Common Sense


Best Apps and Websites for Learning Programming and Coding

Computers intersect with every aspect of kids' lives, but most kids don't understand how they work. Through coding, students build essential literacy skills, gain an understanding of logic and sequence, and learn the mechanics of iteration. These tools support project-based learning and give students the freedom to create, collaborate, hack, remix, and tinker with their own unique designs. Using these picks, kids can unlock the logic of code and the basics of programming, turning computers into tools to make new things.

If you're looking to begin coding lessons in your classroom, check out our teaching strategies for how to Get Started with Coding in the Classroom.


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Top Picks


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Block- and Text-Based Code


Fun programming logic for kids, great resources for teachers

Bottom line: A fun way for young students to understand coding, and an impressive resource for teachers to support their progress along the way.

Common Sense Selection

Popular games, big names get kids and teachers pumped to program

Bottom line: A thoughtfully planned, produced, and curated set of free resources bound to get kids hooked on learning to code.

Common Sense Selection


Approachable, powerful coding curriculum covers much ground, provides support

Bottom line: Tynker empowers students of all ages and experience levels to create custom coding projects for a variety of platforms.

SpriteBox Coding

Appealing puzzle game reinforces essential coding concepts

Bottom line: This well-designed game introduces basic coding syntax and is best used for practice.

Code for Life

Comprehensive coding platform has impressive resources for teachers

Bottom line: This learn-to-code program has the breadth and depth required to meet the needs of almost any teacher.


Apps, instruction, and hardware encourage creativity and STEAM skills

Bottom line: This thoughtful, kid-centered computing platform gets kids coding and creating.

Sphero Edu

Cool robots and creative play make programming irresistible

Bottom line: Hub for Sphero robots draws crafty kids who love making into coding, and it empowers them to be collaborators.

Microsoft MakeCode

Bring code to life with circuits, robots, Minecraft, and more

Bottom line: Once you purchase the hardware, MakeCode opens doors to an incredible diversity of coding applications.


Differentiated text-based coding makes for truly authentic experiences

Bottom line: The well-designed Python lessons and user interface make this a great choice for serious coding instruction.


Clear connection between blocks and coding languages in game-based platform

Bottom line: Seamless switching between blocks and text plus easy onboarding make this coding curriculum great.

Terminal Two

Engaging games teach programming concepts from blocks to code

Bottom line: These varied games are great for introducing the fundamentals and practicing but aren't sufficient as a complete curriculum.

Machine Learning for Kids

Authentic AI-powered projects make kids' creations feel like magic

Bottom line: It takes a topic that would be difficult to teach in any practical way and makes it accessible for the classroom.


Code games or fun displays with mini piece of hardware

Bottom line: This versatile tool for learning how to program with blocks or text is a nice fit for STEM classes and clubs.

Block-Based Code

Tynker Junior

Variety and creativity come together to get early learners coding

Bottom line: Early coders will enjoy the colorful interface and variety of activities as they progress through different worlds and develop foundational programming skills.

Code Karts - Pre-coding logic

Race into coding with fun, varied puzzles, but no teacher supports

Bottom line: Block-based coding puzzles provide a fun, surface-level intro for some; others will still need lots of additional teacher support.


Drag-and-drop programming is an effective intro for budding coders

Bottom line: With a little adult help, this is a rich platform for getting kids into programming and digital creation.

Codeable Crafts

Animate stories with accessible drawing tools and coding blocks

Bottom line: Kids get a simple peek at computer programming principles by animating stories using their own creations.


Full-featured tool makes teaching with Scratch easier than ever

Bottom line: Here you'll find resources for teaching with Scratch and a complete management tool to support student learning.


Creative sandbox opens the door to coding in any subject area

Bottom line: Scratch draws students of all types into coding and lays a foundation for future learning.


Emoji-based coding tool demystifies web design and animation

Bottom line: Emoji-based lessons engage and empower kids to explore web design and animation, with instant website creation.

SAM Labs

Kids use block code and wireless blocks to program, design, and create

Bottom line: With some perseverance, it's a great fit for PBL and STEAM, helping students learn programming skills and engineering concepts through invention.

Common Sense Selection

Google CS First

Middle school CS curriculum has stellar resources, room for creativity

Bottom line: A high-quality introductory CS curriculum where students can be creative, collaborate with others, and express themselves, in the classroom or at home.

Human Resource Machine EDU

Challenging puzzles will grab the imagination of any coding enthusiast

Bottom line: For teachers with some coding background, this is a great game-based tool for learning to code.

Algo Bot

Simple coding game a fun intro to algorithms

Bottom line: This coding game is a fun and helpful introduction to basic algorithm development, but other resources will be needed for more depth.

Great, free mobile app creation site has solid teacher resources

Bottom line: A fantastic and complete introduction to programming concepts and app creation.


Great interface, flexible publishing options make game-making a snap

Bottom line: This engaging platform will empower budding game designers, but the price tag could be a deal-breaker for tight school budgets.

The Pack - NYSCI

Deceptively gentle coding game really packs a problem-solving punch

Bottom line: This gorgeous, immersive programming game encourages novel solutions.


Build a working iOS or Android app, even without coding experience

Bottom line: Fun, practical way to get kids programming, though teachers will need a clear plan to support them in the process.

7 Billion Humans

Amusing puzzler challenges kids, teaches programming principles

Bottom line: This high-quality puzzle game is a fun way for students to learn effective and efficient programming skills.

Text-Based Code


Puzzler's use of real code fills niche in crowded learn-to-code genre

Bottom line: A great intro to coding that, with solid teacher support, gets students using real programming languages.


Dungeon-crawling adventure where code is king

Bottom line: While not everyone loves fighting ogres, CodeCombat offers a classroom-ready platform and an authentic learning experience.

Swift Playgrounds

Brilliantly designed iOS coding app great for newbies or pros

Bottom line: If you have iPads or Macs, this is an inspired choice for learning how to create and tweak code.

Unity Learn

Complete game creation curriculum gives students real-world experience

Bottom line: It's a slick, fun, and effective way to get students building games right away, with plenty of room for depth.

Code Avengers

Challenging puzzles teach with real code; best for more advanced kids

Bottom line: A superb programming tutor, well worth the effort to keep students going.


Computer science curriculum offers great feedback, fun challenges

Bottom line: Effective tools and clear lessons teach real programming, but you'll have to spend some cash to help kids master it.

Construct 3

Ideal 2D game builder supports students to create, innovate

Bottom line: Limitless game options, reasonable cost, and extensive support make this programming environment perfect for an educational setting.

Grasshopper: Learn to Code

First-class free app for learning to code with JavaScript

Bottom line: This app will no doubt help individual, motivated learners see how coding works using real programming language.

Hack 'n' Slash

Zelda-inspired puzzler lets players peek behind the code curtain

Bottom line: A great intro to variables and how algorithms work, this game would shine as a supplement to a larger unit on programming.


Excellent text-based coding site a great way to learn real-world skills

Bottom line: For both introductory and higher skill levels, it teaches the breadth and depth of skills for programming careers.


Song builder with coding instruction will be music to students' ears

Bottom line: It's not an easy tool to master, but it's a great way for students to explore coding and digital creation in a meaningful way.


Tutorials, challenges, and practice in a variety of coding languages

Bottom line: Straightforward site to learn to code lets users compare how to do the same functions in a variety of programming languages.


Well-thought-out coding platform for real game programming

Bottom line: Codea is a professional tool that has enough help features that kids can learn programming hands-on.


Cool coding tool tuned to teens' passions aids creativity

Bottom line: Women-created platform expands the traditional scope of coding to visual elements students interact with online everyday.


Fun, self-paced web development and coding lessons offer high value

Bottom line: A solid learning solution for self-starting students who want to grasp the wide array of programming topics.

Hardware and Offline Elements

Unruly Splats

Game-making platform fuses coding and physical play

Bottom line: This platform could appear gimmicky at first, but in practice it blends SEL, movement, collaboration, and STEM learning in clever, compelling ways.

Evo by Ozobot

Versatile mini robot tailor-made for teaching coding

Bottom line: Evo encourages students to be creative, emphasizing that coding is a tool in your pocket, not the end game.

Wonder for Dash and Dot Robots

Serious robotics programming with seriously adorable robots

Bottom line: It's the most challenging and versatile of the Dash and Dot apps and will keep engineering-savvy kids engaged.


Robotics kit makes design possibilities virtually limitless

Bottom line: For schools with healthy budgets, KOOV helps kids design and code interactive robots with blocks, sensors, and imagination.

Kai's Clan

Innovative STEAM package takes robot coding to the next level

Bottom line: A nearly perfect spin on STEAM coding that combines a bunch of technologies into one, and effectively fuses the real and virtual worlds.

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