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 Master
The free Code Master online game is based off the Code Master Programming Logic Game. The online version has a beginner and advanced levels. You guide an explorer (or “Avatar”) to collect crystals while traveling to an exotic temple. The controls are simple, but the game play can be challenging, as you have to map out how to get from point A to point B using various directional puzzles. The graphics are a bit retro but fun. This would be a good game for younger kids, but can challenge older kids and adults as well.
Developed by MIT, Scratch 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.
6. Blockly: Maze
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
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
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!