best_coding_tools_elementary

Best Coding Tools for Elementary

These elementary-level tools help kids learn to code by targeting the foundations of programming: problem-solving, logic, and critical thinking. Some of the tools on this list focus on simple, block-based coding, while others use real text-based languages; a few of the tools even incorporate both to help kids with the transition to more advanced projects. By learning these skills through the context of code, kids build essential 21st-century skills for life that empower them to become creators, not just consumers, of the technology. 

Block- and Text-Based Code

Root Coding

First-rate versatile robot for all ages

Bottom line: By encouraging artistic design and creative problem-solving, Root Coding fits right into your STEAM curriculum.Grades: Pre-K–12 Price: Free, Paid Get it now See full review

Kodable

Fun programming logic for kids, great resources for teachers

Bottom line: A fun way for young students to understand coding, and an impressive resource for teachers to support their progress along the way.Grades: K–5 Price: Free to try Get it now See full review

Code.org

Popular games, big names get kids and teachers pumped to program

Bottom line: A well-planned, -produced, and -curated set of free resources bound to get kids hooked on learning to code.Grades: K–12 Price: FreeVisit website See full review

SpriteBox Coding

Appealing puzzle game reinforces essential coding concepts

Bottom line: This well-designed game introduces basic coding syntax and is best used for practice.Grades: 1–6 Price: Paid Get it now See full review

Code for Life

Comprehensive coding platform has impressive resources for teachers

Bottom line: This learn-to-code program has the breadth and depth required to meet the needs of almost any teacher.Grades: 1–12 Price: FreeVisit website See full review

Sphero Edu

Cool robots and creative play make programming irresistible

Bottom line: Hub for Sphero robots draws crafty kids who love making into coding, and it empowers them to be collaborators.Grades: 3–8 Price: Free, Paid Get it now See full review

Tynker

Cute, colorful coding platform caters to strong independent readers

Bottom line: Students will be empowered by custom-coding creations for a variety of platforms, but may need some reading support to complete lessons.Grades: 3–8 Price: Free to try, Paid Visit website See full review

Microsoft MakeCode

Bring code to life with circuits, robots, Minecraft, and more

Bottom line: Once you purchase the hardware, MakeCode opens doors to an incredible diversity of coding applications.Grades: 3–12 Price: Free Visit website See full review

Codesters

Differentiated text-based coding makes for truly authentic experiences

Bottom line: The well-designed Python lessons and user interface make this a great choice for serious coding instruction.Grades: 4–8 Price: Free to try, Paid Visit website See full review

Block-Based Code

Blue-Bot

Simple robot ideal for introducing programming to young learners

Bottom line: Students will develop logical and sequential thinking with Blue-Bot, creating a foundation for future coding activities.Grades: Pre-K–2 Price: Free, Paid Get it now See full review

Tynker Junior

Picture-based coding app piques early learners’ interest

Bottom line: Early coders will enjoy the colorful interface and variety of activities as they progress through different worlds and develop foundational programming skills.Grades: Pre-K–2 Price: Free to try Get it now See full review

ScratchJr

Drag-and-drop programming is an effective intro for budding coders

Bottom line: With a little adult help, this is a rich platform for getting kids into programming and digital creation.Grades: K–2 Price: FreeGet it now See full review

Codeable Crafts

Animate stories with accessible drawing tools and coding blocks

Bottom line: Kids get a simple peek at computer programming principles by animating stories using code blocks.Grades: K–3 Price: FreeGet it now See full review

Blockly for Dash & Dot Robots

Adorable robots teach hands-on coding skills

Bottom line: You can program robots with code blocks, with plenty of creative options and lots of fun.Grades: K–5 Price: Free, Paid Get it now See full review

Cork the Volcano – Puzzlets

Fun elementary coding through hands-on puzzle tiles

Bottom line: Programming that combines engaging physical puzzle tiles with digital gameplay.Grades: K–5 Price: Free, Paid Get it now See full review

Path for Dash Robot

Impressive intro to programming and robotics grows with students

Bottom line: Fun activities will hook kids; more advanced applications will continue to challenge them.Grades: K–5 Price: Free Get it now See full review

Elementari

Storybook creation tool offers cool blend of ELA, art, and coding

Bottom line: This is a great storytelling tool for younger kids that also offers an entry point into coding and computational thinking.Grades: 1–5 Price: Free, Paid Visit website See full review

Itch

Full-featured tool makes teaching with Scratch easier than ever

Bottom line: Here you’ll find resources for teaching with Scratch and a complete management tool to support student learning.Grades: 1–12 Price: Free to try, Paid Visit website See full review

Scratch

Creative sandbox opens the door to coding in any subject area

Bottom line: Scratch draws students of all types into coding and lays a foundation for future learning.Grades: 1–12 Price: FreeVisit website See full review

Codemoji

Emoji-based coding tool demystifies web design and animation

Bottom line: Emoji-based lessons engage and empower kids to explore web design and animation, with instant website creation.Grades: 2–8 Price: Free, Paid Visit website See full review

Evo by Ozobot

Versatile mini robot tailor-made for teaching coding

Bottom line: Evo encourages students to be creative, emphasizing that coding is a tool in your pocket, not the end game.Grades: 2–8 Price: Free, Paid Get it now See full review

Hopscotch-Programming for Kids

Easy-to-use visual tool makes coding fun and social

Bottom line: A great tablet-based tool for introducing kids to coding, best used with some guidance from adults.Grades: 2–8 Price: Free to try Get it now See full review

Cozmo

A little robot with big personality brings code to life

Bottom line: From Cozmo’s engaging personality to endless programming possibilities, this little robot will capture your heart and spark imagination.Grades: 2–12 Price: Free, Paid Get it now See full review

SAM Labs

Kids use block code and wireless blocks to program, design, and create

Bottom line: With some perseverance, it’s a great fit for PBL and STEAM, helping students learn programming skills and engineering concepts through invention.Grades: 2–8 Price: Free, Paid Visit website See full review

Tickle

Robots, Arduinos, and drones — the block coding app to rule them all

Bottom line: Impressive tool for introducing block coding and robotics on a ton of devices.Grades: 2–12 Price: Free, Paid Get it now See full review

Kodu Game Lab

Open-ended game design and programming tool for visual thinkers

Bottom line: The 3D game-making environment and simple, visual logic will definitely grab some students, but others will need support this tool just doesn’t provide.Grades: 3–12 Price: FreeSee full review

Google CS First

Middle school CS platform offers stellar resources, organizing tools

Bottom line: If your middle school doesn’t have a CS program or club, now you do!Grades: 4–8 Price: FreeVisit website See full review

Human Resource Machine EDU

Challenging puzzles will grab the imagination of any coding enthusiast

Bottom line: For teachers with some coding background, this is a great game-based tool for learning to code.Grades: 4–10 Price: Paid Get it now See full review

Made with Code

Enticing projects and inspiring videos offer anyone an intro to coding

Bottom line: Solid intro to coding with diverse projects geared toward tween/teen girls; sets foundation to explore deeper level coding and logic activities.Grades: 4–12 Price: FreeVisit website See full review

Cargo-Bot

Challenging game helps kids learn to think like programmers

Bottom line: Cargo-Bot is a simple concept that packs a challenging punch and teaches valuable programming skills.Grades: 5–12 Price: FreeGet it now See full review

Text-Based Code

CodeCombat

Dungeon-crawling adventure where code is king

Bottom line: While not everyone loves fighting ogres, CodeCombat offers a classroom-ready platform and an authentic learning experience.Grades: 4–12 Price: Free, Paid See full review

CodeMonkey

Puzzler’s use of real code fills niche in crowded learn-to-code genre

Bottom line: A great intro to coding that, with solid teacher support, gets students using real programming languages and digging into meatier concepts than with other early coding tools.Grades: K–12 Price: Free to try, Paid Visit website See full review

Swift Playgrounds

Brilliantly designed iOS coding app great for newbies or pros

Bottom line: If iPad devices are available, this is an inspired choice for learning how to create and tweak code.Grades: 4–12 Price: Free

If you’re looking to begin coding lessons in your classroom, check out our Teaching Strategies for how to Get Started with Coding in Your Classroom.PrintPrint | Save as PDF

Block- and Text-Based Code

Root Coding

First-rate versatile robot for all ages

Bottom line: By encouraging artistic design and creative problem-solving, Root Coding fits right into your STEAM curriculum.Grades: Pre-K–12 Price: Free, Paid Get it now See full review

Kodable

Fun programming logic for kids, great resources for teachers

Bottom line: A fun way for young students to understand coding, and an impressive resource for teachers to support their progress along the way.Grades: K–5 Price: Free to try Get it now See full review

Code.org

Popular games, big names get kids and teachers pumped to program

Bottom line: A well-planned, -produced, and -curated set of free resources bound to get kids hooked on learning to code.Grades: K–12 Price: FreeVisit website See full review

SpriteBox Coding

Appealing puzzle game reinforces essential coding concepts

Bottom line: This well-designed game introduces basic coding syntax and is best used for practice.Grades: 1–6 Price: Paid Get it now See full review

Code for Life

Comprehensive coding platform has impressive resources for teachers

Bottom line: This learn-to-code program has the breadth and depth required to meet the needs of almost any teacher.Grades: 1–12 Price: FreeVisit website See full review

Sphero Edu

Cool robots and creative play make programming irresistible

Bottom line: Hub for Sphero robots draws crafty kids who love making into coding, and it empowers them to be collaborators.Grades: 3–8 Price: Free, Paid Get it now See full review

Tynker

Cute, colorful coding platform caters to strong independent readers

Bottom line: Students will be empowered by custom-coding creations for a variety of platforms, but may need some reading support to complete lessons.Grades: 3–8 Price: Free to try, Paid Visit website See full review

Microsoft MakeCode

Bring code to life with circuits, robots, Minecraft, and more

Bottom line: Once you purchase the hardware, MakeCode opens doors to an incredible diversity of coding applications.Grades: 3–12 Price: Free Visit website See full review

Codesters

Differentiated text-based coding makes for truly authentic experiences

Bottom line: The well-designed Python lessons and user interface make this a great choice for serious coding instruction.Grades: 4–8 Price: Free to try, Paid Visit website See full review

Block-Based Code

Blue-Bot

Simple robot ideal for introducing programming to young learners

Bottom line: Students will develop logical and sequential thinking with Blue-Bot, creating a foundation for future coding activities.Grades: Pre-K–2 Price: Free, Paid Get it now See full review

Tynker Junior

Picture-based coding app piques early learners’ interest

Bottom line: Early coders will enjoy the colorful interface and variety of activities as they progress through different worlds and develop foundational programming skills.Grades: Pre-K–2 Price: Free to try Get it now See full review

ScratchJr

Drag-and-drop programming is an effective intro for budding coders

Bottom line: With a little adult help, this is a rich platform for getting kids into programming and digital creation.Grades: K–2 Price: FreeGet it now See full review

Codeable Crafts

Animate stories with accessible drawing tools and coding blocks

Bottom line: Kids get a simple peek at computer programming principles by animating stories using code blocks.Grades: K–3 Price: FreeGet it now See full review

Blockly for Dash & Dot Robots

Adorable robots teach hands-on coding skills

Bottom line: You can program robots with code blocks, with plenty of creative options and lots of fun.Grades: K–5 Price: Free, Paid Get it now See full review

Cork the Volcano – Puzzlets

Fun elementary coding through hands-on puzzle tiles

Bottom line: Programming that combines engaging physical puzzle tiles with digital gameplay.Grades: K–5 Price: Free, Paid Get it now See full review

Path for Dash Robot

Impressive intro to programming and robotics grows with students

Bottom line: Fun activities will hook kids; more advanced applications will continue to challenge them.Grades: K–5 Price: Free Get it now See full review

Elementari

Storybook creation tool offers cool blend of ELA, art, and coding

Bottom line: This is a great storytelling tool for younger kids that also offers an entry point into coding and computational thinking.Grades: 1–5 Price: Free, Paid Visit website See full review

Itch

Full-featured tool makes teaching with Scratch easier than ever

Bottom line: Here you’ll find resources for teaching with Scratch and a complete management tool to support student learning.Grades: 1–12 Price: Free to try, Paid Visit website See full review

Scratch

Creative sandbox opens the door to coding in any subject area

Bottom line: Scratch draws students of all types into coding and lays a foundation for future learning.Grades: 1–12 Price: FreeVisit website See full review

Codemoji

Emoji-based coding tool demystifies web design and animation

Bottom line: Emoji-based lessons engage and empower kids to explore web design and animation, with instant website creation.Grades: 2–8 Price: Free, Paid Visit website See full review

Evo by Ozobot

Versatile mini robot tailor-made for teaching coding

Bottom line: Evo encourages students to be creative, emphasizing that coding is a tool in your pocket, not the end game.Grades: 2–8 Price: Free, Paid Get it now See full review

Hopscotch-Programming for Kids

Easy-to-use visual tool makes coding fun and social

Bottom line: A great tablet-based tool for introducing kids to coding, best used with some guidance from adults.Grades: 2–8 Price: Free to try Get it now See full review

Cozmo

A little robot with big personality brings code to life

Bottom line: From Cozmo’s engaging personality to endless programming possibilities, this little robot will capture your heart and spark imagination.Grades: 2–12 Price: Free, Paid Get it now See full review

SAM Labs

Kids use block code and wireless blocks to program, design, and create

Bottom line: With some perseverance, it’s a great fit for PBL and STEAM, helping students learn programming skills and engineering concepts through invention.Grades: 2–8 Price: Free, Paid Visit website See full review

Tickle

Robots, Arduinos, and drones — the block coding app to rule them all

Bottom line: Impressive tool for introducing block coding and robotics on a ton of devices.Grades: 2–12 Price: Free, Paid Get it now See full review

Kodu Game Lab

Open-ended game design and programming tool for visual thinkers

Bottom line: The 3D game-making environment and simple, visual logic will definitely grab some students, but others will need support this tool just doesn’t provide.Grades: 3–12 Price: FreeSee full review

Google CS First

Middle school CS platform offers stellar resources, organizing tools

Bottom line: If your middle school doesn’t have a CS program or club, now you do!Grades: 4–8 Price: FreeVisit website See full review

Human Resource Machine EDU

Challenging puzzles will grab the imagination of any coding enthusiast

Bottom line: For teachers with some coding background, this is a great game-based tool for learning to code.Grades: 4–10 Price: Paid Get it now See full review

Made with Code

Enticing projects and inspiring videos offer anyone an intro to coding

Bottom line: Solid intro to coding with diverse projects geared toward tween/teen girls; sets foundation to explore deeper level coding and logic activities.Grades: 4–12 Price: FreeVisit website See full review

Cargo-Bot

Challenging game helps kids learn to think like programmers

Bottom line: Cargo-Bot is a simple concept that packs a challenging punch and teaches valuable programming skills.Grades: 5–12 Price: FreeGet it now See full review

Text-Based Code

CodeCombat

Dungeon-crawling adventure where code is king

Bottom line: While not everyone loves fighting ogres, CodeCombat offers a classroom-ready platform and an authentic learning experience.Grades: 4–12 Price: Free, Paid See full review

CodeMonkey

Puzzler’s use of real code fills niche in crowded learn-to-code genre

Bottom line: A great intro to coding that, with solid teacher support, gets students using real programming languages and digging into meatier concepts than with other early coding tools.Grades: K–12 Price: Free to try, Paid Visit website See full review

Swift Playgrounds

Brilliantly designed iOS coding app great for newbies or pros

Bottom line: If iPad devices are available, this is an inspired choice for learning how to create and tweak code.Grades: 4–12 Price: Free

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