Jenna Inouye | 30 Mar, 2023

10 Best Coding Apps for Kids Aged 4 - 18

Maybe coding for kids feels premature at first glance. However, young minds are ideally suited to digital technology. Think about how a toddler can pick up a smartphone or tablet and easily navigate it, with more ease than most adults!

Kids today grow up acquiring advanced computer skills. Furthermore, with STEM jobs dominating the modern world, schools are emphasizing coding skills for kids. But is there a special coding software for kids you should look out for? Not quite. Learning code is easy with a growing number of coding apps for kids.

Before you Google ”coding for kids iPad,” stick around as we walk you through the best coding apps for kids!

Why is Coding Important For Kids?

Coding has become one of the most sought-after skills in virtually every industry. The practice has a wide range of applications and qualified experts in the field can land several prestigious jobs. For kids, the earlier they start, the more likely they are to become experts in the field.

As a parent, encouraging your children to learn to code from a young age is possibly one of the best things you can do for their future careers. According to the Bureau for Labor Statistics, jobs in computer and information technology are estimated to grow by an impressive 13% this decade. Given our reliance on digital technology, it’s hard to imagine that this trend won’t continue, so this field will represent a range of exciting opportunities for your child.

Plenty of coding tools are available, including free coding apps for kids. But an 8-year-old might learn coding differently from a 24-year-old. That’s where kids coding apps come in — tools help children develop essential skills and practice logical thinking through challenging and stimulating games.

Best Coding Apps for Kids in Elementary School

There are plenty of coding apps out there, but these are some of the best for elementary school-aged children. Your kids will have fun while learning a range of important skills.

1. CodeSpark Academy

CodeSpark Academy is an award-winning app that educates kids about computer programming through a series of interactive activities. It features lovable teacher characters who walk through puzzles and games step-by-step. The app will track your child’s progress and the difficulty level to keep them stimulated through new challenges.

  • Price: Free + In-app purchases of $7.99 to $119.99
  • Platform: iOS & Android
  • Age: 4 to 9 years old

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2. Kodable

Kodable is the perfect coding app for kids that enjoy storytelling. This application encourages cognitive development through an engaging story presented in a captivating and colorful way. It features a family of aliens that land on a mysterious planet. Throughout the game, kids help them explore a maze by using simple commands.

This app teaches the coding language JavaScript along with other logic concepts.

  • Price: Free + In-app purchases of $4.99 to $29.99
  • Platform: iOS & Windows
  • Age: 5-10

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3. Code Karts

This is easily one of the most fun coding apps for elementary students. Code Karts is one of the best programming apps for kids who love milestone tracking and… race cars. As the name suggests, players guide creatively designed race cars around a track with drag-and-drop code. Kids don’t need reading skills to play this game and the difficulty level increases with each milestone achieved. It features a racing mode that allows players to test their coding speed and track performance.

  • Price: Free + In-app purchase of $1.99
  • Platform: iOS & Android
  • Age: 3 to 5 years

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4. Lightbot

Kids will fall in love with coding by helping cute animated robots solve this app’s puzzles. However, don’t be fooled by the adorable graphics — this game is likely the best coding app for kids who like a challenge! It’s ideal if you want something slightly more complex to stimulate your child’s mind and build focus, as this game requires a longer attention span.

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Best Coding Apps for Kids in Middle School

5. Hopscotch

This popular app teaches kids about STEM and arts subjects. Young users can use a range of tools to virtually command and control a plethora of illustrations, designs, and interesting characters. Kids learn key programming concepts and can apply them to their own projects.

  • Price: Free + $7.99/month subscription or $79.99/year subscription
  • Platform: iOS
  • Age: 8-17 years old

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6. Sphero Edu

With Sphero, kids create their own landscape — they command a host of Sphero robots and use drag and drop code blocks to create paths and navigate obstacles. If young users don’t feel like writing code text, they can put their device sideways to enjoy a code-free remote control. Our take? Sphero is one of the most advanced programming software for kids. 

  • Price: Free + $129.99 for the Sphero robot; prices vary for other robots
  • Platform: iOS & Android
  • Age: 5-13 years

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7. Everything Machine

Everything Machine is a great introduction to programming and engineering and lets kids create cool features like voice disguising and stop motion cameras. This means that kids have the power to challenge themselves — the only limit is their imagination.

  • Price: $2.99
  • Platform: iOS
  • Age: 4 years and above

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Best Coding Apps for High School Kids

8. Mimo

Mimo is a fantastic app and one of the best free coding apps for kids. This free app is a great way to sharpen your kid's coding skills and is suitable for all ages. Daily practice with Mimo will teach your child important coding concepts at their own pace. Mimo also compiles and runs your child’s code to give you real-time feedback.

  • Price: Free
  • Platform: iOS & Android
  • Age: 4 years and above

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9. Codea

Codea is an open-ended coding application for teens that allows them to create innovative graphics, attractive visuals, and interactive games using the programming language Lua. With this app, they can write code using simple touch commands and easily incorporate images, characters, and even sounds from the menu.

  • Price: $14.99
  • Platform: iOS
  • Age: 13 years and above

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10. Programming Hub

If your teen is ready to explore the nitty-gritty of coding, this app is for them. They can choose from over 20 different programming languages and solve interesting challenges to make coding more fun and approachable. Everyone, from high schoolers to adults, is sure to gain an interest in coding with the Programming Hub.

  • Price: Free + In-app purchases of $.99 to $74.99
  • Platform: iOS & Android
  • Age: 13 years and above

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How Parents Can Help Kids Learn to Code

You don't need any experience in computer science or programming to get your child interested in coding. The most important thing is to let them learn and develop an interest in coding at their own pace. Apps that are fun to use and give them a sense of achievement will go a long way.

Here are some ways to support your child on their coding journey:

  • Start slowly with age-appropriate apps and let your child set their own pace.
  • Get your kids excited about coding through interactive videos and fun apps.
  • As they get older and their skills develop, move up to more complex languages and concepts.
  • Encourage your child to learn through a combination of coding apps, as well as tutorials and courses.
  • Look into pair programming — this lets young coders partner up, encouraging them to work together and build social and teamwork skills.
  • Reinforce achievements by celebrating small milestones on their coding journey.


Build Mobile Apps Without Coding - The Complete Guide

Key Takeaways

Choosing the best coding apps for kids can be challenging, especially if you don’t have a computer science background. But there’s no need to feel overwhelmed. With a little research and a basic understanding of key concepts and app features, you can support your child in learning coding. 

The most important thing is to let your kid have fun with coding. Let them explore their interests and learn at their own pace. If you feel like putting yourself in your child’s shoes, you can check out some coding apps for adults, too!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can a 10-Year-Old Start Coding?

Ten is the perfect age for kids to start learning code. At this age, not only are they highly curious, but many are also already familiar with basic computing and programming concepts. Even with limited knowledge, 10-year-olds have the cognitive development necessary to understand complex ideas and apply them in different contexts.

2. Can a Seven-Year-Old Learn Python?

It’s important to stick to age-appropriate languages and concepts when your child is learning to code. Python is an advanced computing language better suited to children aged 12 and above. If your child is younger than this, you’re better off introducing them to block-based programming languages like scratch and Blocky.

3. What Age Can Children Start Coding?

The right age to start learning coding and programming will vary from child to child. Some of the apps on this list are suitable for kids as young as four or even three. However, generally speaking, most kids can learn to code at around five or six years old.

The key is to gradually introduce each coding aspect to keep them from becoming overwhelmed. At this age, they can start to learn the mechanics of coding, especially if it is in a fun setting. Just be sure to choose an age-appropriate app — always check the recommended age range.

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By Jenna Inouye

Jenna Inouye currently works at Google and has been a full-stack developer for two decades, specializing in web application design and development. She is a tech expert with a B.S. in Information & Computer Science and MCITP certification. For the last eight years, she has worked as a news and feature writer focusing on technology and finance, with bylines in Udemy, SVG, The Gamer, Productivity Spot, and Spreadsheet Point.

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