Top Pick

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 Your Classroom.

 

Block-Based Programming

ScratchJr Publisher: DevTech Research Group at Tufts University, Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT Media Lab, and Playful Invention Company
Drag-and-drop programming is an effective intro for budding programmers
Grades K-2
Type App
Price Free
Platforms Android, iPad
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Codeable Crafts Publisher: Benesse
Animate stories with accessible drawing tools and coding blocks
Grades K-3
Type App
Price Free
Platforms Android
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Blockly for Dash & Dot Robots Publisher: Wonder Workshop
Adorable robots teach hands-on coding skills
Grades K-5
Type App
Price Free
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Cork The Volcano - Puzzlets Publisher: Digital Dream Labs LLC
Fun elementary coding through hands-on puzzle tiles
Grades K-5
Type App
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Kodable - K-5 Coding Curriculum for Elementary Publisher: SurfScore
Fun procedural reasoning for kids; great curriculum for teachers
Grades K-5
Type App
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Android, iPad
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Path for Dash Robot Publisher: Wonder Workshop
Impressive intro to programming and robotics grows with students
Grades K-5
Type App
Price Free
Platforms Android, iPad
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Scratch Visit Website: http://scratch.mit.edu/
Jump-start future programmers with adaptive sandbox tool
Grades K-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Daisy the Dinosaur Publisher: Hopscotch Technologies
Cute, easy, limited peek at computer programming
Grades 1-2
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4
Lightbot Jr 4+ Coding Puzzles Publisher: LightBot, Inc
Cute, simple intro to programming for young learners
Grades 1-3
Type App
Price $2.72-$2.99
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire, Fire phone
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4
Move the Turtle. Programming for kids Publisher: Next is Great
Unique app helps young kids learn basic coding skills, with guidance
Grades 1-6
Type App
Price $2.99
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4
Code.org Visit Website: http://www.code.org
Popular games, big names get kids and teachers pumped to program
Grades K-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
Tickle Publisher: Tickle Labs
Robots, Arduinos, and drones -- the block coding app to rule them all
Grades 2-8
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4
Wonder for Dash & Dot Robots Publisher: Wonder Workshop
Serious robotics programming with seriously adorable robots
Grades 3-5
Type App
Price Free
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 5
Kodu Game Lab Publisher: Microsoft
Open-ended game design and programming tool for visual thinkers
Grades 3-12
Type Game
Price Free
Platforms Windows, Xbox 360
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
SPRK Lightning Lab - Programming for Sphero Robots Publisher: Orbotix Inc.
Cool robots and creative play make programming irresistible
Grades 3-8
Type App
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire, Fire phone
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 5
Google CS First Visit Website: https://www.cs-first.com
Middle school CS platform offers stellar resources, organizing tools
Grades 4-8
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Tynker Visit Website: http://www.tynker.com/
Cute, colorful coding platform caters to strong independent readers
Grades 4-8
Type Website
Price Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 3
Made with Code Visit Website: https://www.madewithcode.com/
Inspirational videos and fun projects entice girls to start coding
Grades 4-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Cargo-Bot Publisher: Two Lives Left
Challenging game helps kids learn to think like programmers
Grades 5-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms Android, iPad
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4
Appinventor.org Visit Website: http://www.appinventor.org/
Great mobile app creation site has solid teacher resources
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
Lightbot - Programming Puzzles Publisher: Danny Yaroslavski
Simple design, but challenging fun for budding programmers
Grades 6-12
Type App
Price $2.99
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4
MIT App Inventor Visit Website: http://appinventor.mit.edu/
Fun programming site gets kids to build their own mobile apps
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
GameSalad Publisher: GameSalad, Inc.
Great interface, flexible publishing options make game-making a snap
Grades 7-12
Type Game
Price $19+ per month, discounts for educators
Platforms Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 5

Text-Based Programming

CodeMonkey Visit Website: http://www.playcodemonkey.com/
Puzzler's use of real code fills niche in crowded learn-to-code genre
Grades 4-12
Type Website
Price Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Mozilla Thimble Visit Website: https://thimble.mozilla.org/
Inspiring platform teaches coding through remixing
Grades 4-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Mozilla X-Ray Goggles Visit Website: https://goggles.webmaker.org/
Remix tool reveals code, can strengthen kids' understanding of the Web
Grades 5-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 5
Beta The Game Publisher: Hidden Level Games
Bite-size coding, novel interface challenge novice game developers
Grades 6-12
Type Game
Price Free to Try, Paid
Platforms Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Code Avengers Visit Website: http://www.codeavengers.com/
Challenging puzzles teach with real code, best for more advanced kids
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
CodeSpells Publisher: Sarah Esper and Stephen Foster
Cast spells with JavaScript in a game world where code is magic
Grades 6-12
Type Game
Price Free
Platforms Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Codecademy Visit Website: http://www.codecademy.com
Terrific hands-on coding practice with live feedback
Grades 7-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
CodeCombat Publisher: CodeCombat
Dungeon-crawling adventure where code is king
Grades 4-12
Type Game
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Construct 2 Publisher: Scirra
Standout, pro-caliber game dev tool still great for novices
Grades 7-12
Type Game
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Windows
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Codea Publisher: Two Lives Left
Well-thought-out coding platform for real game programming
Grades 8-12
Type App
Price $14.99
Platforms iPad
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 5
Vidcode Visit Website: http://www.vidcode.io/
Cool coding tool tuned to teen girls' passions aids creativity
Grades 8-12
Type Website
Price Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Code School Visit Website: https://www.codeschool.com/
Awesome interactive coding lessons can make anyone a programmer
Grades 9-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Treehouse Visit Website: https://teamtreehouse.com/
Fun, self-paced web development and coding lessons offer high value
Grades 9-12
Type Website
Price Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated