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Coding is one of the most important skills kids can learn, and there are plenty of great coding languages out there. In this article, we’ll tell you about 10 of the best kids coding languages for 2023 and also explain why they’re great choices and give you a brief overview of each. Whether you’re looking to spark your child’s interest in coding or are simply interested in finding some new programming options, these languages will be a great place to start. These are all free to use and easy to learn.
Based on current patterns, trends, and technological advancements, the future is in coding. As pointed out by the former U.S. Chief Technology Officer “To be prepared for the demands of the 21st century—and to take advantage of its opportunities—it is essential that more of our students today learn basic computer programming skills, no matter what field of work they want to pursue.”
Learning how to code at a young age can truly set your child up for a lifetime of success. But just like anything that captures the imagination, it still has to be fun!
Best Kids Coding Languages
Following are what we believe are the 10 best kids coding languages for 2023.
1. Scratch – A Block Based Kids Programming Language
When it comes to kids coding languages, visual programming languages like Scratch provide a solid foundation of programming principles, with kids being able to drag and drop code blocks (also known as the drag and drop approach of programming) to animate characters, create games, and build apps.
Scratch is designed and maintained by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab and is one of the most popular kids coding languages.
CodingHero’s Online Coding Classes For Kids introduces coding to children through the drag-and-drop approach of programming using Scratch.
Pros and Cons of Scratch
Following are the pros and cons of Scratch programming language:
- Scratch allows young people to integrate creativity in storytelling, games, and animation. Kids can collaborate on projects through the use of Scratch, and share their projects online.
- Scratch allows students to develop 21st-century skills through the use of technology.
- Scratch can be used by people of all ages including students from elementary- high school ages, and adults in a variety of settings.
- Scratch is used in over 150 countries and is available in over 40 languages. This is great for teachers that are working with bilingual or ESL students.
- Scratch can be used across curricula and students and teachers can create and share resources via scratch.
- A major advantage of scratch is that it is a free program so people can access and utilize scratch for both personal and academic use.
- A disadvantage of Scratch is that others can take what you’ve created and make it their own. This is actually called a remix. Others taking credit for work created can be a disadvantage if the user does not credit the initial creator of the scratch project.
- Another disadvantage is the user’s lack of training when using Scratch. This could be on behalf of the teacher and student.
- Teachers cannot monitor what students are creating from scratch. Inappropriate material may be used by the student that the teacher would have no knowledge of until they view the final scratch project.
- Students under the age of 13 will need to use the email address of their parent or guardian, some students’ parents do not have email addresses which could be a barrier when using scratch.
Even though Scratch does have its drawbacks, on the whole, it is a relatively good program and one of the best programming language for kids that can enhance the abilities of children in a number of ways, such as by giving them a basic understanding of how computer algorithms and programming works. Scratch can be seen as a stepping stone in the world of computer programming.
2. Blockly – An Advanced Block Based Kids Programming Language
Blockly is Google’s more advanced version of a block-based coding language. Blockly is similar to Scratch in that they both use visual blocks in place of manual coding but they’re different because Blockly is designed for a slightly older audience with more advanced skills. Blockly and Scratch have recently teamed up to create Scratch blocks, which is a nice amalgamation of both interfaces.
Pros and Cons of Blockly
Following are the pros and cons of Blockly programming language:
- Fosters experimentation and creativity with new coders.
- The interface is clean and user-friendly.
- Blockly translates blocks to text-based code in several different languages which allows kids to see the subtle differences between various languages.
- Blockly has been used by a variety of developers to create games and apps that kids will enjoy.
- Blockly is a learning language that isn’t very diverse in its uses.
- Blockly is done in a visual format. While this makes it easier for children to learn how algorithms work on a theoretical level, it does not teach an actual coding language.
- Traditional debugging is limited.
Overall, Blockly is also extremely easy to navigate through and understand. This programming language includes many safety nets for errors such as syntax, logic, and arithmetic errors. It is a great gateway for starting programmers. On top of that, the accessibility of the language is fantastic for everyone. It is one of the most versatile languages in terms of platform availability. All of these aspects make this a great language for almost anyone to pick up and learn!
3. Alice – A Visual Programming for Kids
Alice is another free-to-use, block-based visual kids programming language developed by Carnegie Mellon University. It’s an innovative coding environment that makes it fairly simple to program animations, interactive narratives, and easy games in 3D.
It is designed to teach the concepts of object-oriented programming language (like C++) through creative exploration—with a side focus on logical and computational thinking skills, fundamental programming principles, and a foundational understanding of coding overall.
Alice utilizes the same drag-and-drop-building blocks system that Scratch, Blockly, and most other visual coding programs use. And, just like those platforms, this eliminates the clutter that comes with text-based coding and allows the users to focus on simply developing scripts and writing up solutions.
Pros and Cons of Alice
Following are the pros and cons of Alice programming language.
- Works on drag and drop concept.
- Uses object-oriented programming concepts.
- Simple to learn.
- Very laggy compared to other programming languages, and challenging for beginners.
- Does not have the facility to convert to exe file. For standalone use.
- Very limited options to use your own objects most of the objects are built-in.
4. Twine – Tool for Interactive Stories
Twine is one more language that comes under the category of kids programming language. It is defined as a free “open-source tool for telling interactive, nonlinear stories.” It focuses heavily on the creation aspect of coding, doing away with coding concepts and technical terms.
In fact, Twine chooses to teach users how to code by teaching them how to structure and present interactive games and stories instead. This makes Twine perfect for kids who love to create but feel overwhelmed or frustrated with the more mechanical and methodological aspects of coding.
Pros and Cons of Twine
Following are the pros and cons of Twine.
- Easily create interactive fiction games.
- Potential for radical, experimental work.
- Free desktop and web app.
- Community resources are available.
- Little to no coding knowledge is needed.
- Sharing games requires an outside hosting service.
- Altered formatting options require relearning advanced techniques.
- Only built for creating games in the text-adventure niche genre.
5. MIT App Inventor – App Builder Tool from MIT
MIT App Inventor is an intuitive, visual programming environment that allows everyone, even children to build fully functional apps for smartphones and tablets. CodingHero’s Web & Mobile App Development Course For Kids make them proficient enough to have a simple first app up and running in less than 30 minutes. It uses a blocks-based environment to facilitate the creation of complex, high-impact apps in significantly less time than traditional programming environments.
App Inventor lets kids develop applications for Android phones using a web browser and either the connected phone or an emulator. The App Inventor servers store your work and help you keep track of your projects.
Pros and Cons of MIT App Inventor
Following are the pros and cons of MIT App Inventor
- Open-ended learning supports creativity.
- Kids can get apps running on their phones or tablets in only a few minutes.
- It helps in promoting creativity through the blocks and eliminating annoying factors of failure.
- The Apps built in this inventor can be easily shared. It is ideal for teaching perspectives. One can use it to teach the students to start with the very basics.
- It has the ability to invoke other apps. This is possible with one of its programming components which is the Activity Starter.
- It also provides access to many other functions of a phone like phone calls, SMS texting, sensors for location, sound, video, and much more.
- You can also save your data along its web database among other phones.
- You can also import the data from different sites. These sites may be social or online stores, i.e., Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon.
- Not many graphics are available.
- No coding – the transition to an editor will be difficult.
- Not so appropriate for an introduction to programming.
- Limited capabilities in terms of functionality.
- Although some HTML editors allow for debugging, they are not as effective as editors for C or C++.
Python is a programming language that reads like normal speech and that’s the reason it gets mentioned in a list of kids coding languages. One rarely has to add comments to the code because Python code that is written well enough reads as if the comments are already included in the code.
If your kids are going to learn something like coding, then you would want them to get a basic grasp on how to think like a programmer. With Python, kids will have very few obstacles with regard to learning how to program. They will be able to learn how to construct programming ideas within their heads and then focus on transferring these ideas into instructions that the machine can interpret.
Pros and Cons of Python
Following are the pros and cons of Python for beginners.
- It’s a beginner-friendly language.
- Python has a large community.
- It is flexible and extensible.
- It has extensive libraries.
- Python is embeddable.
- It is highly scalable.
- Python is portable.
- It has some issues with the design.
- Python is slower than compiled languages.
- It has a high memory consumption.
- It is a dynamically-typed language.
- Garbage collection leads to potential memory losses.
8. Lua – Scripting Language for Kids
Created in Brazil, Lua (which means “moon” in Portuguese!) is a lightweight coding language designed to be embedded in applications. It’s a multi-paradigm language, meaning it has a set of general features that can be applied to many issues.
With a short learning curve (like Python), ease of embedding, and rapid execution, it’s an ideal choice when it comes to activities like learning how to code a game.
Pros and Cons of Lua
Following are the pros and cons of Lua for beginners.
- It is lightweight and has a just–in–time compiler.
- It has a quick response time.
- Lua is completely written in C language that can be manipulated easily.
- It has the ability to document everything very easily.
- Not all codes are easily available, some of them need to code manually.
- It has a very small community of users.
9. Teachable Machine – AI Training Models for Kids
Teachable Machine is an experiment from Google to bring a no-code and low-code approach to training AI models. Anyone with a modern browser and webcam can quickly train a model with no prior knowledge or experience with AI.
Teachable Machine supports models based on images, sounds, and poses. You can use the webcam to capture images or upload existing image files from your machine. The browser simply relies on your machine’s inbuilt microphone to capture 10 seconds of audio samples for sound. You can train models that can detect your hand movements and body poses – all from the webcam.
Our Artificial Intelligence Course For Kids guides them through the process of creating amazing AI models.
Pros and Cons of Teachable Machines
Following are the pros and cons of Teachables for beginners.
- This process involves gathering the data we want to train and test as mentioned earlier. The data can be of any type like jpg, png, mp3, mp4, etc. The training and test data should be separately prepared otherwise the tool will not function properly and give improper results.
- After data gathering, the next step is to train the model. Training the model can be done either through the default parameters that Teachable Machine provides or one can play with the parameters and tune the model as per his/her choice.
- After the model is trained the next step is to test the model and validate the same on an unknown dataset.
- The final and interesting step that this tool provides is the provision to export the model that we created. One can download the trained model and visualize the number of hyper-parameters used and no. of neural network layers used to create the model.
- If you pay for the Free or Basic pricing plan, you’ll have to pay fees on every transaction.
- Teachable’s site builder can help you design clean, attractive modules – but not too fancy.
- Sometimes you’re stuck with quizzes and live discussions, as the online teaching platform doesn’t support full-featured testing or multimedia projects.
- Another downside to Teachable is their ever-present watermarks.
10. Swift Playgrounds – App Building Tool from Apple
Swift is a robust and intuitive programming language created by Apple for building apps for iOS, Mac, Apple TV, and Apple Watch. It’s designed to give developers more freedom than ever. Swift is easy to use and open-source, so anyone with an idea can create something incredible.
Swift Playgrounds was designed to be a development environment and an education tool simultaneously. The app allows users to download lessons and challenges. Once stored on the iPad, these can be copied and modified without the need for an active internet connection.
Pros and Cons of Swift Playgrounds
Following are the pros and cons of Swift Playgrounds for beginners.
- Backed up by one of the most influential tech companies in the world, Swift is set to become the dominant language for iOS development and beyond.
- Swift creators acknowledged the fact that in order to build a defining programming language, the technology needs to be open to all.
- Its syntax encourages you to write clean and consistent code which may even feel strict at times.
- Swift was built with performance in mind. Not only does its simple syntax and hand-holding help you develop faster, but it also lives up to its name.
- Remaining supreme to Objective C, Swift was ranked 20th among the most popular programming languages of 2021.
- Swift was introduced to the world in 2014, which seems to be a long ago, but the language itself is really only 7 years old, compared to Objective C lived since the 1980s.
- While the Swift community is growing fast, it is still significantly smaller as compared to any other open-source language.
- Largely due to frequent updates, as mentioned above, it is often hard to find the right tools to help with certain tasks.
- You can only use Swift in the apps that target iOS7 and later.
What is Kids Programming Language?
There are many different features that can make it easy and useful for kids to learn a programming language that is easy. So what is a kids programming language?
Two important aspects that need to be considered for language to become a kids programming language are Accessibility and Practicality. What makes a programming language accessible to kids is its simplicity and comprehensible code language.
What is Accessibility in Programming Language?
One particular language cannot be graded as a kids-friendly or kids programming language. A language that is suitable for one age group may not fit for the other age group.
For kids between the ages of five and eight, it is best to choose coding languages with visual learning environments. When kids learn to code, it’s typically done under the guise of a game. This makes the process fun and engaging while the kids are still learning a new skill.
There are many coding languages that allow children to code using a visual environment where coding is done by dragging and dropping the coding blocks similar to jigsaw puzzles. The most popular language under this category is Scratch which is globally recognized as kids programming language. Some of these coding languages are similar to traditional text-based languages with easy-to-learn syntax and programming rules.
However, there are plenty of different programming languages and they keep updating with each passing year. Choosing the right programming language, to begin with, could be a nerve-wracking job. If you want to help your child develop coding skills, here are 10 of the best coding languages for kids in 2023.
When thinking about which coding language is right for your child, you should take into consideration their current interests, as this will often dictate the choice of language used.
What Type of Kids Coding Languages Would Be Best For Your Child?
If your child is into robotics, then they may want to consider Lua. If, however, they have an interest in App development then MIT App Inventor might give them the edge. Whether it is engineering, apps, 3D gaming, or website design; the most important thing while learning any kids programming language is to make coding fun.
Your child doesn’t have to exclusively stick to one coding program either. Often the fundamentals of one coding language overlap with another, and once your child has mastered the basics, they’ll find it quicker and easier to progress.
Teaching children to code is easy – especially if you make it creative and interactive. At CodigHero our team of mentors can help your child develop vital coding skills in a safe, encouraging, and nurturing environment.
Can a 7-year-old do coding?
Yes, a 7-year-old kid can do coding. For a kid of this age visual programming languages such as Scratch, Alice, and Twine are very good platforms to start with.
Which language is best for kids?
How do kids start coding?
Kids can start learning to code using block-based programming languages such as Scratch and Blockly. These languages do not require typing. Instead, these programming languages use drag and drop approach, where the kids drag and drop the code blocks to create applications.
Programming is a useful skill for virtually anyone. It teaches you to think about how a process works. It teaches you to think about the steps that are needed to make a process happen and how to solve problems.
It’s important to remember that every child is different. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to teaching coding to kids. Each language will have its benefits and drawbacks. The important thing is that kids learn the concepts behind the programming, such as the logic behind writing code, how to use constructs, and tricks of the trade.
In conclusion, these were the 10 best coding languages for kids in 2023. Kids who learn to code will have a leg up in the future job market and will be able to navigate an increasingly technological world. Coding is a fun, creative activity that can teach kids problem-solving and critical thinking skills. If you want your child to be ahead of the curve, consider teaching them one of these best programming languages for kids.
- Scratch – Best Tool For Kids To Learn Coding
- Learning Geometry With Scratch – Basic 2D Shapes
- Learn To Create Line Patterns in Scratch Using 2D Shapes
- 5 Interesting Games in Python That Kids Can Make
- Learn Math With Python
- Cool Apps That Kids Can Make
- Best Mobile App Development Tools for Kids