COVID-19 Suggestions

We will continue to add additional resources throughout this page, but have added sections that highlight ones specifically supporting students home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Any of the items on this page can be useful, but some providers are sharing additional resources designed to support parents and students while schools are closed.

Self-paced tutorials focused on coding concepts

The following are all free, self-paced tutorials appropriate for younger children to get familiar with core coding concepts. A few require a free account login to use beyond a certain level.

Tips for parents

While these are indeed self-paced and ideal for solo work, we strongly recommend that parents participate, provide encouragement, and assist if the child gets frustrated. (A little bit of struggle is normal as kids confront the challenges, but if they get frustrated sometimes a little reassurance is in order).

Pre-readers

For kids just starting out that are brand new to computers / code, and are not strong readers.

Mastery of drag and drop, and shapes used in subsequent lessons.

Angry Birds, with arrows. More or less the same as the main hour of code introductory course but doesn’t require reading.

Kodable, using arrows.

Hello Ruby, Hello Ruby is the world’s most whimsical way to learn about computers, technology and programming.

littleBits, These magnetic “Bits” snap together to turn ideas into inventions, transforming the way kids learn
Snap Circuits, With its easy-to-follow instructions, Snap Circuits gives your child a hands-on education in how electrical circuits work
Squishy Circuits, Squishy Circuits uses circuit-building materials to teach simple concepts of electricity
Cubetto Robot, A coding toy for girls and boys aged 3 and up. It takes coding out of the screen, and into the real world with a programming language you can touch
Learning Beautiful, tactile materials for young children to learn the basics behind how computers work – without using computers.

Readers / Introductory Code Lessons for first-timers

Fundamentals of sequences, repeating code, and loops

Angry Birds hour of code. After about 10 levels it switches to Plants vs Zombies.

  • Moana has an almost identical format, if you want a different character and setting.
  • There are many other alternatives including Minecraft, Star Wars, and others, but I prefer to start with Angry Birds and then do the more “open” ones, as these tend to be somewhat more frustrating for kids to start with.

Tynker Hot Wheels Obstacle Course

COVID-19 Suggestions:

Board and Physical Games

Rush Hour Traffic Jam Get your Red Car through the exit. Slide the Blocking Cars and Trucks out of your way until the path is clear.
Gravity Maze Marble Run This gravity powered logic maze is sure to put your visual perception and reasoning skills to the test.
ThinkFun Code Master Programming Logic Game Teaches Programming Skills Through Fun Gameplay
Robot Repair Coding Board Game a fun coding board game and STEM toy for boys and girls where you learn programming principles through fun gameplay
Circuit Maze Game With Circuit Maze, your goal is to create a real electrical circuit that lights up designated beacons
Rover Control Game Learn core coding concepts through fun gameplay
Code On the Brink Guide your robot along a safe path from start to finish

Intermediate Code Lessons without directly writing code

These lessons hit on slightly more complex concepts like procedures, but still abstract the code itself using blocks.

COVID-19 suggestion: Code.org is launching Code Break: let us teach your kids while school is closed. Their team will also host a free, live weekly webcast, and share a weekly challenge to engage students of all abilities (even without computers). Please participate!

Lightbot – has recursive procedures in more advanced levels. Can be completed in about an hour.

Scratch – an open ended and incredibly powerful drag and drop coding engine

Introduction to text-based coding

CodeCombat – character-based coding that feels like playing a video game; in python, javascript and CoffeeScript

COVID-19 suggestion: KhanAcademy’s recommended home study schedule 

For true coding without the game-based style, you can use the free resources at Codecademy, though we prefer Khan Academy. For JavaScript specifically, this JavaScript Cheat Sheet is a great resource.

Advanced, Challenging Computer Science resources

Project Euler – challenging mathematical/computer programming problems that will require more than just mathematical insights to solve

Programming Guide for Video-Gamers

Resources for HTML / CSS / JavaScript learning

Recommended editors:

  • Mozilla Thimble is a free, browser-based editor. It’s convenient because it lets you focus on the markup and code, but don’t have to worry about installing anything, uploading files, version control or servers.
  • CodePen is another option.