Have you guys heard about Hour of Code at Code.org? They have a bunch of free coding tutorials geared towards kids as young as 4 and as old as grandma that walk you through the principles of basic programming in an hour, with the complexity getting a little harder with each “puzzle” that you complete.
And to help pique your interest (or the interest of your kids) they have coding tutorials featuring popular characters like Elsa and Anna from Frozen, the cast of Star Wars, Flappy Bird and Minecraft.
My kids tried the Minecraft Hour of Code this weekend and both of them really enjoyed it (and successfully finished the whole hour). I played through the hour of code myself just to see what the deal was before I bothered calling them over and I was definitely impressed. I’m not a programmer and I’ve tried tutorials like this before and found them massively confusing. If I can’t figure it out, what are the odds that my six year old can?
These were simple enough starting out that anyone could jump in – and perhaps most importantly, the tutorials actually TELL YOU what to do instead of just dumping you into the program and saying “Good luck!” So I was really excited to hand the reigns over to the kids and even more excited when they totally got it and then clamored over whose turn it was to go next. I’m planning to let them try out some of the other tutorials soon.
The coding in these tutorials is drag and drop but after each puzzle it lets you view the actual code that you’ve “written”, giving the user a peek into both the front end and back end of coding. Hour of Code is clearly becoming popular – even the president has logged on!