Common Sense


Best Coding Tools for Elementary

These elementary-level tools help kids learn to code by targeting the foundations of programming: problem-solving, logic, and critical thinking. Some of the tools on this list focus on simple, block-based coding, while others use real text-based languages; a few of the tools even incorporate both to help kids with the transition to more advanced projects. By learning these skills through the context of code, kids build essential 21st-century skills for life that empower them to become creators, not just consumers, of the technology. 

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.

Continue reading

Top Picks


PrintPrint | Save as PDF

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Block-Based Code


Simple robot ideal for introducing programming to young learners

Bottom line: Students will develop logical and sequential thinking with Blue-Bot, creating a foundation for future coding activities.

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.


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.

Blockly for Dash & Dot Robots

Adorable robots teach hands-on coding skills

Bottom line: You can program robots with code blocks, with plenty of creative options and lots of fun.

Cork the Volcano - Puzzlets

Fun elementary coding through hands-on puzzle tiles

Bottom line: Programming that combines engaging physical puzzle tiles with digital gameplay.

Path for Dash Robot

Impressive intro to programming and robotics grows with students

Bottom line: Fun activities will hook kids; more advanced applications will continue to challenge them.


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.


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.

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.

Hopscotch-Programming for Kids

Easy-to-use visual tool makes coding fun and social

Bottom line: A great tablet-based tool for introducing kids to coding, best used with some guidance from adults.

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.

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.

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.


Challenging game helps kids learn to think like programmers

Bottom line: Cargo-Bot is a simple concept that packs a challenging punch and teaches valuable programming skills.

Text-Based Code


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.


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.

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.

Get tips for using these tools in the classroom

See related resources