If you are looking for a comprehensive list of the best coding and programming websites for kids in 2021, you’re in the right place!
Below, you will find a wide range of free and paid websites, programs, apps, games, and interactive lessons that teach kids systematic thinking which is central to programming and coding.
And don’t worry! This won’t be a boring experience that puts them to sleep. Instead, they’ll be doing all the learning by making fun projects and playing engaging games. So let’s get started!
Learn Programming With 2021‘s Top 18 Best Free Coding Websites For Kids
First on my list definitely had to be Scratch, which is a free programming language created by MIT’s Media Lab. Scratch was specifically developed with the aim to help young children develop their systematic thinking, creativity, and collaboration skills while learning the basics of coding and programming.
Suitable for ages 8 to 16, Scratch’s interface allows children to easily drag and drop blocks that perform a specific function and join them together like a jigsaw puzzle. They get the chance to build games, animations, and stories, without worrying about things like syntax.
Projects can be accessed online completely free of cost and can be used offline by downloading the free Scratch app which is available for Windows, macOS, ChromeOS, and Android.
A major benefit of Scratch is its thriving open-source community where children can post their own projects and dive deep into interesting programs made by other children. Currently, over 10 million+ kids have learned to code for free using this amazing and free platform!
- Free access
- Offline Scratch app available for Windows, macOS, ChromeOS, and Android
- Ages 8 – 16
- Drag-and-drop interface
- Thriving open-source community
2. Computer Science Foundations by Brilliant.org
A relatively new entry on the list, Brilliant.org is a fast-growing platform focused on math, science, and computer science. They focus on teaching the concepts with cheeky animations and dazzling simulations that ensure your students are learning and not just memorizing.
With the Computer Science Foundations track, students will build up from the basics of computer science, layer in algorithms and data structures, and ultimately make it all the way up to neural networks. There’s even a Python course within the subscription if they want to get a jumpstart on data analytics.
So kids who are really into it can go from ‘hello world’ to the basics of artificial intelligence all on one platform. They also have lots of check-in questions with thoughtful explanations to check and reinforce the concepts they’re teaching.
These courses tend a little on the older side, targeting high school and even college students. We’ve also heard from a number of parents that they found the free problems interesting for staying connected with their kids’ studies. And some teachers found inspiration to bring into the classroom.
- Free basic access and premium trial
- Great value relative to the cost
- No coding expereince required
- Best for high school and college students
Suitable for all age groups, Code School (now Pluralsight) is an excellent place for aspiring software engineers to learn basic and advanced concepts and techniques in various programming languages.
The platform carries hundreds of courses (of varying difficulty levels) that are based on video lectures and taught by top industry experts who have more than just bits of knowledge to offer. You can learn languages like Python and HTML, and take a dive into subjects like machine learning.
Before going on to the subscription plans, you can take a free 10-day trial to audit what Pluralsight is actually like. Once that is over, you get the option to choose between monthly, yearly, and premium plans.
Code School can also be accessed through the Pluralsight app available on the Apple and Android stores.
Swift Playgrounds was developed by Apple to teach children how to use Swift (Apple’s language for app development) in fun and engaging ways. Inside the platform, there are many ‘levels’ or ‘challenges’ that teach the very basics of mobile app development, which is suitable for kids aged 6 and above.
Available for free on the Mac and iPad, Swift Playgrounds involves a simple interface where code elements like variables, loops, and conditionals can be easily inserted wherever required and dragged around for positioning.
When using the platform, kids also get real-time feedback from the code they make through a fun game on the same screen, so you always know what is happening with every change.
Users can also share their own programs with friends and download challenges from a marketplace filled with exciting ones made by leading Swift developers.
- Available on the Mac and iPad
- Ages 6+
- Variety of complexity levels
- Download challenges from the marketplace
Code.org is a nonprofit organization that aims to make computer science education accessible to every child in the world. The organization targets the K-12 age range and has tailored free courses that can be used to get age groups such as 4-6 year-olds and 8-12 year-olds started with programming and coding.
Each course includes video tutorials and comes along with a fun hands-on exercise at the end that helps children apply what they’ve learned while keeping their interest levels high.
For those older than 12, it also includes a host of resources providing guidance on continuing computer science education. Overall, this is one of the best programming websites for kids from K-12!
- For K-12 children
- Video-based courses with fun hands-on exercises
- Tailored course for each age group
- Counseling and guidance for 12+ children
Kodable is yet another great resource that is designed for ages 4-10 and also consists of two separate learning pathways. For children aged 4-7, it provides drag-and-drop games to play that teach fundamental programming principles.
Kodable does offer a free trial, and if you decide to carry on, users can choose from three plans – a monthly plan, a yearly plan, and a lifetime plan which is quite well priced.
- Free trial
- Ages 4 – 10
- Available on iPhone and iPad
- Gamified environment
Lightbot is a simple puzzle-based game that is aimed at teaching the logic of programming to young children aged 4 and above. It takes a gamified approach to do this, with children required to help a bot achieve its goal of lighting tiles by giving it the right set of instructions in the correct sequence.
The Lightbot app can be bought from the Apple or Android app store for only $2.99 and can be used on iPads, iPhones, and Android devices. Lightbot does not offer any text-based experience with a real programming language as its main focus is to help develop the intuitions needed to code.
Although targeted more towards children, the game is suitable for anyone who is just starting out with programming for the first time and wants to understand the important concepts before diving into a proper language.
- Paid application ($2.99 on Apple store)
- Ages 4+
- Gamified method
- Learn logical thinking necessary for programming
- Available on iPad, iPhone, and Android devices
CodeCombat turns out to be a versatile solution for you if you’re looking to get your kids started with some real programming.
Designed for kids in grade 5 and above, one option is to choose self-paced learning in which you pay a monthly or one-time subscription fee. This allows you to play two games developed by CodeCombat that teach the fundamentals of coding and build the right intuitions.
All of this is backed up with exciting hands-on projects that keep children engaged and make them comfortable in the skills they have acquired.
- Monthly ($9.99/month) and lifetime ($99) subscriptions for self-paced learning
- Small group and private coding classes
- Web-based application
- Grade 5 and above
9. Khan Academy
This is done through video lectures prepared by world-class instructors who leave no stone unturned in making sure the concepts are extremely easy to digest. Because of its technical nature, the series is best suited for students in grades 6 and above.
Other than the web-based application, Khan Academy can also be accessed for free on Android and Apple devices. To consolidate the concepts being learned, there are practice questions and quizzes after every few video lessons.
- Free access
- Video lectures prepared by world-class teachers
- Best suited for grades 6 and above
- Available in a browser and on Android and Apple store
Developed by the MIT STEP lab, Gameblox is a special programming language that can be used to make interactive and fun games through drag-and-drop style block-based coding practice. These games can be made both for the web and for mobile devices.
Gameblox does not specify an age range for who can learn through its games, but it’s clear that anyone who wants to get a taste of game design should definitely get started with this, especially kids who want to make and share games.
All the development is done online and free of cost, making it an incredibly accessible option for the masses. Once the game is made, kids can download it, share it with their friends, and play it on their own mobile devices
- Free access
- Web-based application with Android and Apple apps
- Suitable for kids and adults alike who want to learn game design
- Download and share games with friends
- Block-based programming language
Chances are that if you’ve even remotely been interested in learning how to code (or teaching your kids about it), you’ve definitely come across Codecademy. It is a massive eLearning tool that teaches young kids and amateur professionals alike.
You can learn over 10 different programming languages including Python, SQL, C++, and Java in a learn-as-you-do manner, implementing code in real-time to see its effects, and going through all the syntax. Learning through Codecademy is suitable for all people above the age of 10 because it involves real-world languages and complex programming concepts.
Although you can access the basic courses for free, you will have to buy a monthly or yearly subscription plan to unlock an exciting range of features.
- The basic course is free, Pro version costs $15.99 a month, billed yearly
- 10 different programming languages
- Learn-as-you-do method
- Ages 10 and above
12. Code Avengers
Based out of New Zealand, Code Avengers is working to make people – young and old – confident about learning programming. It offers courses in two categories – a ‘Junior’ package for 5-14 year-olds, and a ‘Pro’ package for those above 12 years of age.
You can take a free 10-day trial to figure out whether you are comfortable with the quality of Code Avenger’s courses before you subscribe to their membership plans.
- Free 10-day trial and subscription plan after that
- Junior package for 5-14 year-olds and Pro package for 12+ year-olds
- Work on fun projects to implement what you learn
CodeWizardsHQ has been working in the online learning industry for the past 5 years and has developed highly-rated programs for three categories of students: grades 3-5, grades 6-8, and grades 9-12.
Instead of offering online courses like other platforms, CodeWizardsHQ primarily offers weekly online classes with a predefined curriculum. Each class costs 3 installments of $149, after which every student enjoys all the perks that include 1:1 office hours and weekly progress reports.
The reason this is one of the best free coding websites for kids is that it also offers an internship placement in a real-world nonprofit organization!
- 3 installments of $149 per class
- Three categories: grades 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12
- Path to real-world internship
- Learn popular programming languages
- 1:1 office hours
Next in the list is Codemoji, a web-based platform that other than providing a huge list of courses of varying difficulties, gives students a ‘playground’ and ‘workshop’ to experiment with ideas.
Targeted towards students from grades 1 till 8, Codemoji offers a free 14-day trial when signing up so that students and parents can feel satisfied with what they will get. Once they do, students pay $10 per month to keep the premium subscription.
- Free 14 day trial before a $10/month subscription for students
- More than 500 video lessons and courses
- Grades 1-8
- Build games and animations
- Web-based platform
CodeMonkey is a web-based educational platform targeted towards K-8 level children which teaches the principles and practices of coding. Included in the platform are various programs that are broken down into small courses, each catering to a specific age level.
You will find block-based coding courses for the youngest students, with the complexity level rising with the grade the students are in. For grades 3 and above, text-based programming is introduced so that students get a taste of real-world coding. Senior-most students even get a taste of Python, a popular programming language.
Because the entire experience is ‘gamified’, it lures in students and teaches them how to code before they realize that they were learning something. For teachers, it offers additional features like classroom management and lesson plans.
CodeMonkey offers free trials for three of their different plans, which include the school plan, district plan, and the after-school & camp plan. Overall, a great free coding website for kids that teaches programming entirely via gamification!
- Paid service but offers a free trial
- Get a quote customized to your scope
- Gamified learning
- For K-8 children
- Block-based, text-based learning, and experience with Python
Used by over 60 million children from around the world, Tynker is one of the leading online coding platforms for kids. It offers more than 3,700 modules along with over 40 text and block-based courses.
- Three age categories: 5-7, 8-13, 14+
- Web-based application with the app available on Apple and Android stores
- Free trial and three plans: quarterly ($20/month), yearly ($10/month), lifetime ($240)
- Gamified learning environment
Stencyl is a platform that allows its users to make creative and novel games without actually having to write any code. It accomplishes this through a drag-and-drop feature in which you have to snap the right blocks together to make the program do what you want it to do.
Because there isn’t a need to know any popular programming language, Stencyl is suitable for kids aged 12 and above who want to let their creative juices flow and come up with a game that takes over the app stores.
Games that you develop using Stencyl can be published to a wide range of platforms including iOS and Android, however, you can only publish to the web with the free version of Stencyl. By upgrading to the Indie or Studio plans, you will be able to publish to all the available platforms.
- Three plans: Starter (free), Indie ($99/year), Studio ($199/year)
- Publish to platforms like iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Linux, Flash, HTML5
- Ages 12+
- Drag and drop programming
Code Monster is aimed at preteens and is so simple you can launch it straight from your web browser by just entering a short URL. There is no need for extensive sign-ups and verifications. What’s more, it is completely free as well!
Another useful benefit is that you don’t need an active internet connection for it – once it has been loaded, you can switch off the internet and not face any problems at all. Perhaps the best free coding website for kids when you’re on the road!
- Free access
- Action-and-effect based teaching style
- Browser-based requires internet only while loading page
- Aimed at preteens