The Worst Free Coding Sites For Kids in 2022
We have been teaching kids to code since 2009 – actively teaching kids to code n schools, camps, labs, and online. We have run programs in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Hang Zhou, Taipei, Berlin, Ithaca NY, Los Angeles, Mexico, Costa Rica, Saudi Arabia. So, we know a lot about Teaching Kids To Code. It is what we do. And I am going to share with you an important insight – – Kids Learn To Code By Coding. It is like a musical instrument or a sport where the practice is at the core of developing competence. The technique is important and in our vernacular technique equates to the curriculum. But nothing ever beats practice.
I am sorry parent. Your kids not going to learn to code by watching a video on YouTube, playing games like Minecraft, or joining a Dance Party on code.org. That is the wrong way. What is the right way to teach a kid to code? First make it fun. Fun is critical as retention If it is fun – they learn. If they learn, it is more fun. Second, please please follow a curriculum. Forget about project-based learning, It is for advanced students, not younger learners. If someone talks about project-based learning, it means they do not have a curriculum. It means they cannot evaluate your student’s progress.
So, those are our biases. I want to be upfront with you. Teaching your kid to code is a great gift, but it takes effort and time. So here are some sites to avoid.
Code.org – Learn to Code http://www.code.org
Currently one of the most popular websites that provide free coding tutorials for children is Code.org. It has some great features like its search engine that enables you to search for coding courses all over the world. That’s pretty cool.
It also offers comprehensive online tutorials, averaging 15 to 20 hours. To be frank, these suck. Yes, you can learn to program Minecraft animals and Star Wars droids, or code their own adventure with Frozen characters. But that’s not really learning to code. That is entertainment and play. And we love to play, but you are not here to find ways to entertain your kids. You want to set them up for success in school and in life. Sorry, Frozen characters are not going to get them there.
Code.org also presents a number of exclusive videos featuring individuals of high caliber including Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. Wow. Cool. But how many kids want to watch a Bill Gates video. Not many.
Finally, Code.org is suitable for kids aged 4 years and older, with lessons arranged according to grade so that children can choose levels that aren’t too easy or too complicated for them. More Bullshit. Unless your 4 year old can read at a 2nd grade reading level, they are not ready to start to code. Send them outside to play instead of watching Bill and Mark videos.
CodeMonkey introduces itself as Free Coding Sites For Kids that teaches coding languages like CoffeeScript and Python. Children and teenagers learn block-based and text-based coding through an engaging game-like environment.” A couple of points of clarification are in order. The first is that CoffeeScript is not a real coding language, or at least not one that has any commercial relevance. Learning CoffeeScript is not going to help your student get into a good university or find a job. The second point is that playing a game does not teach your kid to code. Coding teaches your kid to code.
CodeMonkey is pursuing the idea of teaching coding to children through the interactive environment of online gaming. Here is a citation from their site; “ Banana Tales is a fun coding game for 6th-7th graders. In the game, students need to help reunite twin baby monkeys who were separated after an earthquake hit. Along the way, students will tackle different coding concepts as they rebuild a baby monkey’s pathway back home.”
Huh? At UCode, we have 6th and 7th graders building their own websites, coding games in python, building cool 3D animation in Unity and your kid is going to be playing Banana Tales and reuniting twin baby monkeys? This is a scam.
We love Khan Academy as It has an extensive library of subjects that allow users to search and learn just about anything for free! Khan Academy provides lessons on a wide range of topics from maths, chemistry, and biology, all the way to history, finance, and engineering. Its coding and programming courses for kids aged 12 and older to its menu are relatively new and relatively basic. Sorry Mr. Khan but internet 101, algorithms, cryptography, information, and theory is not going to teach kids to learn to code.
So these are 3 Free Coding Sites For Kids sites that basically do not deliver what they say they do. I know this post will be criticized and maybe even controversial. But we also have some great resources to share in our next post – the best free coding resources for 2022. So check it out!.