish their own projects. There are a lot of project ideas available including game, app and web projects. Remix on projects are also allowed.
  • Unplugged Activities. Lessons and activities are also available for those who do not have computers.

Tutorial Program: Dance Party

Free Coding Sites for Kids

Similarly, like the other free coding websites, Code.org also has colorful puzzle like coding blocks. The image above is from one of the introductory tutorial project, Dance Party. We can see that the interface has different parts. Since this a dance program, an option to Select a Song is available. Normally, the interface includes Instructions, Blocks, Workspace, Output and Hint sections only.

How To Code

Learning to code here is as simple as ABC, the instructions are clearly stated, only the blocks needed for the program are shown in the Blocks area. After dragging and dropping those blocks to the Workspace area, you simply hit RUN button to see how the code works. Then, in case you need help, clicking the Lightbulb or the video below the Run button will show the steps on how to accomplish the given task.

Gee, I think this platform is really amazing! Even parents or educators who are non programmers can easily teach their kids at home or in school using these tools.

Code Monster

The third among the three free coding websites that I want to let you know is Code Monster. This is a coding platform by crunchzilla.com. It introduces JavaScript code through easy to follow step by step lessons. On the site page, there is a blue monster that gives instructions about the task/s for accomplishment. Then, the coding interface has two sections: 1) for typing the codes; and 2) for the output.

What Can Be Learned in Code Monster

Although this coding platform is not as a colorful as the other two free coding websites mentioned above, I can say that this one is also praise worthy. And as much as I hate to spill the beans but to strongly encourage you to try Code Monster, I want to give you a glimpse of what is inside this one of the well-like free coding websites.

Here are some of them:

  • Draw a LINE, a BOX, a TRIANGLE, a CIRCLE and STARS. Sounds so basic and easy, right? Well, with a pen it is but asking a machine to do it is quite not. We need the proper set of words that machines understand called syntax. It is very important to learn the right syntax. It has spelling and usage rules like human language. Whilst human language can still be understandable despite poor grammar and spelling, it is not the case with machine language. Incorrect usage or misspelling will cause wrong outputs or syntax errors. Every programming language has its own unique syntax, although there is similarity in most of the basic ones.
  • Add Color and Transparency. There are also a number lessons and activities on adding color and transparency to the objects.
  • Use Variables, Operators, If and Comparison Statements, For Loops, Nested Loops and Functions. Code Monster clearly explained what they are, how to use them and provided ample number of activities for practice. Understanding their differences and usage will also be beneficial when learning other programming languages.
  • Create Animation. This is the most fun part of the course. There are lessons and activities on making the objects move and come to life that will surely make the student feel like a pro!

The Program Interface 

However, unlike the other two free coding websites Scratch and Code.org, Code Monster has no colorful puzzle like blocks. It introduces real and actual coding using Javascript syntax in a less intimidating way. This course takes more or less an hour and a half to do everything and finish it. Thus, for younger learners, it is best to keep their coding hours shorter or do the lessons part by part to have a better grasp of the lesson. The important thing is doing it consistently like 20 to 30 minutes or doing a task or two in a day. I would also suggest doing and learning the course repeatedly to achieve mastery.

Free Coding Websites for Kids

When you go to the site, it will take you right away to its tutorial course. On the one hand, you can see the task/s on the dialog box. On the other hand, you need to type the right code to complete the task on the coding area. As a result, you can see the output displayed on the output area right after writing your code. The Coding Monster will proceed to the next task when you click the green dialog box for .

Let’s Know More About c.fillRect()

The first lesson is on c.fillRect() method. Programmers use this method in drawing a rectangle filled with color like the black box seen on the image.

On the left side, you can notice the parameters. They are the numbers inside the parenthesis. Respectively, the first two are x and y coordinates of the upper left corner of the rectangle. As you change the values of the x and y, the rectangle changes its position inside the box.

Base on the image, the initial x value is at 20. Making it higher than that will cause the rectangle to move to the RIGHT and lowering the value will move it to the LEFT. Moreover, the initial y value is also at 20. Increasing its value will cause the rectangle to move DOWN and decreasing the value will move it UP.

Take note that only positive values are allowed. Negative values will cause the rectangle to disappear from the output area.

The remaining two numbers represent the width and length of the rectangle. Hence, as you play with these numbers, this affects the size of the rectangle. The greater the numbers mean a bigger rectangle and the lesser the numbers mean a smaller one. Putting the same values for width and length will result in a square.

This is just the first lesson, as you go and visit the site, more lessons are available to ensure learning of the Javascript language.

Conclusion

Are there free coding websites for kids?

The three coding websites above are the proof that there are. Actually, there are more. But the sites above are so far the ones which I have tried already. Later, I may update this article and add more available free coding sites for kids.

Do these free coding websites really offer free coding lessons for kids?

Yes, they do. They are not just trial versions! Complete courses are offered! In those free coding websites, it is not the case of a few free lessons then pay a certain fee if you want more. So we should just grab this precious opportunity to let our kids learn coding for free.

Can there be real learning through those free coding websites for kids?

These three free coding websites already offered complete courses. They are designed in easy to follow step by step lessons. However, real learning is a two way process. The teacher with the right materials and the students themselves. These websites already provided the right materials needed for learning. Now, it is up to the teacher to properly apply and utilize these materials to ensure learning on students. And the students should give full cooperation and compliance to make learning effective.

The three free coding websites above are so far the best in my experience. I would recommend trying these out first especially for beginners. As the kids mastered the basics and progressed to advanced level then enrolling to a formal programming school could be the next step.

 

Have you tried any of these free coding websites?

Are there other free coding websites that you can recommend?

How do you find this article about free coding websites?

Please share your answer/s by posting a comment below.

See our post What is Lego Education WeDo 2.0 Core Set?

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6 Replies to “3 Best Free Coding Websites for Kids”

  1. This is truly an amazing and very informative site. After reading just a few of your articles I was really captivated and enjoyed reading what I saw. Knowledge is power and I can confidently say that anyone who visits this site and reads these articles will surely learn something new.

    Great work and keep up this kind of content because it is much appreciated.

  2. Hello,

    After reading several of the articles on your website and perusing a couple more, I was totally fascinated with the idea of kids learning robotics and coding of computer programs. I am sure most kids would love to learn more about this topic just like they love to play games on the computer or tablets or even phones. It is exciting to know that kids can become more involved in how the robotic and coding system actually begins and then how it continues to develop into something they actually understand.

    Keep up the great work because I love the topic.

    1. Thank you Sandy!

      Your comment is much appreciated!~

      Kids should really know as young as they are about robotics and coding because it will be an indispensable part of their future.

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