FREE CODING FOR KIDS

Dear Parent or Guardian,

I write to you with empathy of having to spend the next {insert number here when anyone actually knows} weeks at home with children trying to school them through various subjects.

If you need a break from trying to remember how to do long division without a calculator or from checking the latest updates from the grammar police, I have compiled a list of resources that offer free coding for kids so you can try something different.

Yes, I mean all those squigly lines, seemingly random characters and punctuation in places it should never be! Well put aside any preconceptions and just dive in head first. Most of the resources are really easy to follow, your kids will be learning some really valuable skills in todays world and who knows you may even have some fun.

So let’s get to it…

block based editors.

Block based editors are great for beginners and a great place to get started in the world of coding. It takes out all the intimidating code whilst still allowing you to get to grip with the basics. Some block based editors also allow you to switch to text based editing after you’ve got all your blocks in place. This is a great way to learn what the block is actually doing, the logic behind how it works and gives a great stepping stone into switching to text based editors when you’re ready.

Scratch is used by millions of people around the world to create stories, games and other fun projects. You build up your project using sprites which are then brought to life in the simulator. Scratch is completely free. This is just one of the free websites that teach programming.

Robotify is a robot simulator which is great for learning how to program robots without the expensive hardware costs normally associated with robotics. Although full access to all courses require a subscription, there are still a handful of free courses to whet your appetite. This is one of the best coding game for kids.

micro:bit is a tiny computer packed full of cool features. Although to use all the features you would need a physical micro:bit, you can still do so much using the built in simulator.
The makecode arcade editor is very similar to the micro:bit editor but is built for making retro style games. There are lots of tutorials to help you build some of the much loved classics with a twist or guide you to create your own style games.

text based editors.

If you’re feeling adventurous you could jump straight into using a text based editor. There are many available but the best ones to use depend on which programming language you use. A great place to start is w3shools.com as it has tutorials and ‘try it yourself’ activities for a wide range of programming languages. They cover the basics right up to more in depth concepts.

If you want a more hands on approach to coding with physical hardware we’ll be launching a shop soon for getting your hands on maker kits, micro:bits and other bits and pieces. Drop us a message to register your interest and we’ll let you know when the store is up and running. Who knows, you may even get a discount on your first order… (shhhh!).

finally, Google Cardboard.

Ok so this one isn’t a coding platform but it’s still awesome which is why it gets a mention. Google Cardboard is a cost effective way to experience virtual reality in many ways. All you need is a VR headset (these don’t have to cost a fortune) and a smart phone that can fit. With these two things, you can use the Google Cardboard app to tour museums, travel across the globe and even create your own 3D images to view using the VR headset. You can even watch 360 videos on YouTube! Learn computer science and have fun.

it’s not just for the kids…

Coding doesn’t have to be just for the kids, you can give it a go too, you might be able to create some projects that can help with the day to day routine with being stuck in the house with the kids. I’ve given you a couple of basic ideas below that will hopefully help me keep my sanity while at home.

“Dinner Time”

Pressing the ‘A’ button on the micro:bit will put it into dinner time mode. During dinner time mode, every 2 minutes a random message will be displayed to the kids. “Sit on your chair”, “eat your dinner” and “put down the knife”. You know just the usual…

“Baby Shark Stopper”

Record the number of times “Baby Shark” (yeah, that one!) has been played by pressing the ‘A’ button on the micro:bit. When the ‘A’ button has been pressed 10 times it will send a message to another micro:bit telling the kids to stop playing baby shark!

That’s all for now folks but I’ll update the blog if I find anything else worth mentioning. Keep smiling and enjoy the quality time we all know goes too fast. You’re doing a great job.

Yours faithfully? Sincerely? Truly?

Good luck!

Breezy Dan

 

who is Breezy Dan?

 

Dan is our inhouse coding wizard.
He volunteers at Redditch Library on a regular basis at the coding club CoderDojo. And he loves sharing online resources that offer free coding for kids.

CoderDojo is a global movement of free, volunteer-led, community-based computer programming clubs for young people.

For more info on CoderDojo or to find your local dojo, check out their website and get involved.

what are you working on?

Whether it’s a story or a game, you’ve done it by yourself or got the whole family involved, we want to see what you’ve been coding. Share them with us on facebook or instagram using #whythelemon and we’ll put them on our website to hopefully inspire others to join in.

If you’re not using social media send them to coding@breezytech.co.uk

Happy coding!