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Kids Coding Languages


Coding for kids can be hard to navigate — especially when it comes to choosing a first coding language to learn. With so many different programming languages available, where should you start?


From teaching coding classes for kids ages 8-18, we’ve learned tips and tricks for choosing what language a child should start with. Read more about our top 5 recommended programming languages for kids, to help you decide which one is best for your student.


Block-Based Computer Programming Languages


For young kids in the 8-11 age group, a text-based programming language may not be a great starting point. Block-based programming languages instead offer a way to learn basic coding and problem-solving without the need to worry about syntax, error management, and other more complicated programming concepts.


These visual programming languages offer drag-and-drop interfaces where your student can assemble their app using building blocks instead of text, similar to legos. Often, these interfaces even work right in your web browser!


Scratch, Snap, and Blockly are all examples of block-based coding languages. While Blockly is great for adults and coding real-world tools, we recommend Scratch and Snap to kids for more intuitive and visually-engaging learning.


1. Scratch


Scratch is an excellent way for kids in the 8-11 age group to start coding. It was developed in 2003 as an open-source project at MIT. 17 years later, Scratch is still one of the most popular block-based coding languages, and its online community has continued to grow — making any problem you run into readily answerable with online Scratch tutorials or a simple Google search.

A fun game coded with Scratch blocks and characters!


▶ Read more: What is Scratch: Easy Coding for Kids 8-11


Scratch’s popularity is largely thanks to how it allows kids to create interactive video games, animations, and creative stories with a large variety of background images and characters. Kids can jump right into creating fun and engaging coding projects, while also building life skills like creativity, storytelling, and logical thinking!


Another advantage of Scratch is how readily accessible it is. You can use it in your web browser or it can be downloaded onto several devices. This includes Android (tablet only), macOS, Microsoft Windows, and ChromeOS. The only limitations are that it isn’t available as an app for iPad or iOS or Android smartphones.


▶ Try it: How to Make a Game on Scratch: Step by Step for Beginners 8+


2. Snap


Snap is a variant of Scratch, developed by UC Berkeley. It was built to include some more advanced programming concepts, and thus acts as an excellent intermediate step if Scratch is too simple, but your student is not yet ready to advance beyond block-based coding. On top of that, Snap apps can be converted to Javascript, Python, and other text-based coding languages — further simplifying the transition to these languages.


Because Snap is newer and less widely-used than Scratch, there is a significant disadvantage in terms of online resource availability. You can still find help with Snap, but it may take more effort than it would with Scratch.


Text-Based Computer Programming Languages


Children in the 11+ age range are likely ready to start with a text-based coding language. Compared to block-based coding, text-based languages require that kids be more comfortable with a keyboard and have a better understanding of logical thinking and high-level arithmetic concepts.


For kids that are ready for them, text-based languages offer the ability to tackle a wider range of projects and gain a deeper understanding of computer science concepts. Text-based coding languages are also a natural next step for students already versed in block-based coding.


Python, Java, CSS/HTML, Javascript, Swift, and Ruby are all examples of text-based coding languages.


3. Python


For your student’s first introduction to text-based coding languages, you can’t go wrong with Python coding. It’s become one of the most popular coding languages for both beginners and professional coders. This makes it not just a good learning language, but also a great introduction to real-world coding.


A text-based Python with Turtle project for designing an ice cream graphic animation.


When just starting out, Python does not require an understanding of data types, memory management, and other more difficult computer science topics — making it a great alternative to Java, C++, or other more advanced coding languages. Additionally, compared to most other coding languages, the syntax of Python code is intended to be more similar to English.


▶ Read more: What is Python Coding? | Coding for Kids Ages 11+


The Turtle library makes Python an even more powerful language for those graduating from block-based coding. We teach Python with Turtle courses to beginners 11+ because it provides a strong visual component that keeps students engaged, empowers them with artistic creativity, and makes the transition to text-based coding easy and fun.


▶ Try it: How to Make Fireworks in Python Turtle | Beginner Python Tutorial


4. HTML/CSS


HTML and CSS coding allow students to explore building websites and web applications.


For children that have a strong interest in design, HTML and CSS may provide an exciting opportunity to get an early glimpse of web development and web applications.


HTML is the code that most web pages are written in, and defines how the information on a web page is structured. The CSS code then specifies how the web page looks: including colors, fonts, and other design aspects of the page!


Together, these languages give all the basic skills that you need to make a basic web page — making them perfect for students that enjoy art and creativity.


5. Javascript


Another cornerstone of web development, Javascript is typically used alongside HTML and CSS — defining how the website behaves and how users can interact with it. Although not quite as easy as Python, Javascript’s syntax is still easier than most advanced coding languages.


As with HTML and CSS, this may be a good option for kids that show a strong interest in web applications and design.


Next Steps


With a wide-range of block-based and text-based coding languages to choose from, deciding on a coding language for your student can be daunting. We hope that this information has provided you with a better understanding of the landscape, including some of the best beginner options for block-based and text-based programming languages.


This article in its full form originally appeared on junilearning.com.



Getting Started There are several reasons why every kid should learn to code — for instance, coding fosters creativity and enhances problem-solving skills. Fortunately, teaching kids to code doesn’t have to be difficult, and you don’t need any coding experience.

Step 1: Find Their Passion Connecting coding to what kids are passionate about helps them stay engaged and interested.

Kids love learning how things work — especially things they’re passionate about! You can use this to make coding a fun and engaging experience for any age group. Take the hobbies and interests that they already have, combine it with their natural curiosity, and find a way to connect it to a coding project. These hobbies provide a familiar pathway for connecting computer science to the real world.

Are they...

Step 2: Pick a Visual Coding Language

Once you know what interests your student, you’re ready to take the next step and pick a programming language for them to learn with. We offer an extensive look at the best programming languages for kids that will help with this process.

The primary point from that article that is worth reiterating here is this: pick a language that offers a visual component. Most children don’t learn purely from words on a page or screen, which is why the best textbooks include visuals. Visual learning is also a critical part of coding for kids. Fortunately, computer programming is no longer just about looking at lines of code. A Pac-Man game created in Scratch coding. Scratch allows kids to visually create their favorite games, and use colorful code blocks to control characters!

Not only can kids see the output on their favorite Apple (iPad, iPhone) or Android device — even the coding process itself can be made visual! Coding becomes much more concrete when your student can see the effect of a change they make playing out on the screen in front of them (a turtle moving forward or the color of a background changing).

For younger kids (8-11 year-old), block-based coding languages like MIT’s Scratch platform have great visual appeal, introducing coding much the same way as legos introduce engineering. For older kids 11+, you can add visual elements to the Python language using the Turtle library.

Step 3: Choose a Simple Starter Project

A child’s first painting won’t be the Mona Lisa, and their first coding project won’t be a state-of-the-art video game. And that’s okay. When teaching coding, use simple projects as a starting point and progressively build to more and more complicated tasks as their coding skills advance.


A kid may want to make the next great Minecraft add-on, and that is a great goal to have! Let this motivate them, but don’t let the inability to do it on day one dismay them. Start them off with learning basic design and problem-solving and help them understand how this will lead to their eventual goal. Simple projects let an hour of code a day be enough programming for kids to continuously enhance their skills.

▶ Explore: Discover creative and fun coding projects by star Juni students.

Juni Learning has several resources to help you find a good starter project. If your student is ready to work with Python, our Intro to Python for kids is an excellent place to start. For other ideas, check out our step-by-step coding projects.

Step 4: Use Failures to Develop Resilience Facing new problems while coding and learning to solve them helps kids develop resilience. Failures are a chance for growth. Your student will inevitably become frustrated with coding at times, as they will with most subjects. Coding is a particularly great subject in which to introduce your student to coping with failure. The immediate feedback when code doesn’t work the first time — combined with the readily available resources via Google and other online resources — make problem-solving for a coding bug much


less frustrating than dealing with failures in most other fields.

Step 5: Build on Successes

Once your student’s dipped their toes into the water with a starter project, it’s time to build on that success. Each project a child completes is both an accomplishment and a stepping stone.


Celebrate the achievement, and then look for ways to extend the project further.

This can be done, for instance, by expanding the scope of a project. If a child made a timer to countdown to their birthday, it could be expanded to include all of their friends’ birthdays as well. Sometimes the enhancement can even be as simple as taking a generic project and including a personalized logo. This Python with Turtle coding project was expanded from simple fireworks animations,

to coding challenging fireworks of multiple shapes and sizes against a starry night sky background.


▶ Learn More: Check out these kids coding tutorials for inspiration on adding creative and extra challenges to coding projects.

Eventually, this can also involve moving to more complicated programming languages. A project originally created in Python may eventually be transformed into a Java project. This opens up new project possibilities (Minecraft mods are written in Java) while simultaneously introducing more advanced coding concepts required in these other languages. Expanding programming tools over time encourages a child toward critical thinking ("am I using the right tool for this job?") and other skills that will benefit them in high school, college, and beyond.

This article originally appeared on junilearning.com.


We all want to gain life skills to achieve academic, personal, and career success no matter what age we are. But with so many important skills for kids and adults to learn, it can be hard to know what to prioritize.

Coding is one skill that stands out in the modern era. It offers anyone a boost in important life skills, socialization, and learning — as well as advancing future careers.


Here are our top 8 reasons why everyone should learn to code.


1. Coding gives a new way to look at the world


Computer code is a way to describe reality — similar to English or any other language. A programming language, just like any natural language, has its own grammar and syntactic rules. Thus, learning to code is very much like learning a second language and provides many of the same advantages.

Each new language gives us a new perspective that is uniquely attuned to a certain environment. In the 21st century, fluency in coding languages like Javascript, Python, or Scratch gives people an excellent vocabulary for interacting with the world around them. It’s no wonder that programming has been described as the new literacy!


2. Coding fosters creativity


Taking a mental image and giving it form in the real world is the very heart of creativity. Even at an early age, people can harness their creative abilities to make animated graphics, websites, and interactive video games with their coding skills.

Coding is one of the few creative venues that results in truly interactive works — and there is nothing more exciting for people than interacting with your own creations. This serves as an excellent supplement to other creative venues, giving students another way to bring their artistic ideas to life.


3. Coding improves math and logic skills



Learning code teaches students computational thinking — the process of breaking down complicated tasks into individual steps (like loops, conditionals, etc.) that a computer can understand. This is the same process used to break down complex arguments, and is a pillar of logical thinking. The more kids and adults practice coding, the better their logic skills will become.


4. Coding helps with problem-solving


Simple coding projects offer an excellent introduction to problem-solving skills even at a young age. Coders learn how to break down complex problems into simpler ones. This is one of the most crucial and rewarding parts of problem-solving.

With coding, students can test solutions to make sure they work. Few other problem-solving experiences offer this benefit. When all else fails, they improve their Google research skills while seeking solutions, and who wouldn’t benefit from being better at independent research?


5. Coding projects helps develop resilience


The ability to cope with failure is a vital life skill. Through coding, everyone learns that failure is a stepping stone, not an ending. Recovering from a misstep happens quickly with coding. The process is less frustrating because students can try several solutions quickly. This makes it much easier to develop resilience without feeling overwhelmed.

Even just an hour of code a day through hands-on coding projects can teach students the importance of persistence and resilience.

6. Coding makes learning fun


Computer programming projects give exciting results, that you can see right in front of your eyes. You or your student can build stand-alone projects like Tic Tac Toe, an animated animal face drawing, or even their own video game design from their imagination.

They can also bring their coding skills into their current favorite toys and games. Minecraft add-ons are an amazing example. Everyone can use code to enhance activities that they already know and love!


7. Coding is a social activity


Remember all those coding projects we already talked about? You can also show off what you built to your friends! Sharing how you built your favorite game reinforces what you have learned and improves your confidence. When you show off that new Minecraft add-on or video game you built, your friends are sure to be impressed.

And there’s another way to turn coding into a social activity: Hackathons! These virtual competitions give people a chance to work on collaborative problem-solving and building with a goal in mind. It’s hard to find better preparation for teamwork skills in school or work!


8. Coding prepares students for the careers of the future


Finally, we can’t end this list without mentioning careers. Coding skills are indicators of digital literacy — a necessity in this digital age! Nearly 50% of all jobs require some coding skills.

Of course, these skills are especially crucial for coding and computer science careers. Further, coders are proven problem solvers and logical thinkers, skills that are valuable in any career field.


Ready to get started learning code?

Individually, each of these is a strong reason for you or your student to learn coding. When combined, they make coding one of the most valuable skills in the 21st century!

Finding resources to help people become computer programmers used to be hard. Over the past several years, the advent of online courses and guided coding projects has made the process much easier.


Nationally and internationally, there are also many coding schools set up to teach kids and adults to code, with live training from knowledgable instructors. For children and teens, reach out to My Coding Place or Juni Learning, two options that will help support and advance your students' coding skills! Both offer a range of private and group online coding courses for kids ages 8-18 that gives students solid foundations in computer science, logical thinking, and even creative subjects like website design. In addition, My Coding Place offers tutoring to adults 18+ as well as teaching chess, digital art, and robotics to all ages to encourage critical thinking and advance problem-solving skills!


Most of this article originally appeared on junilearning.com.