beanz Magazine

Programming Projects for Kids 5-8

Tim McCune on Flickr

Younger kids can have lots of fun playing games this summer while learning basic programming concepts.

With younger kids, as well as kids and adults starting to learn about programming and computer science, there are a number of fun books, software applications, and other resources to play as they learn. Many of these can be shared with siblings and parents, too.

Card Games

Bits & Bytes is a fun card game to teach kids computing skills: logic, problem solving, and critical thinking. You can learn the basics of programming and computer science without needing a computer. littlecodr is a deceptively simple card game lets kids lay out a series of steps for their siblings and parents to follow. When they master the basic game, you can add advanced cards.

Move the Turtle

Geared towards little kids, this app lets you move a turtle around the screen, by setting direction and the number of steps, to create artwork and solve problems. With a little help to get started, most kids figure it out. The app teaches basic coding ideas and sets them up nicely for Scratch, Hopscotch, Bitsbox, Tynker, and more. Ages 5+

Visual Programming Languages

Scratch Jr. makes it fairly easy for kids to create stories, animations, and games. Blocks are dragged into the work area, moved into position relative to other blocks, and each block programmed to perform an action. Tynker.com and Pixie.es (a Spanish language service) also use blocks to teach math and computer science while having fun and playing games. Run Marco! and The Foos are online games and learning experiences worth a try.

Board Games

A number of board games teach basic programming and computer science concepts. Robot Turtles, from Think Fun, lets kids and siblings as young as 4 or 5 learn about algorithms by ordering their parents around. The game also has an Adventure Quest option to create your own boards. Code Monkey Island is another fun board game. You also can find Coding Farmers which lets kids and adults play with basic English instructions and graduate to playing with Java code on cards.

Python for Kids

Snakes, turtles, wizards, and others present the basics of Python, starting with calculations then evolving into lists, maps, and drawing. The book is written by Jason Briggs and published by No Starch Press.

JavaScript for Kids

A gentle and fun introduction to JavaScript for kids of almost all ages. Use the free Chrome web browser to practice and learn simple to more advanced lessons. Also published by No Starch Press.

Learn More

Python for Kids

https://www.nostarch.com/pythonforkids

JavaScript for Kids

https://www.nostarch.com/javascriptforkids

Scratch, Jr

https://scratch.mit.edu/

Tynker

https://www.tynker.com/

Pixie.es

http://pixie.es/

Run Marco!

https://www.allcancode.com/web

Robot Turtles

http://www.thinkfun.com/products/robot-turtles/

Code Monkey Island

http://codemonkeyplanet.com/

Coding Farmers

http://www.mathandcoding.org/codingfarmers.html

Erase All Kittens

http://www.eraseallkittens.com

12 Games that Teach Kids to Code

http://venturebeat.com/2014/06/03/12-games-that-teach-kids-to-code/view-all/

The Foos

http://thefoos.com/

Move the Turtle

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/move-turtle.-programming-for/id509013878?ls=1&mt=8

Hopscotch

https://www.gethopscotch.com/

Bitsbox

http://www.bitsbox.com

Bits and Bytes

http://www.bitsandbytes.cards/

littlecodr

http://www.littlecodr.com

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