8 Best Programming Games for Kids

If you are looking for programming games for kids, the internet offers many free online programming games for children. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best free online games that can teach programming to kids and the young at heart.

4 Tips on Playing Online Programming Games

Before we look at the actual games, here are a few tips on accessing and playing these games:

1. Try a Desktop or Laptop

Most of these games will play the best on a desktop computer or laptop. Some of them might work just fine on tablets such as an iPad, but it’s not a given.

Sometimes the games will use browser plug-in software that doesn’t work so well on smartphones and tablets – most specifically, Flash. While Flash is dying out on the web, some games might still use these types of plugins, so if it doesn’t work on your device, move on to the next one.

2. Make Sure Your Browser Is Up-to-Date

An up-to-date browser is less likely to hang or cause issues with online games.

3. Turn Off Ad Blockers

Ad blockers might interfere with the game software, so it’s best to turn them off.

Most educational programming games for kids on the web are mercifully free of ads, so you don’t usually need an ad blocker.

4. Close Other Browser Tabs

For the best experience, close the other open tabs in your web browser. Online games can eat up your computer memory, and of course, open tabs that you aren’t using will use memory as well. For the best performance, just run the one window with the game while playing.

Strategic Thinking, Typed Code, or Graphical Programming?

Some online games will focus more on teaching kids how to think like a computer programmer. These games will teach programming logic such as sequencing and loops. Other online programs will use a graphical programming interface, such as drag-and-drop blocks, to teach kids the basics of coding.

The most advanced games will involve typed code, which is the text of the programming language. Typed code is best for advanced younger kids, teens, and young adults (or adult adults!)

8 Fun and Free Programming Games for Kids

Sure, you can find some great free programming apps for kids that work on smartphones and tablets. But they take up space and some can cost money. So why not try these free coding games right from your web browser?

1. Code Camp World

Sign up today and get two free lesson plans for your child to complete at home or at school! Head to codecampworld.com to get your free eLearning content.

2. RoboZZle

Calls itself a “social puzzle game.” You solve puzzles by “programming” a robot to go in various directions. You can also create subroutines. The full free online game requires the installation of Silverlight on your browser, but you can also use a “light” version that runs on JavaScript.

Registered users who have completed 40 solved puzzles can create and submit their own puzzles for other players to try. Advanced children and older kids, as well as adults, can enjoy this game.

3. Scratch

Developed by MIT, is more than just a game. It is a graphical programming environment where kids can create games and animations using drag-and-drop programming events.

While Scratch may seem a little intimidating at first, once you learn the basics of the system, it is fun and easy to use. The website includes an online community of Scratch developers who share their games and creations online, so you can also play lots of free games at the site.

4. CodeCombat

is an amazing, graphically rich programming game that teaches typed code. Students have their choice of coding with Python, JavaScript, CoffeeScript (an experimental “nicer” JavaScript syntax), or Lua. The game looks and feels like a fantasy role-playing game, but you type in code to get the character to do what it needs to do. Ample tutorials are included to help prompt the proper code syntax.

A free online version of the game is available at the website that can be played anonymously without logging in.

5. CodinGame

was not actually developed for children, but for adult computer programmers. The website offers profiles for professional programmers to seek employment from companies as well as contests. However, that doesn’t mean that a kid can’t “play” here. (You have to be over 18 to participate in the contests, however.)

Advanced kids and teens who enjoy working with typed code can have a blast at CodinGame. Their code can be used to direct outcomes in online games such as spaceship battles. A variety of programming languages is supported, including JavaScript, Lua, PHP, Python, Ruby, and Swift.

6. Blockly: Maze

is based on Google’s Blockly, which is a graphical drag-and-drop programming interface. This short little game is a great introduction to Blockly for younger kids, who can then graduate to Blockly Games (see next entry).

7. Blockly Games

is a free Google project that includes a series of seven games designed to teach programming to kids. Games include Puzzle, which is an introduction to Blockly, Bird, which teaches conditionals, and Turtle, which introduces the player to loops.

8. Tynker Coding for Kids

Coding games include Barbie Pet Vet, Candy Quest, Mod Minecraft, and Code Monsters.

Tynker starts kids off with a graphical programming interface (like Blockly) and then progresses to JavaScript and Python.

Your Child Can Learn to Code with Programming Games for Kids

To compete in the future job market, your kids will need coding skills. With just a web browser and a computer, your kids can start to learn programming the fun and easy way. By the time your kids graduate from high school, they may just be ready to start their own multimillion-dollar software company and become the next Bill Gates. Get them started early with an online coding game for kids today!

Your Ultimate school holidays activity list

1. Get creative with Minions

What is it?

Kids go bananas for Minions (pun intended) and these school holidays they can express their fandom making a Minions movie using stop-motion animation techniques. Over 2 days, kids create their own Minions clay characters and design their own film set. The magic begins when they see their characters come to life by taking multiple images of objects and stitching them together to look like they’re moving! - It’s incredibly fun!

Why go?

‍If they watch their favourite animated movies on repeat, they’ll love creating Minions clay figurines and developing their own story, taking lots of still frames and stitching them together to create their very first movie!  

Ages: 5-7

2. Become a DJ

What is it?

Children will take their first steps into the exciting world of mixing music to create their own DJ set.  

Why go?

Kids will love mixing their favourite pop tunes using beat matching and transitions on real DJ decks. Plus, they will design their own DJ brand, develop branded merch, and even perform a DJ set to their friends!

Ages: 8-13

3. Pilot a drone

What is it?

Kids learn to pilot a drone using coding to design a flight path and watch in wonder as the drone takes flight!

Why go?

If your kid shows an interest in drones, they can learn more than just the basics of flying. Kids get a taste of cutting-edge technology and learn about coding, problem-solving, engineering, design, and more. They’ll learn about drone tech and safety, movie making, and discover how drones have a positive social impact when used to fight bushfires, rescue koalas, spot sharks on the coast and loads more!

Ages: 9-13

4. Become a YouTuber

What is it?

While they may not end up with YouTube stardom, we’re sure kids will have a new lens on screen time. They will be equipped with the skills to start producing and directing their own ideas instead of simply watching other people's! Plus, they’ll gain confidence ‘performing’ in front of audiences and on set and importantly, learn about staying safe online.

Why go?

Taking a YouTube fixation and turning it into something incredibly productive where kids will learn planning, storytelling, filming and video editing to become the star in their very own YouTube-style videos.

Ages: 8-13

5. Produce a LEGO movie

What is it?

Turn hours of playing with LEGO characters into an even more creative pursuit, by teaching kids to create their own LEGO Movie.

Why go?

They can use their favourite LEGO characters and sets, come up with a fun storyline and use stop-motion techniques to produce a short animation film. It will transform the way they play at home and offer endless hours of creativity for the rest of the holidays.

Ages: 7-12

6. Code a game

What is it?

Kids can design their own arcade-style video games (like Super Mario Bros), jam-packed with cool characters like zombies and unicorns, and awesome gaming features such as invisibility cloaks and shrinking potions. They’ll learn drag and drop code and logic to connect all the design elements together and bring their games to life!

Why go?

Kids are spending countless hours on Roblox and Minecraft these days. Get them to spark their creative side instead, by producing their own original games, using a combination of creative level design, storytelling and problem-solving to bring their creations to life. It’s so much fun, they won’t realise they are actually learning some very important coding and tech skills for their future.

Ages: 7-12

7. Develop a Website

What is it?

For kids with some proficiency in coding, they’ll create their own website from scratch about an animal, movie, sporting team or their favourite topic.  

Why go?

With 1.93 billion websites on the world wide web, developers are in higher demand than ever before. It’s a great head start to gain fundamental web building skills and your kids will have so much fun in the process.

Ages: 8-13

Fun School Holiday Activities in Australia for Kids 5-13

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