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Coding for Beginners: How to Get Started

“Where can I learn about coding?” is a question that I am hearing quite often. So I decided to do a Homeschool Unit Study: Coding post and share some great resources.

We gathered the best resources available on coding for beginners. These choices are all great for getting started with coding.

There will be several posts in this series so be sure to bookmark this page or better yet, subscribe to our newsletter below.

Some kids would like to learn to code. Other people think their child should learn about coding and still others think that coding is something that every student should know. I don’t agree with the last statement, not every child needs to know how to code.

I do, however, think many would benefit from playing around with coding a bit so that they have a basic understanding of the way programs are written.

If they understand something about programming they may be able to imagine ways that programs could be written to solve problems or to help them do something they want to do. Or they may find that they really enjoy it and want to learn more.

Those are what I call a good reasons to learn about coding.

All of the very best coding resources beginners need to get started learning to code.

Back to the original question . . . where can I learn about coding? Well, there are a lot of places to learn and I went through a lot of websites and played around with a lot of programs to find the ones I thought kids would enjoy the most. I also geared it toward what the boys in my life would like because that is what I know best since I am a boy mom.

After you and your kids check a few of these out I would love to hear which ones worked best for you.

We are learning about coding and are enjoying playing around with it.  In case you are curious, we are currently taking the coding class at Kahn Academy. My son and I are actually taking the class together which is a lot of fun.  He is better at it than I am! lol

Coding for Beginners

We will start with the one that most of you have likely heard of. Scratch is an MIT project that has been going strong for some time. The tutorial information provided actually is pretty good and can get beginners going.   You can create stories, games and animations using Scratch.

See our book reviews Learn to Program with Scratch and Super Scratch Programming Adventure if you want to take Scratch to the next level or need some extra help with it.

A bit more advanced than Scratch but very similar in style is Snap.  This has the same drag and drop format. There are a couple of tutorials at the bottom.

Alice is another variation of Scratch (seems like a pattern doesn’t it) for creating animations and games. The website does not look like much and the available video instructions are a bit dry, however I have included it because there are neat objects within the game to play around with. Free download.

Kahn Academy teaches JavaScript coding for drawing and animation. They start at the very beginning with the basics. I had no experience coding and was able to get through several lessons quite quickly. They include easy-to-follow instructions and videos showing what to do. As I said, my son and I are doing this together and having a lot of fun.

CodeMonster was a bit of a surprise. You go to the screen and there is a monster standing over a section of code. It is a very simple format. You click the text of the monster to move forward with the lessons. Engaging.

Here is one using the Ruby programming language. KidsRuby requires a download. We have not tried this yet and there is not a lot of info on the website. Quite a few people recommend it to me which is why I am including it here.

Turtle Academy is a basic LOGO programming tutorial. This site is used in quite a few schools. Create interesting shapes and spirals. The look of the finished items is pretty neat so I think this might be fun to play around with.

Learn About Coding with Angry Birds! The website also features a Plants vs. Zombies coding experience. Please see our post for more information. What a neat way to learn a bit of code. We enjoyed this one a lot.

A another resource great for beginners is Coding Games: Star Wars, Minecraft, LEGO & Angry Birds. Be sure to check it out as it has some fun games that are a great introduction to coding. I have always liked the gamification way of teaching and these are very entertaining.

Well, I hope we were able to answer the question . . . “Where can I learn about coding?” with this homeschool unit study. There are certainly a lot of choices available today. I will keep you posted as new coding options become available.

All of our coding posts are in the link at the very top of this post, including a coding unplugged post that is very popular.

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Amy

Thursday 9th of April 2015

Thankfully girls can enjoy coding (and all things engineering and technology) as well, so thank you for the info, as I will definitely be passing it on to my daughter.

Sheila Rogers

Friday 10th of April 2015

Hi Amy, You are most welcome.

Jenny morris

Tuesday 13th of January 2015

Stopping by from the Link Up Your Round Ups Linky Party! Thanks for linking up! Great round up! I will be pinning this for future reference.

Sheila Rogers

Wednesday 14th of January 2015

Thank you! Jenny, for the work you do on the party.

Science Kiddo

Saturday 1st of November 2014

Thank you so much for the post! My husband started coding when he was a kid and has wanted to get our five-year-old going as well. We'll definitely check out these resources :)

Thanks for linking up @Saturday Science! I have pinned your post and have it ready to share via Facebook and Twitter this week :)

Sheila Rogers

Sunday 2nd of November 2014

Wow, thanks much Science Kiddo. Glad to hear you can use the resources and I appreciate the shares!

Michelle

Thursday 30th of October 2014

My daughter is only 2 years old at the moment. But coding is definitely something I'd like her to learn and from your blog, it seems like a fun thing to do together with the little one. Pinned for future reference! Thanks!

Sheila Rogers

Friday 31st of October 2014

Hi Michelle, Yes, it is fun to do together. Watch for our post on Coding games--there are some in there for young ones.

Kara @ The Joys of Boys

Tuesday 21st of October 2014

This is great! My boys are learning coding during GATE at school and I don't know anything about it. I'm excited to check out your resources and show them to my boys. Thanks!

Sheila Rogers

Tuesday 21st of October 2014

Kara! Nice to see you stopping by. I hope your boys find something they would like to play around with :)