In honor of the Hour of Code the second week of December, I wanted to share with you 3 new products that will help kids learn to code: Let’s Start Coding, Girls Who Code, and A Beginner’s Guide to Coding.
Products that Help Kids Learn to Code
Let’s Start Coding
Let’s Start Coding Kit teaches kids coding using a kit of hardware and components and a computer app with lessons and projects. I like that it’s a fairly simple set up, the lessons include videos and teach both the code and the concepts behind the code. (Like variables and loops.) (Buy It Here)
Here’s what you get in the beginner kit:
You’ll download the free app which takes about 30 seconds or less. Then you’ll have access to the lessons and projects.
Lessons show the hardware needed, the code you can manipulate, the challenges to do with the code, videos of explanation, written concepts, and a quiz. You’ll see from the screen shot below that these are listed at the top of the screen. The hardware section includes a quick video so you know what to do.
I thought it was interesting that the lessons give kids the code like the screen shot of lesson 1 below. Then, kids have challenges to modify the code that teach them more about the concepts covered. In the first lesson, the topics are pinMode, digitalWrite, and delay.
There’s also a helpful video explaining more about the topics covered. I liked this because it reinforced the hands-on section.
And, as I mentioned earlier, there’s a text section and a quiz.
You can also do projects which are grouped beginner, intermediate, and advanced show you how to use the hardware and components to make a program to do different things. For example, one beginner project is to write a code that lets you mix 3 colors together to creates hundreds of cool combos. An advanced project is to use a temperature sensor to blink out the temp with 2 LEDs, one blinking the 10s place and the other the 1s place. These projects also give you the code to upload to your maker board and the reasoning behind each part of the code.
While fun, these are not as informative as the lessons so I think doing the lessons before the projects is the best bet. Up to the kids though…
Overall, I found Let’s Start Coding to be interesting and engaging for kids and think your kids will learn a lot.
Girls Who Code
Girls Who Code is a book that teaches kids the basics of coding. The illustrations, playful design, and teal blue colors of the pages make it an appealing read. The book prompts girls to get into coding themselves by joining a Girls Who Code club or program. It’s companion book, Code It! Create It! is a guided journal for your coding ideas. (Buy It Here)
New to the Girls Who Code series of books is a series of fiction books about girls who join a coding club. The first book is excellent. It’s a relatable story and it even teaches beginning coding concepts at the same time. I loved it.
A Beginner’s Guide to Coding
I’m impressed with A Beginner’s Guide to Coding Have Fun Using Scratch and Python by Marc Scott, illustrated by Mick Marston. (Buy it here.) The design is SO kid appealing and it’s very well-written in steps with tutorials that lead kids from knowing nothing to doing some amazing functions with loops and music and more.
The lessons begin in a free program called Scratch from MIT. Like this book, it’s also very kid friendly. It uses block coding which means basically each block is a mini-program or mini-code.
Once you get proficient on Scratch, the book introduces you to Python. Python is a programming language similar to Scratch. However, now you’ll start programming in actual written (text) code.
I’ve added these three products to my huge list of recommended coding apps, games, products, and lessons for kids HERE.
Disclosure: I received a review sample of Let’s Start Coding. All my opinions are my own.