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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. For beginners and those with intermediate skills, there are tons of choices that offer instruction, practice, and opportunities to apply skills. Though there's definitely overlap between many platforms, the tools for more advanced students require some prerequisite foundational skills. Plus, there are tools that are totally user-driven -- without teacher resources -- to recommend for students who are really motivated. Learning through games is a fun entry point, so you can check out some of those choices. And if students really want to see a published product as the fruit of their coding labor, there are tools that are really practical, with direct application of coding skills. If you have students who may or may not be into coding but are into other forms of self-expression, the tools for creativity beyond coding might work well. For tangible teachable moments, check out the tools that have hardware components. And older students using mobile devices might enjoy coding apps. 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.

Beginner and Intermediate

Tynker Junior: Coding for Kids

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.

Grades: Pre-K–2
Price:
Free to try

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.

Grades: Pre-K–3
Price:
Free to try

ScratchJr

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.

Grades: K–2
Price:
Free

codeSpark Academy

Block-based coding with cute characters, creation, and a social element

Bottom Line: This is a great, free choice for classroom coding that also lets kids create.

Grades: K–3
Price:
Free

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.

Grades: K–3
Price:
Free

Box Island for Schools

Animated block coding app can be overwhelming for young learners

Bottom Line: Great block coding app for Hour of Code, but the large number of challenges in the main curriculum make it hard to implement in the classroom.

Grades: K–5
Price:
Paid

Code Land - Coding for Kids

Substantial subscription-based coder offers lots of levels, few supports

Bottom Line: This one app takes students from knowing nothing about coding to creating their own simple multiplayer games, but there's little help along the way.

Grades: K–5
Price:
Free to try

Kodable

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.

Grades: K–5
Price:
Free to try

CodeMonkey

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.

Grades: K–8
Price:
Free to try

Code.org

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.

Grades: K–12
Price:
Free

Tynker

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.

Grades: K–12
Price:
Free to try

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.

Grades: 1–6
Price:
Paid

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.

Grades: 1–12
Price:
Free

Hello Ruby

Crafty, mostly screen-free approach to computer science

Bottom Line: These creative, beautifully made craft- and interest-based projects have the potential to bring students -- particularly girls -- into the world of coding and computers.

Grades: 2–5
Price:
Free

Codemoji

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.

Grades: 2–8
Price:
Free to try

Scratch

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.

Grades: 2–12
Price:
Free

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.

Grades: 4–8
Price:
Free

Codementum

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.

Grades: 4–9
Price:
Free to try

Codesters

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.

Grades: 5–8
Price:
Free to try

Blackbird

Cross-curricular coding swoops in with strong supports for students

Bottom Line: This cross-curricular coder supports teachers and gives students thoughtful feedback as they apply JavaScript to science, math, and games.

Grades: 5–12
Price:
Free to try

Zulama

Teach a vast number of CS concepts with quality, depth, and choice

Bottom Line: Zulama will help any middle or high school implement a comprehensive computer science program.

Grades: 5–12
Price:
Free to try, Paid

Advanced and User-Driven

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.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free to try

CodeHS

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.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free to try, Paid

Codecademy

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.

Grades: 7–12
Price:
Free to try

Edabit

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.

Grades: 7–12
Price:
Free to try

Treehouse

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.

Grades: 9–12
Price:
Free to try, Paid

Game-Based

Roblox

Popular game development platform has classroom potential, pitfalls

Bottom Line: Creating games for an authentic audience encourages coding and design skills, but real risks require extra caution.

Grades: 3–12
Price:
Free, Paid

Codementum

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.

Grades: 4–9
Price:
Free to try

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.

Grades: 4–10
Price:
Paid

CodeCombat

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.

Grades: 4–12
Price:
Free to try

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.

Grades: 4–12
Price:
Free

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.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Paid

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.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Paid

The Pack - NYSCI

Deceptively gentle coding game really packs a problem-solving punch

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

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free

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.

Grades: 7–12
Price:
Paid

Practical and Applied

Gamestar Mechanic

Engaging manga-themed quest to become a game designer

Bottom Line: Game design quests have everything students want but perhaps not everything teachers need.

Grades: 3–8
Price:
Free to try

LearnToMod

Modify Minecraft with this fun, applied use of coding

Bottom Line: For students who already know and love Minecraft, this is a valuable way to hook students into coding.

Grades: 5–12
Price:
Paid

Stencyl

Code-free game development tool helps kids program and publish

Bottom Line: It ups the sophistication of building block coding by connecting student work to major publishing platforms.

Grades: 5–12
Price:
Free, Paid

MIT App Inventor

Fun programming site gets kids to build their own mobile apps

Bottom Line: A fantastic, open-ended introduction to the world of mobile programming.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free

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.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free to try

GameSalad

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.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Paid

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.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free

Thunkable

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.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free

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.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free

GameMaker

One of the best creation tools available for aspiring game developers

Bottom Line: Provides teachers with the best choice for a full unit or class on game design, and gives students a tool to help them realize their game-making dreams.

Grades: 7–12
Price:
Free, Paid

Creativity Beyond Coding

Elementari

Storybook creation tool offers cool blend of ELA, art, and coding

Bottom Line: This is a great storytelling tool for younger kids that also offers an entry point into coding and computational thinking.

Grades: 1–5
Price:
Free, Paid

EarSketch

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.

Grades: 7–12
Price:
Free

Vidcode

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.

Grades: 7–12
Price:
Free to try

App-Only for Older Students

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.

Grades: 4–12
Price:
Free

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.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free

Codea

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.

Grades: 8–12
Price:
Paid

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.

Grades: 1–8
Price:
Paid

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.

Grades: 2–8
Price:
Free, Paid

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.

Grades: 3–5
Price:
Free

KOOV

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.

Grades: 3–8
Price:
Paid

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.

Grades: 3–12
Price:
Paid

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