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- Coding Apps

Coding Apps

This list has been curated by a Central Park volunteer parent taking into account the Central Park mission and vision that incorporates a new educational model of STEAM, project-based learning, design thinking and passion-led learning.


Details of prices and platforms change constantly so please Google the title for the latest accurate information.


This list was created based on the following principles:


1) It must be fun.

2) It should have feedback that helps the child learn other than simply "right" or "wrong".

3) There should be a visual representation to help the child understand what the code will do.

4) Visual representations of code blocks accommodating pre-readers are a bonus.

5) Kinesthetic manipulations of code elements are a bonus.

6) It should allow the child to create solutions in more than one method.

7) It should have an open sandbox so that the child can creatively design solutions beyond a cut and paste of pre-written code.

8) It should have minimal advertising.




beebot icon175x175


Bee-Bot App is developed to go along with the Bee-Bot robot however you can download the app for free and still learn basic coding with it for ages 3-5.



Box Island



Box Island has the first 10 levels free with additional levels available as an in-game purchase. They also have a short free version that was released for the Hour of Code.


"Box Island is a mobile game that takes boys and girls on an exciting adventure, while teaching the fundamentals of coding. Kids apply the basics, such as loops and conditionals, to progress through the super fun and challenging gameplay. Rendered in a beautiful 3D game world featuring 100 levels, where the first 10 levels are free, Box Island is a story-driven journey that keeps kids highly engaged and motivated while playing."


It says for ages 9-11 but my 6-year-olds have been enjoying it since they were 5 so who knows!






"This award-winning app lets you make your own games and publish them instantly for anyone to play. Use our super easy-to-follow videos to make games like Angry Birds, create pixel art, or build something brand new. "


It says ages 9-11 but my 6-year-old plays it.






"This companion app to the award-winning Kodable Curriculum is designed to teach computer science to elementary students grades K-5 (Ages 4-11)." 

Free to download. 



LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Programmer

legoMindstormsEV3ProgrammerApp.jpgThis is the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 programming app if you have the *retail* version that you see at LEGO Store, Fry's, Barnes N Nobles and other places.  The retail version has less academic depth and more fun goofy things like shooting balls. The other one you see on the app store is for the *education* version which has different missions and challenges aligned more with NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards).


Either way, to use the app with a robot, you will need either the *retail* or *education* set of LEGO Mindstorms EV3. The app itself is free to download.



LEGO WeDo 2.0

LegoWeDo.jpgThis app requires the LEGO WeDo 2.0 Smart Hub to actually control the robot however kids can still experiment with the programming interface to make loops, play sounds, or setup messages.


App is free, but LEGO WeDo 2.0 kit must be ordered from Lego Education North America.



LightBot and LightBot Jr.

LightBot.jpg"Lightbot is a programming puzzle game- a game whose game mechanics require using programming logic to solve levels. 

Simply guiding a robot to light up tiles and solve levels using commands, Lightbot cultivates a real understanding of procedures, loops, and conditionals."


LightBot Jr. and LightBot cost $3 but there is also an Hour of Code version that is shorter and free.




PBS Kids Scratch Jr.

PBSKidsScratchJr.png"With PBS KIDS ScratchJr, kids can create their own interactive stories and games featuring their favorite characters from Wild Kratts, Nature Cat, WordGirl and Peg + Cat! The storytelling possibilities are endless with this creative coding app for children ages 5-8."


This is visual block-based programming. My kids have fun goofing around with it especially since they can do things with Word Girl characters. Free.



Scratch Jr.

ScratchJr.jpg"With ScratchJr, young children (ages 5-7) learn important new skills as they program their own interactive stories and games.

By snapping together graphical programming blocks, children can make characters move, jump, dance, and sing. In the process, children learn to solve problems, design projects, and express themselves creatively on the computer. They also use math and language in a meaningful and motivating context, supporting the development of early-childhood numeracy and literacy. With ScratchJr, children don’t just learn to code, they code to learn."


My kids make up fun things with Scratch Jr. They enjoy playing with it. It is a good entry point later to move into Scratch programming.





tickle app

TickleApp.jpg"Fantastic. Program multiple robots, drones, and smart-toys, using a familiar interface." – Code.org
Tickle is "the most awesome blocks programming environment for iPad". Learn to program virtual games and stories, Parrot drones to flip in mid-air, and LEGO robots, Star Wars BB-8, Sphero, and Dash&Dot to move through mazes. You can even program Arduino wirelessly to control these drones and even build custom robots!"


My kids did the Devoxx4Kids workshop programming bb-8 with the Tickle App. It was a lot of fun. It is pretty amazing how many different devices they have setup their app to work with. There are so many robots and drones.






Tynker.jpgTynker offers several different things for kids to learn coding through visual block programming. They have 2 different apps because the *red* one is the shorter free version from the Hour of Code that you can unlock the rest of it through an in-app purchase. The other version on the app store is the *blue* one for schools where for $6 you get all puzzles unlocked. Those are just the apps.


What they offer on their web site is another more expanded and more in depth coding curriculum that has initial lessons for free with subscriptions required for more in depth coding challenges and Minecraft modding. It can be confusing at first for parents, but it is definitely worth a look. 


They also have programs for schools but we would need fundraising and approval from SCUSD to add it.


Tynker also works with controlling the Sphero or Parrot mini drone.





The Foos


Fix the Factory


Move the Turtle