30+ Amazing coding apps teachers can use to teach coding to students
Teaching students to code is gaining popularity in schools. But why is this so important? Is “coding” just the new buzzword, or is it a must for all students to learn how to code?
In this blog post, I’ll tackle 3 parts concerning “coding in the classroom”:
- What is coding?
- 8 reasons why students should learn to code
- 30+ fun coding apps to teach coding to students
Here we go! 👇
What is coding?
Before we dive in a bit deeper, it’s good to understand the word “coding” first. I did some digging to explain coding simply. “Code” is a term used to describe the language used by computers to understand our commands and questions, so they can process our requests and give an answer to our questions. When someone is coding, they are creating instructions for computers using programming languages. Coding is used to program websites, smartphones, cars, apps, and many other technologies we interact with daily.
8 Reasons why students should learn coding?
As we live in a digital age, you can already guess the importance of having enough people who can code. And there’s more.
1. Develop computational thinking skills
When students have computational thinking skills, they can express problems like a computer would. Students are encouraged to break down problems into smaller ones, so they can find process patterns and solutions faster. Students will automatically develop these handy computational thinking skills when they start coding.
2. Coding learn students to problem-solve and think critically
When your students understand the basics of coding, they will see how coding can solve bigger issues in a mathematical but fun way. Coding will encourage your students to find solutions to problems and think critically while looking for the answers.
3. Fail, try again, and keep going
Coding is a tough process. It starts easy, but it gets harder. Students will fail and have to find a solution to their mistakes to get things to work. Coding will teach them resilience. Students learn to persevere.
4. Build confidence and social skills
When your students persevere and find the coding solution to a problem, they gain confidence. When students solve a hard task, they instantly feel more motivated than when they solve an easy task. When students have to work together to find a solution, they are also building their social skills. They must listen to each other, share ideas, discuss, wait, test, and go over the process again. When their group fails, they must still make it work without compromising the team spirit.
5. A bright future
In this digital age, so many businesses rely on coding. When your students already have the skills and interest to pursue their degree in coding, they will have a good and challenging job in no time.
6. Have fun with math!
Math is stupid! That’s what many of your students might think. But coding, on the other hand, is so much fun! It’s just the way you sell it. Coding is packed with math. Students can use their logic and calculation skills to create something of their own, making math more fun!
7. Coding helps teach digital literacy
As technology is everywhere in our lives, your students need to be able to understand how it works. That’s digital literacy. Knowing how these technologies are built with code will give your students the digital literacy skills to function in real-live, using all the technologies they encounter. From completing homework on a laptop to sending a message to the teacher. These are crucial skills at this time and in the future.
8. Empower creativity
In coding, we’ve just seen the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much more to discover. Coding is just coding… But combine coding with the creative minds of your students, and they will create something new. Students can turn their ideas, interests, and imagination into real-life products that may help other people or be a solution to a problem no one had the answer to… until now.
I’m sure there are many more benefits. For example, coding can be brought to your students in a very active teaching method creating an engaged and motivated classroom with students.
30+ fun Coding apps to teach coding to students
Let’s look at how we can teach coding to our students with some fun applications. I’ve picked out apps and categorized them by grade level. Make sure to click on the title below to jump to the right coding apps for your students.
We give a short explanation for each coding app: the target age, the app’s platform, and whether it’s free.
Coding apps for kindergarten 🎨
This logic game introduces students to basic coding principles, such as algorithms. It’s perfect for young learners as there’s no reading required. The drag-and-drop game mechanics will be easy enough for preschoolers. Once your students have finished all the puzzles, a second level unlocks from the main menu, so they can move on to learn more complex coding principles.
2+ years - iOS, Android - Free with in-app purchases
2. Code Karts
With the Code Karts app, young learners learn to count like a computer using only 0 and 1 numerals. These activities will sharpen their problem-solving skills and develop their understanding of the decimal system. The app has over 70 levels, various puzzling obstacles, and two different game modes classic or competition). The objective is clear: your students must use direction bricks to get the race car to the finish line!
3 to 5 years - iOS and Android - In-app purchases
In first place, the code-a-pillar is a caterpillar toy toddlers can use to learn basic concepts of coding. The toy also has an app that introduces your toddlers to sequences and is a great intro to games that use drag-and-drop blocks of code, the standard for most kids’ coding apps. A caterpillar, bright colors, and fun music make this game instantly appealing.
3 to 6 years - iOS and Android - Free
With Code Land, young students can play games in a very visual and fun way, so they can learn the basic and essential skills to succeed in the 21st century. Your students will learn programming from scratch at their own pace. They learn coding concepts such as pattern recognition, problem-solving, sequencing, logical thinking, loops, functions, conditionals, events, and many others! This all sounds complicated, but the app is designed in a way there’s little to no text, so everything is still clear for young learners.
4 to 10 years - iOS, Android - Free
This fun coding app has a drag-and-drop interface so younger learners can use their block-based kids’ programming language to learn coding basics. Your students control the main character Daisy through various challenges, including loops and events. This app only works on iPad; your students need to understand the words roll, spin, jump, grow and shrink to give the right commands.
4 to 7 years - iOS - Free
Move the turtle is a coding app in which young learners have to - move the turtle. By completing the tasks, your students learn how to plan complex operations composed of simple & intuitive commands. As they grow older, students also learn the first principles of loops, procedures, variables, and conditional instructions. Their teacher: a kind turtle with a lot of patience!
4+ years - iOS, Android - Paid
Coding apps for primary school ✏️
This coding app is a 3D-style game where your students have to choose an animal as their character. Like most coding game apps, it teaches your students basic coding concepts, like command sequencing, functions, loops, and more.
5+ years - Android - Free
Spritebox is a fun adventure game that gets you coding from an early age. First, your students have to solve coding puzzles by using building blocks. When they advance in the app, students will get textual commands too, and learn on a more advanced level. If your students like Super Mario, they will love learning code with this app!
5 to 7 years - iOS, Android - Paid
9. Box Island
Box Island is, you’ve guessed it correctly, another coding app wrapped in a fun adventure game. Your students go through different levels figuring out the right path their box must take to get to the finish line of their level. While doing that, they learn the basics of coding.
5 to 10 years - iOS, Android - In-app purchases
10. codeSpark Academy: Kids Coding - 5 to 10 years
With codeSpark, students learn real code using a proprietary game-making platform. They learn how to problem-solve using the game design process and accelerate STEM development by letting them do what they love. The basic concept is to help the characters in the game, the Foos, achieve certain goals by guiding them through an obstacle course with your coding actions.
5 to 10 years - iOS, Android - Free
ScratchJr is an easy programming language that enables young learners to create their own interactive stories and games. Children snap together graphical programming blocks or puzzle pieces to make characters move, jump, dance, and sing. What I love about this app is the personal touch students can give to their learning. Your students can modify game characters in the paint editor, add their own voices and sounds, or insert photos of themselves. Once they did that, students use the programming blocks to make their characters come to life.
5 to 7 years - iOS and Android - Free
Osmo is more than just another coding app. It also has real coding building blocks for students that interact with the app! There are two coding apps and many more different games for your students. Besides teaching code, you can practice math and spelling and even explore your students’ creativity with their drawings.
5 to 10 years - iOS - Free app, paid building blocks
13. Sphero Edu
You’ll find a lot of coding apps that aren’t just apps but come with a robot. Sphero Edu is one just like that. Your students program some Sphero robots with the coding app Sphero Edu. Fun fact: they even have robot versions of Star Wars droids like BB-8 and R2-D2! The Sphero robots include balls and capsules that autonomously roll, so your students can make them drive. The Sphero Edu website also has a large variety of coding lessons for students. They will definitely know what to do with their robot…
5 - 13+ years - iOS, Android - Fee app, paid robot
14. Dash and Dot
Dash is a robot with a fun personality; at least, that depends on how your students program him! Of course, the robot comes with several age-appropriate coding apps. It’s a fun way for students to code the robots and see immediately if they have done it correctly. As these are real robots, it makes your lessons even more engaging.
6 to 10 years - iOS, Android - Free app, paid robot
15. Run Marco
Run Marco is an adventurous coding game. Your students go on an epic adventure and have fun while learning to code. They have to use visual instructions to guide Marco through levels as he tries to discover himself. Students use drag-and-drop coding blocks to control Marco. With simple commands like “move one step forward” and “repeat”, students can make Marco move and learn how to sequence a set of actions.
6 to 12 - iOS, Android - Free
6+ years - iOS - Free
This app was developed to trigger girls’ interest in coding. With your robot dog friend on your side, you reveal mysteries and find clues. Though this app isn’t focused on coding that much, your students will still learn some basic coding skills.
6 to 10 years - iOS, Android - In-app purchases
With this coding app, students can play games and create their own games using the coding skills they just learned. Your students discover new questions and find an answer themselves. And as they can’t make a syntax error, they are free to explore their wildest ideas. Another thing that stands out in this app is the fun and simple design of the animations.
8 to 16 years - iOS - Free
7+ years - iOS and Android - Free
20. Code adventures
In this coding game, Aurora (a cute purple fuzz ball) takes you along, so you learn the first steps into basic computer coding. The goal is to get Aurora home by completing the 30 levels of puzzles. You can compare the puzzles with other platform games, but instead of using a joystick, your students have to give the command themselves. Your students will learn various coding levels, including basics, functions, conditionals, and loops. In the app, students can see a “certificate icon” at the bottom of the “Level Mapping screen”. Here, students can write their names and get a special certificate they can download when they complete at least 65 % of the game!
7+ years - iOS and Android - Paid
21. Bee Bot App
This programming game is so much fun, and you might already know the Bee-Bot. In this case, I’m talking about their brand new app that your students can use without the Bee-Bot. This app is a coding app for students that introduces them to coding and programming. It’s the digital version of the Bee-Bot programmable floor robot, designed to introduce young children to basic programming. Here’s a tip. It might be a good idea to work with the actual Bee bot in the earlier grades. Then, your students can continue in the app when they grow older. They already know how it works, so the transition will be easy!
7 to 11 years - iOS - Free
22. Lego Boost
The Lego Boost Creative Toolbox has the lego building blocks to build a robot. Building something from scratch, with Lego instructions, is also a good skill to teach students. When the robot is there, you can bring it to life with the Lego Boost app. The app has over 60 activities with simple drag-and-drop coding. Your students will have fun with LEGO models that can move, talk and respond to real-life events.
7+ years - iOS, Android - Free app, paid toolbox
The name says it all… Here, you can find hundreds of fun, short, and colorful coding games for kids! The games are divided into coding categories: sequences, debugging, loops, functions, coordinates, arrays, and even more advanced games.
7 + years - iOS, Android - In-app purchases
LightBot is a puzzle game based on coding. It secretly teaches your students to program logically as they play. As a student, you must help reach the LightBot at the end of the puzzle so its light 💡 is activated.
7+ years - iOS and Android - Free (in-app purchases)
25. Coda Game
With the Coda Game app, your students can take control of their gaming experience. They can develop their own games with the drag-and-drop language the app provides. When they’re happy with their game, they can share it with other kids in their secure “app store” community and collect hearts from others who like it.
9+ years - iOS, Android - Paid
26. Cargo Bot
In this app, your students have to operate a cargo bot and move crates around. This game is a visual, drag-and-drop game and doesn’t involve ‘writing code’. In this game, you students have to think concisely and find the simplest solution to a given problem.
10+ years - iOS, Android - Free
This app is created by Apple for iPad and Mac. It’s definitely one of my favorites! Students get to learn and experiment with Swift — a powerful programming language created and used by the pros to build today’s most popular apps. Students can start from scratch without any coding knowledge. Students have to solve puzzles to master the basics. They will step up to learn the building blocks of apps with interactive walkthroughs designed by Apple. Apple has a complete lesson package ready for you to use with your students.
10 to 13 years - iOS - Free
Coding apps for High School 📚
28. Cozmo Code Labs
Cozmo is the name of a tiny robot with a big personality. Using the handy drag & drop Cozmo code labs app, your students can program the robot and move it around, make him pick up blocks, look around, detect objects, and more. Cozmo can even speak short sentences! This coding tool and robot are made for free play. So in an educational setting, you’ll still have to set the stage for learning.
6 to 17+ - iOS, Android - Free app, paid robot
Scratch is one of the most known coding apps for children or students. Scratch has a coding language with a simple visual interface that allows your students to create digital stories, games, and animations. It’s also the bigger brother of ScratchJr, another coding app on this list. Like all other apps, scratch promotes computational thinking and problem-solving skills, creative teaching and learning; self-expression and collaboration; and equity in computing. This app has something else that is worth a mention, too: a community! Students and scratch users worldwide can share their scratch designs with each other so others can use them and even take a look inside to learn how it’s built.
8+ years - iOS and Android - Free
The Mimo coding app offers a microlearning environment. Your students can learn for a few minutes each day with their bite-sized exercises. They also get immediate feedback. The fun thing about this app is that your students can also set practice goals, so they can make a habit out of it! Students can also build projects and share them with their friends.
12+ years - iOS, Android - In-app purchases
12+ years - iOS, Android - Free
Just like Apple, Microsoft has developed its own free tool or website, which students can use to learn code. Here, students can program things from dancing robots to banana keyboards. The website comes with some hardware as well. You can buy light ships that make music, so your students can program them and test if it works!
12+ years - Web app - Free app, paid hardware
The education edition of Minecraft offers 200 hours of Computer Science content (or coding) for all levels of learners. The content is supported by training material for the teacher, so they know how to teach something you’ve never done before.
12+ years - iOS, Android - Paid educational license
34. Programming Hub
The Programming Hub app offers a combination of Kolb’s learning technique and interesting insights from experts that ensures students learn thoroughly. Their courses include lots of illustrations to enhance your students learning experience and make it fun. When your students complete a course, they get an e-certificate. For older students, this certificate is something to put on their resume.
13+ years - iOS, Android - In-app purchases
Robozzle is a puzzle game where students have to “eat” all the stars. Yes, like Pacman! Students have to give in the right commands to make sure they can navigate through the puzzle and get every star.
13+ years - iOS, Android - In-app purchases
15+ years - iOS, Android - Free
Codea lets students create games and simulations — or any visual idea they have on iPads. Codea is a beautiful and easy code editor designed to let students “touch” the code with their drag, drop, and tap interface. The app is built on the Lua programming language. A coding language that doesn’t rely too much on symbols.
15+ years - iOS - Paid
That’s the complete list of coding apps for students! I hope you found the perfect one for your teaching. Teaching code isn’t easy, but these apps will do the trick. What’s your favorite coding app? Let us know on Twitter and join our Teaching with BookWidgets Facebook group to share your BookWidgets lessons with other teachers.
And don’t forget to say hi 👋 and connect with me on LinkedIn.