We get a lot of questions from parents on the best ways to practice coding at home. This is especially true of parents who don’t feel comfortable in their own coding skills. So, we’ve compiled this list of free resources that we consistently recommend as great places for any family to start coding.
Code.org - All Ages
This is one of the best-known sites for teaching kids and teens to code. Their website tutorials can be used by all ages, from pre-readers to teens preparing for college. You and your child can create a free account, or, if you’re an educator, you can create a teacher account and monitor your students’ progress, assign courses, and learn on your own.
Scratch - All Ages
Scratch as an essential tool for our Generation Code Level 1 course. Students can create short animations, musical compositions, and sensory video projects as well as hundreds of other projects. Scratch is an excellent tool to practice visual coding and ignite students curiosity and passion while developing their computational thinking skills. One of our favorite projects is creating your own characters and backgrounds based on uploaded or drawn images. This is a perfect at-home extension for what your student will learn in our Gen Code classes!
Hopscotch - All Ages
This is a mobile device app that allows students to build projects and games. Your child can build their own projects from scratch or they can follow screencast guides to learn how to create their own replicas of projects! They also have a helpful YouTube channel and community forum to ask questions and share tips on projects!
CS Unplugged- All Ages
CS Unplugged is the answer for parents who are concerned about screen time, but also want their children to practice their coding skills. This is a wonderful resource because it focuses on the logical foundations of coding - rather than the code itself. The creators have written a book that you can download for free that houses all of the lessons and resources. CS Unplugged also has a Google group and YouTube channel to help you learn more about the lessons and to collaborate with other parents or educators using this curriculum.
Thimble- Middle school and older
Coursera- High school and older
If you have a child that wants a more advanced course in Computer Science, Coursera is an excellent resource. It offers free coding MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) from big name universities such as Michigan, Harvard, or Berkeley. You can also choose to purchase university credits and have your child’s coursework graded on an A-F scale. It’s a great option for families that want to give students a taste of the college experience in addition to expanding their coding knowledge.
Any of these resources can help your child practice at home, and maybe you’ll even learn something yourself! To learn more about how Generation Code can help your child become a digital leader, check out our Lab and curriculum or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s never too late (or too early) to start coding!