Kids are, by default, curious beings. Everything is new to them, and they love to explore. In this era of technology, keeping children up-to-date is also a part of parenting. Introducing them to programming is a great start, and there are tons of programming tools for kids to make it a fun experience.
Studies suggest that the best age to start with programming or coding is around five to seven years, depending on the kid’s understanding and reading capability. Like mathematics, programming also helps children open to problem-solving methods and think more logically, which can benefit them in the future.
Best Programming Tools for Kids
However, one thing about children is that they have a brief attention span. So, if you want your kid to dive into programming in a fun way, keep reading because we introduce you to the ten best and easy-to-learn programming tools for kids right below.
Alice pays tribute to author Lewis Caroll whose motto in life was to communicate with clarity and in an entertaining way. Based on that, the Alice tool is one of the best 3D programming environments for creating simple interactive video games, animated stories, or movies. It’s an open source tool gifted to users by Carnegie Mellon University and tech giants such as Google, Oracle, and more.
- Drag and drop features do not require learning syntaxes, so children can quickly grasp their usage.
- It has a Java-based intuitive interface that lets users easily navigate the tool.
- There are built-in methods for animating objects into video games and stories.
- Story-telling Alice introduces kids to programming theories in a fun story-telling way.
- Includes built-in customizable 3D character and scenery models to use in animated stories.
- Builds up the theories needed to implement object-oriented programming languages from a young age.
- Educators use it to create courses and support integration with google meet and Classroom for live classes and resources.
- Tynker backpack allows users to save code snippets so that they can save time when needed in the future.
- Supports integration with platformer extension that allows users to create games easily.
- Allows importing customs artwork to game interfaces for better game visuals when necessary.
Children often come up with innovative game ideas. So, when it comes to programming tools for kids, they are often encouraged to try creating video games. One such tool, Stencyl, is a responsive 2D game development software that gives children the option to develop arcade-style games quickly and effortlessly. It works cross-platform and on any operating system, meaning that people can use the tool on all sorts of devices for free or with a subscription.
- Users can either use coding or work with simple front-end features.
- Games can be sold in several marketplaces and have ads embedded for monetization or sponsorship purposes.
- One can use the StencylForge cloud storage to back up their work and even log into different devices to work when necessary.
- Stencyl can be integrated into third-party integrations in design mode to allow users to implement custom functions.
- Photoshop, GIMP, or Pencyl can be used to import and edit images with convenience.
Processing is one of the more advanced-level tools on our list today. It is an open source IDE that uses its own language based on a simplified version of Java and usually focuses on the graphical nature of things. It renders objects in 2D and 3D modes and can sketch program ideas stored in Sketchbook folders. Children can use the tool to start implementing programming syntax and quickly render objects.
- The Processing tool supports creating Android applications and lets users preview them on Android devices.
- The p5.Js library can implement Html5 elements into sketches using the processing tool.
- Python mode allows users to write processing codes in Python language, which is easier for kids to grasp than Java.
- One can work with their projects’ 2D, 3D, and PDF outputs and preview them as web or double-click applications.
- 1K+ library extensions can convert processing codes into different kinds of media applications.
Kivy is a beginner-friendly GUI framework tool for Python that creates unique desktop applications for cross-platform devices. As Python is a highly recommended language for beginners who are eager to learn to program, Kivy is just the right programming tool for kids due to its easy-to-understand interface. Also, there are tons of resources for Kivy available on the internet for users to learn the tool with practical guidance.
- It is 100% open source for even industry-level usage and is reliable as licensed under MIT.
- The tool comes with 20+ GPU-accelerated widgets for smoother performance while executing heavy programs.
- Kivy Gallery lets users showcase their work to the world and motivates them to develop new ideas.
- Several well-documented API references make the tool easy to understand and navigate.
- Supports 3D rendering and animations to create gaming projects with the best graphics.
- Examples can help users quickly learn how the tool’s simple interface works.
- The tool’s IDE-like approach allows children to play with features from a single control panel.
- One can make music using the Waterbear tool and test it unlimited times until one can perfect their project.
- Projects can run on cross-platform devices such as Windows, Linus, MacOs, and even mobile browsers such as Safari and Google.
- Can quickly import images and objects from local devices or the web to implement into 2D projects.
Scratch is one of the most popular programming tools for kids that uses its own language and drag-and-drop features to create stunning visuals and codes without the help of technical syntaxes. The Scratch visual GUI tool also aims to act as a building block of design theory and mathematical aspects of programming for children. Users can also showcase their projects on the Scratch website, further motivating their learning.
- Allows users to compress images and sounds to reduce resource wastage in limited storage environments.
- Scratch provides top-notch security for kids by limiting the amount of software and hardware access within the tool.
- It comes with simplified casting and various forms of presentation for better visuals.
- Programming concepts separated into different categories makes learning easier for beginners.
- Cross-platform features can make working with scratch easier by letting users work anywhere and anytime.
08. Kids Ruby
Like Hackety-Hack, Kids Ruby is a programming environment based on the Ruby language. It helps kids learn Ruby syntax without overwhelming them and involves a lot of reading to teach users the fundamental theories of programming. Interactive examples can also teach them the basics of how the tool works and how changing things may affect the output in real-time programming.
- Kids can make simple programs to make their homework more fun and easier to complete.
- Robot edition for kids supports Sphero robots, Ubuntu, Raspberry Pi, and more.
- OS-independent threading allows users to exchange messages using ruby programs.
- One can easily access fundamental programming constructs with scripted language.
- It can install extensions and libraries dynamically for added functionalities when running entire ruby projects.
PyGame is a library of Python modules used to create exceptional 2D games and multimedia programs. It is a cross-platform tool that runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux and is 100% open source. The PyGame tool is one of the best programming tools for kids as it is well-documented and has many resources and tutorials available for free. And also, the ASCII backend lets users quickly implement strings and other characters.
- Users can control main loops that allow them to customize loops conveniently.
- Accessing GUI functions from command lines or external input devices is easy.
- Less focus on syntax allows users to keep their codes neat and short.
- One can write core functions in C or assembly language to execute programs faster.
- Supports Multi-core GPU for boosting the performance of your projects.
Hopscotch is a programming application designed especially for kids and aimed at introducing them to the basics of Programming. The beginner-friendly programming tool is an excellent starter for encouraging kids of any age to learn to program and can help improve critical thinking and ui designing skills by creating stunning visuals. It uses its language and lets users drag and drop built-in blocks to create backend codes.
- Variables, sprites, and other programming constructs are available for carrying out fundamental programming functions.
- Can create simple gaming projects with code snippets if a user doesn’t wish to use blocks.
- Importing custom images and illustrations directly into projects is easy with Hopscotch Seeds.
- One can use color gradient features to improve the graphic background within their projects.
- Kids can use Block Help to learn feature functions and navigate the tool independently.
In summary, programming tools for kids exist to create a fun learning experience. They can use it to understand fundamental programming concepts from a young age and implement those into real-time projects that prepare them for future career aspects in the IT field.
It’s never too early to teach your children to program. That said, you should try out the tools mentioned above to hone their skills and give them a better future. That’s all for now; thanks for reading!