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

Grades K-2
Type App
Price Free
Platforms Android, iPad, Kindle Fire, Chrome
Common Sense says
Teachers say
Codeable Crafts Publisher: Benesse
Animate stories with accessible drawing tools and coding blocks
Grades K-3
Type App
Price Free
Platforms Android
Common Sense says
Teachers say 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 says
Teachers say
Kodable - Coding for Kids Publisher: SurfScore
Fun procedural reasoning for kids; great curriculum for teachers
Grades K-5
Type App
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Android, iPad
Common Sense says
Teachers say
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 says
Teachers say
Scratch Visit Website: http://scratch.mit.edu/
Jump-start future programmers with adaptive sandbox tool
Grades K-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense says
Teachers say
Itch Visit Website: https://www.itchcode.com/
Full-featured tool makes teaching with Scratch easier than ever
Grades 1-12
Type Website
Price Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense says
Teachers say Not Yet Rated
Codemoji Visit Website: https://www.codemoji.com
Emoji-based coding tool demystifies web design and animation
Grades 2-8
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense says
Teachers say Not Yet Rated
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 says
Teachers say
Wonder for Dash and 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 says
Teachers say
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 says
Teachers say
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 says
Teachers say
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 says
Teachers say
Tynker Visit Website: http://www.tynker.com/
Cute, colorful coding platform caters to strong independent readers
Grades 3-8
Type Website
Price Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense says
Teachers say
Made with Code Visit Website: https://www.madewithcode.com/
Enticing projects and inspiring videos offer anyone an intro to coding
Grades 4-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense says
Teachers say
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 says
Teachers say
Human Resource Machine Publisher: Tomorrow Corporation
Addictive, unique way to supplement coding instruction
Grades 6-12
Type Game
Price $4.99 (app), $9.99 (Steam)
Platforms iPhone, Linux, Mac, Wii U, Windows
Common Sense says
Teachers say Not Yet Rated
Thunkable Visit Website: https://thunkable.com/#/
Build a working iOS or Android app, even without coding experience
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense says
Teachers say Not Yet Rated
GameSalad Publisher: GameSalad, Inc.
Great interface, flexible publishing options make game-making a snap
Grades 7-12
Type Game
Price Paid
Platforms Mac, Windows
Common Sense says
Teachers say

Text-Based Programming

Codesters Visit Website: https://www.codesters.com/
Differentiated text-based coding makes for truly authentic experiences
Grades 4-8
Type Website
Price Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense says
Teachers say
CodeCombat Publisher: CodeCombat
Dungeon-crawling adventure where code is king
Grades 4-12
Type Game
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Mac, Windows
Common Sense says
Teachers say
Code Monkey 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 says
Teachers say
Mozilla Thimble Visit Website: https://thimble.mozilla.org/
Inspiring platform teaches coding through remixing
Grades 4-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense says
Teachers say
Swift Playgrounds Publisher: Apple
Fun, intuitive iOS-coding app great for newbies or pros
Grades 4-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad
Common Sense says
Teachers say Not Yet Rated
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 says
Teachers say
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 to Try, Paid
Common Sense says
Teachers say
Hack 'n' Slash Publisher: Double Fine Productions
Zelda-inspired puzzler lets players peek behind the code curtain
Grades 6-12
Type Game
Price $13.37
Platforms Linux, Mac, Windows
Common Sense says
Teachers say 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, Paid
Common Sense says
Teachers say
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 says
Teachers say 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 says
Teachers say
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 says
Teachers say 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 says
Teachers say 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 says
Teachers say Not Yet Rated