10 Easiest Coding Languages For Kids: A Parent's Guide

Hey there, tech explorers! Imagine a world where kids not only play games but create them, too. That's entirely possible with the magic of coding. In this guide, we're diving into the best coding languages for kids.

From the best coding games for kids that teach, to programming languages languages that spark creativity, we've got you covered.

Why should kids learn computer programming?

Coding isn't just about computers; it's about boosting brainpower! When kids code, they're actually supercharging their problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and of course, creativity. Plus, coding makes them ready to rock in today's digital universe.

Let's not forget immediately applicable benefits, either.

According to a survey of over 1,000 parents, a significant 89% of respondents have seen positive outcomes from their kids learning to code.

When it comes to school, specifically, parents and teachers have observed improvements in overall academic performance, mathematics, and language.

benefits of learning to code for kids - survey results

Image source: https://www.tynker.com/

And it's not just the technical skills; soft skills also got a boost! The survey states that learning to code also improved the kids' teamwork, organization, and time management skills.

If you'd like your children to reap similar benefits, coding games for kids may be an easy intro to basic programming concepts. And if you supplement coding with STEM toys, well, your kid might be on their way to becoming a little Einstein.

What are the criteria for the best coding programs for kids?

With so many popular programming languages out there, it can be challenging to find the best one for young kids in early elementary school. Also, pre-teens can sometimes be disinterested in general, so you don't want to waste their enthusiasm on the wrong language.

Here are some of the criteria that make a programming language enjoyable for kids. The language should be:

  • Simple: The syntax and rules of the language should be clear and easy to follow

  • Visual: The language should provide immediate feedback and results that kids can see and interact with

  • Fun: The language should allow kids to problem solve, create games, animations, or write interactive stories

  • Educational: The language should teach kids basic coding skills and programming concepts that they can apply to other programming languages

  • Captivating: The language should engage kids and keep them motivated with interactive challenges and creative projects

  • Supportive: The best coding websites have an online community, detailed video tutorials, coding lessons, resources, or programs that can help kids learn and improve

How to know if a coding language is suitable for kids?

One way to know if a programming language is suitable for kids is to look at the type of programming it uses. There are two main types of programming: block-based programming and text-based programming.

Block-based programming is like building with virtual blocks. These colorful blocks stand for commands, variables, loops, functions, etc. You can see what it looks like in our own coding interface, CircuitBlocks.

CircuitBlocks - easiest way for kids to write code

This style is beginner-friendly because it eliminates the need to type code, remember syntax, or debug errors. That's why blocks are the easiest way to learn coding skills.

On the other hand, text-based programming is a type of programming that uses text to write code. Here's what the code blocks from above look like in actual code.

CircuitBlocks code editor for kids

Text-based programming gives you more control and flexibility, but it also requires more attention to detail, accuracy, and logic.

Sure, it can be a bit trickier for beginners, but here's the silver lining: once your kid conquers text-based coding, they'll be ready to tackle more advanced coding languages like a champ.

So, how can you actually know if a language is suitable for your kid?

If they're just starting out, then you should go with a block-based programming language. It's like building with virtual LEGO—easy, engaging, and tons of fun.

But if they're a bit older or already have some coding experience, text-based programming languages are the way to go. Think of it as moving from coloring inside the lines to painting their own masterpiece—expressive, adaptable, and a bit more of a puzzle.

Find the right programming language for kids in 2023

Now that you know what makes good programming languages for kids, let's take a look at some of the best options available in 2023.

We've selected 10 coding languages that meet the criteria above and are suitable for different ages and levels. You'll also see examples of popular coding games for kids, best coding websites, and programs that use these languages to teach kids coding skills in a fun and interactive way.

And yes, we know most parents are trying to reduce their kids' screen time. Still, screens can be beneficial if you use them well, so let's see what delightful adventures await.

Here we go!

#1 Scratch

Scratch is a block-based programming language that allows kids to create their own interactive stories, games, and animations. Developed by MIT, this visual programming language has a huge online community where kids can share their projects and learn from others.

Scratch - one of the easiest block code editors for kids

Image source: https://scratch.mit.edu/

It's one of the most popular and easy-to-use coding languages for kids. You can think of coding in Scratch as playing coding games for kids.

Pros and cons

Scratch pros

  • Super simple: No typing or syntax errors here. Scratch's friendly interface makes programming games as easy as stacking blocks.

  • Visual learning: Kids learn about coding concepts like loops, variables, and events in a colorful, visual way.

  • Unleash creativity: Design characters, backgrounds, sounds—you name it! Scratch is an excellent choice if you're trying to encourage your little one's creativity with something other than crayons.

  • Numerous resources: Need help? Scratch has got your back with loads of tutorials online.

Scratch cons

  • Some limits: Scratch might not do every trick in the coding book. It's not as flexible as text-based languages.

  • Not everywhere: It's not compatible with all devices, like mobiles or tablets. That's a factor to consider if your kid wants to make mobile apps.

  • Not a challenge for everyone: While it's perfect for newbies, those looking for bigger coding challenges might find it a bit too easy.

#2 Blockly

Another block-based language on our list, Blockly, lets you create code and problem-solve by snapping together blocks.

Blockly - easiest coding language for kids in 2023

 Image source: https://developers.google.com/blockly

Blockly is made by Google and can export blocks to many programming languages, such as JavaScript, Python, PHP, Lua, and Dart. So, it's great for kids who want to learn the basics of coding and then transition to text-based programming.

Pros and cons

Blockly pros

  • Highly customizable: Its customizable interface lets you choose different blocks and colors for different coding concepts.

  • Logic made fun: Blockly teaches you the smart thinking behind coding without stressing over mistakes.

  • Switch it up: It allows you to switch between blocks and text easily and see how your code looks in different programming languages.

  • Lots of help: Blockly has a lot of resources and examples online to help you learn and create.

Blockly cons

  • Not as artsy: While it's certainly fun, Blockly might not let you paint as creatively as text-based languages do.

  • Less social: Although there is an official Blockly community, it's not as active as some others are.

  • Not for every kid: It may not be suitable for young learners or beginners who need more guidance and feedback to learn computer science.

#3 Snap!

If you're looking for more options for kids to make their own interactive games with programming blocks, Snap! might be the right choice.

Snap! - Easiest block coding language for kids

 Image source: https://snap.berkeley.edu/

This block-based coding language is developed by UC Berkeley and is based on Scratch, but it also adds some advanced features like lists, procedures, and continuations.

Pros and cons

Snap! pros

  • Customization at play: Snap! has a fun and flexible interface that lets you customize your blocks and create your own ones.

  • Elevated learning: Besides the basics, Snap! introduces concepts like recursion and higher-order functions through a visual learning approach.

  • Community engagement: It allows kids to explore, collaborate, and share with the community.

  • Learning resources: Abundant resources and tutorials ensure your child has access to ample guidance and inspiration.

Snap! cons

  • Learning curve: Not as easy and intuitive as Scratch or Blockly. Still, there's nothing like a healthy challenge to improve your child's focus and concentration.

  • Specialization required: Snap! is not as powerful and versatile as text-based programming languages for complex or large-scale projects.

  • Device compatibility: It doesn't work on some devices or platforms, such as mobile phones or tablets.

#4 Python

Now, we're moving from basic concepts to our first text-based programming language on the list.

Meet Python, one of the most popular programming languages, that's especially helpful for data science, web development, and automation.

Python - one of the easiest coding languages for kids to learn

 Image source: https://www.python.org/

This powerful programming language wasn't originally designed for children; you won't find it on lists with kids coding languages. However, its simplicity makes it helpful to future engineers who want to learn coding skills. Some even call it the easiest code language!

Pros and cons

Python pros

  • A code reader's dream: The clear and simple syntax makes reading and writing code easy.

  • A world of modules: A large and rich library of modules and packages offers many functionalities and features.

  • A large community: An active community ensures there's always help and resources at your child's fingertips.

Python cons

  • Speed check: Python is not as fast as some other languages, such as C or Java.

  • Compatibility issues: There are some issues with compatibility and consistency between different versions and implementations.

  • Not for all jobs: If an app requires high-performance graphics, Python might not be the top choice.

#5 The Lua programming language

Lua is a text-based programming language that is lightweight, high-level, and multi-paradigm.

In other words, Lua is a language that doesn't take up much space, that can do many things with less code, and that can use different styles or methods of programming.

You can even use the language to play coding games for kids, such as Infon Battle Arena.

 Infon - programming game for kids to learn coding

 Image source: http://infon.dividuum.de/

So, if your kid is curious about app development or creating fun games and web apps, Lua is here to light up their coding journey.

Pros and cons

Lua pros

  • An elegant language: Lua boasts simple and elegant syntax, making it easy to gain programming skills.

  • Small but mighty: It has a small and portable interpreter that can run on any system that has an ANSI C compiler.

  • Coding freedom: Lua plays nice with different programming styles: procedural, object-oriented, functional, and more.

Lua cons

  • Resource limitations: Lua comes with a limited standard library that doesn't provide many functionalities and features.

  • Not for every task: Its capabilities may not be enough for high-performance tasks, as users sometimes complain about the language being slow.

#6 Swift

One of the top programming languages, Apple's Swift, is a go-to for a wide range of users—from coding experts to absolute beginners.

What makes this text-based language so precious for people new to computer science is Swift Playgrounds, an app designed to build games and apps.

Swift Playgrounds - coding game for kids

 Image source: https://www.apple.com/swift/playgrounds/

As the app itself states, it can help you

"Learn serious code. In a seriously fun way."

In case your little one is an iOS or iPadOS enthusiast, then Swift is the best programming language to choose.

Swift - coding language easy-to-learn for kids

 Image source: https://www.apple.com/swift/playgrounds/

Pros and cons

Swift pros

  • Modern approach: Swift is a fresh and modern language that's the real deal for creating apps. There's nothing wrong with coding games for kids; but Swift is also used in apps that shape our real world.

  • Polished charm: Swift Playgrounds comes with a sleek and beautiful interface, making programming like playing interactive games. But here's the kicker: you can create full-blown applications, not just games for kids.

  • Built-in learning: Swift has your back with built-in tutorials and Apple's comprehensive curriculum.

Swift cons

  • No Windows for you: Swift sticks close to Apple's playground, so it's all about the Apple platforms.

  • Potentially complex: As you dive deeper, Swift can get a bit more complex compared to some other languages.

  • iOS bubble: While Swift opens doors to iOS development, the knowledge your kid gains won't be applicable beyond that specific realm.

#7 Java

Despite being here since 1995, Java is still considered to be one of the best programming languages. Java is a good text-based programming language for kids who want to learn a powerful and reliable language for coding apps, making their own games, coding websites, and more.

Also, did you know that the original version of Minecraft was written in Java?

Minecraft - game for kids programmed in Java coding language

 Image source: Minecraft

Now, your kid may not have enough programming logic or coding experience to create another Minecraft just yet.

However, with so many game modes out there, there's no reason why they couldn't use their Java knowledge to build simpler programs or games, like Tic Tac Toe.

 Tic Tac Toe game built in Java programming language for kids

 Image source: https://www.infoq.com/

Pros and cons

Java pros

  • Simple syntax: Simple syntax makes Java easy to use.

  • General-purpose language: It's extremely versatile and it works well for a wide variety of applications.

  • Community support: Java's community, help, and resources are a click away.

Java cons

  • Wordiness alert: At times, Java can get a bit wordy and complex, requiring more lines of code for simple tasks.

  • Performance concerns: It has some issues with memory management and performance optimization.

#8 C++

C++, an improved version of C, is a versatile text-based language that's been shaping the digital world for decades. From Fortnite to YouTube, C++ is in the background of famous apps and best coding websites that your kid has probably used before.

C++ - coding language that's easy to learn for kids

Image source: https://junilearning.com/

Whether your little one wants to create a digital board game, dive into serious app-building, or just learn coding to increase their programming skills, C++ is an excellent choice due to its versatility.

Pros and cons

C++ pros

  • Legendary language: C++ is a legend in the programming world, known for its versatility and power in creating everything from coding games for kids to entire operating systems.

  • Behind the scenes: C++ allows direct interaction with computer components like memory, so knowing C++ lets you see how the computer works under the hood.

  • Smooth performance: It is very fast and efficient, and it gives you full control over your system resources and memory.

C++ cons

  • Elbow grease: Unlike modern languages that handle certain tasks automatically, in C++, you have to do everything manually, which demands extra effort and attention.

  • Steep learning curve: C++ may require a bit more dedication to master.

  • Platform choices: The code you craft in C++ might need adjustments for different platforms because it isn't always as platform-independent as some other languages.

#9 Ruby

Ruby is a text-based programming language that's equally simple and productive. And that's not just something that experienced coders say—Ruby's creators also think beginners can grasp basics in under 30 minutes.

Ruby - easy coding language for kids to master

 Image source: https://try.ruby-lang.org/

If your aspiring coder is not yet willing to commit to one language or a coding game, the good news is that Ruby lets you try out the editor right in your browser. Here's what that looks like.

Ruby - one of the easiest coding languages for kids

 Image source: https://try.ruby-lang.org/

You shouldn't let the simplicity of its syntax fool you, though.

Ruby is a powerful tool, especially for coding websites and APIs, as well as for game development.

Pros and cons

Ruby pros

  • Elegant syntax: If you're new to coding, Ruby is like a warm welcome into the world of programming languages because it's natural to read and write code.

  • High flexibility: It's very flexible and dynamic, and it lets you modify or extend your code at runtime.

  • Libraries galore: You can enrich your software with tons of community-made libraries, called "gems". Get it? 💎😄

Ruby cons

  • Performance time: Ruby can get slow and inefficient when running complex programs.

  • Unexpected quirks: Some methods or operators may not work the same way on different types of objects, meaning that Ruby can have some surprises in its behavior.

  • Fading limelight: In recent times, Ruby's popularity has seen a gentle decline compared to its heyday.

#10 Alice

Alice is one of the most popular coding games—or more precisely, environments—where kids play with code blocks and create animations, narratives, or program simple games for kids in 3D.

Alice - popular coding game for kids

 Image source: http://www.alice.org/featured-projects/interactive-narrative-example-evergarden/

Unlike numerous puzzle-oriented coding apps, Alice sparks learning by encouraging creative exploration, and that's why we think it's one of the top coding games.

As you can see in the following image, block-based coding doesn't have to be predictive.

Alice - one of the easiest coding games for kids

 Image source: YouTube

In case you're looking to teach coding theory without complex semantics, Alice is a good option.

Pros and cons

Alice pros

  • Object-oriented: Alice is based on object-oriented concepts, which are important for learning more advanced coding languages later.

  • Intuitive interface: A colorful and intuitive interface removes focus from complex coding syntax and helps you build creativity and problem-solving skills instead.

  • Time saver: A selection of premade characters, scenes, and sounds lets you jump straight into creating animations.

Alice cons

  • Memory vampire: Alice tends to gobble up too much memory, slowing down your computer and creations.

  • Artistic freedom: You can't create your own characters or scenes, which limits your expression.

Coding their own games will help your kids have even more fun while learning

We've now seen that there are many good options when it comes to beginning coding for elementary students. Blocks or text, each coding game and language offers a unique adventure where your young programmer can ignite their imagination and curiosity while practicing their problem-solving skills.

After your kid masters the "Hello, world!" programs, they'll eventually be ready to apply their knowledge to coding websites or coding games for kids. That way, you won't have to worry about them playing video games too much because they'll actually learn coding through a fun, engaging experience.

With time, they'll maybe even want to expand their computer science knowledge to hardware and become electronics enthusiasts or robotics hobbyists!

Boost your kid's coding skills with CircuitMess

Creating coding games for kids can be easier said than done, and we're here to help you start their journey with our innovative STEM kits.

CircuitMess STEM kits teach kids how to code in a fun way

 CircuitMess STEM Box and Wacky Robots subscriptions offer a tangible starting point, ensuring that your child doesn't have to spend precious time wondering where to begin.

All of our products provide a guided and enjoyable path for kids to dive into coding, helping them learn and create with confidence.

And in case you aren't yet sure if your kid prefers blocks or text-based programming, our beginner-friendly coding app called CircuitBlocks is a safe bet. The app lets kids code in either style—it's just like playing a game in two different game modes.

All in all, whether you decide to go with Scratch or CircuitBlocks, the newly acquired knowledge will help your kid grow, create, and build confidence by the day.

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