During the summer I still make my kids do something educational every day. More often than not, they choose to use Scratch to code awesome projects. I am constantly in awe of what my kids are able to create. Here is a video of the latest project from my daughter…
There really are so many amazing tools out there to help kids create anything their imagination can think up. Getting started is super easy, and kids as young as 5 can even get in on the action.
Scratch is a project from the amazing minds over at MIT. It allows you to choose from a huge list of code blocks and put them together to create an entire project or program. As the program runs it will highlight the different sections of code it is currently using. It is really a great way for kids to see the cause and effect of the different blocks of code and variables they enter.
ScratchJr is available for children ages 5-7 to give them a great introduction into the coding world in a simple to use interface. Once they graduate to the main version of Scratch they will be able to use more advanced blocks of code to create their projects. I love looking at all the code my daughter used to create her “Havin’ a Good Time” project, shown above.
Scratch also allows you to “remix” other users programs to make them your own. This is helpful if you don’t want to start from, pardon the pun, scratch. Once they get in there and really see what it can do, I guarantee they will be able to figure out something they want to make all on their own.
What I love about the Bloxels is that it is not entirely behind a screen. There is a board you use to put different blocks of color in the various holes to create a picture that the app can recognize. He created obstacles and people to be used inside his game through the Bloxels board.
As I mentioned yesterday, littleBits also allows you to create and code incredible projects. The “bits” that come in the box have infinite possibilities. You can get inspiration by looking at some of the inventions other users have created on their website. The more kits you purchase, the more pieces you will have to choose from to form your own creation.
Kids have been making their own creations through LEGO for a long time. Now with LEGO Boost, you can also code that creation to do any number of tasks. My son created the Robot and loves to program it to answer questions, move around the room, and shake your hand. You can break away from the mold though and use your imagination to create something new and excited with your LEGO set, and use the Boost parts to make it interactive!
There are really so many more coding toys and apps that can allow your children to get creative and use their imagination. Give them the tools and sit back and watch what they create!
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Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com