11 apps for coding: From beginners to masters

2. Codea, iPad, $9.99

Codea lets users create games and simulations—or just about any visual idea conceived. Turn thoughts into interactive creations that make use of iPad features like Multi-Touch and the accelerometer. Codea is also designed to let users touch their code. Want to change a number? Just tap and drag it. How about a color or an image? Tapping will bring up visual editors that let users choose exactly what they want. Codea is built on the Lua programming language: A simple, elegant language that doesn’t rely too much on symbols.

3. Cargo-bot, iPad, Free

A game that allows kids to learn the basics of programming, Cargo-bot is the first game programmed entirely on iPad using Codea. A puzzle game where users teach a robot how to move crates, this app provides  high-quality retina graphic, and recordable solutions users can share on YouTube.

4. Cato’s Hike: A Programming and Logic Odyssey, iPhone/iPad/iPod, $4.99 [Lite version is Free]

This coding app, designed for children, centers around Cato—a little boy who goes through a portal to another world. This world, unlike his own, doesn’t follow the same rules and Cato needs to write a program for himself to overcome all obstacles. Features include: A simple programming interface using cards with pictures; a visual manual to help guide parents; 60 levels and 12 tutorials; puzzles ranging from easy to hard to teach different programming concepts without trying to force them; and much more.

5. Daisy the Dinosaur, iPad, Free

Learn the basics of computer programming in this coding app that has an easy drag-and-drop interface that kids of all ages can use to animate Daisy to dance across the screen. Kids will intuitively grasp the basics of objects, sequencing, loops and events by solving this app’s challenges. After playing Daisy, kids can choose to download a kit to program their own computer game.

6. Hakitzu Elite & Robot Hackers, iPhone/iPad/iPod, Android, Free

Hakitzu Elite helps students learn the basics of JavaScript. No previous coding knowledge is required as the game—a multiplayer robot combat games—takes users from beginner, to coder, to hacker in both the single player mode and on the battlefield. The more students code by hand, the more points they receive to unlock ultimate weapons for a “battle royale” in the gaming arena. New in-game leaderboards rank users against their friends, taking rivalry to a new level. As seen on Mashable, Gamezebo, The Guardian, VentureBeat, WIRED and more.

7. Hopscotch, iPad, Free

Hopscotch teaches kids to code using simple, intuitive building blocks. Kids can create games, animations and other programs in this colorful, interactive environment. Students can program characters to move, draw and collide with each other, and use shaking, tilting, or even shouting at the iPad to control them. Hopscotch was inspired by MIT’s Scratch. 2013 Parents’ Choice Gold Award winner, 2014 Children’s Technology Review: Best Educational Technology, and Featured by Apple in Education and Best for 9-12.

8. Kodable, iPad, $6.99 [non-pro version is Free]

Kodable is a game offering a kid-friendly introduction to programming concepts and problem solving. For kids ages 5 and up, and tools for adults as well. Kodable Pro provides access to all current and future Kodable content, including the Kodable Curriculum, as well as all features available as in-app purchases in the free version of Kodable. Beautifully designed with young children in mind, Kodable Pro comes with 3 worlds and 90 levels of programmable fun.

(Next page: Apps 9-11; Bonus resources)

Meris Stansbury

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