Your kids may be interested in picking up coding during the school holidays, but what if they’re not eager to join an organised class? Or perhaps, like many parents this year, you’re hoping to keep costs down? The good news is, there are plenty of options for kids to learn programming from home, and at their own pace!
Below, we’ve rounded up 10 free or affordable online programming courses for kids and teens. These may be just what your kids need to fire up their programming passions!
Age: Preschoolers to teens
This beginner’s coding resource is completely free, thanks to support from tech giants such as Microsoft and Google! The selection is wide, and suitable for a range of ages, so whether you have a preschooler or an older student at home, there should be something of interest. You can refer to their “learn at home” page for an overview of what’s available, or see if there are one-hour classes on their “Hour of Code” page that might pique your child’s interest.
Cost: S$17.98 (promotional price, price may vary with promotional offers)
Duration: 7.5 hours, 38 lectures
This course is for absolute beginners who’re interested in learning how to programme in Scratch, a block-based visual programming language (developed by MIT) that is popular with budding youth programmers. In this course, kids will be taught to create popular games such as Flappy Bird and Pac-Man. Through the process of game creation, they will learn programming basics and begin to make sense of code.
Udemy: Real-World Programming For Kids With Python
Age: 8 to 14
Cost: $17.98 (promotional price, price may vary with promotional offers)
Duration: 6 hours, 26 lectures
In this course, a father and two sons take you on a fun-filled adventure into the exciting world of programming with Python. Through the examples and exercises, kids will learn the fundamentals of programming, and hopefully spark a lifelong interest in coding! Note that for younger kids, parents may need to assist with installing the necessary software or completing the coding exercises.
Age: 8 and up (younger kids can also take this course if parents are assisting)
Cost: S$21.98 (promotional price, price may vary with promotional offers)
Duration: 7hrs 43 mins, 112 lectures
Created by a computer science educator with decades of experience, this Python course is designed to be easily understood by beginners, with example codes that the creator has used in his own teaching journey. Students will learn to master problem-solving skills in Python with colourful and fun examples, and they will pick up the basics of coding, from “variables” to “loops” and “functions.” They will also learn to build playable games, and create beautiful graphics.
This is a barebones HTML course that is more suited to kids who enjoy reading — lessons are presented in a series of web pages, and kids will learn how to create a page that includes text with basic formatting, links, and images, with an introduction to HTML styles. Once they’ve finished this course, they can move on to more advanced lessons and projects elsewhere!
Compared to other websites, freeCodeCamp is no-frills in appearance, and it may take some getting used to. But those in the know have given it the thumbs up for its content and learning experience. You can see an overview of what’s covered (thousands of hours of online tutorials), and let your teen begin with the basic HTML tutorials — if it works for your teen, he or she may decide to complete all of the web design tutorials for certification!
This is a beginners’ Python course that college students and adults have used, and it’s suitable for teens who want a free and accessible course with comprehensive coverage. There are no videos, just text instructions, so there’s a lot of reading involved. The advantage of this course is that the language is straightforward and clear, with many examples given to aid understanding.
Cost: Free, with the option to subscribe for premium benefits
Brilliant is an educational service that focuses on using quizzes to teach STEM skills. Teens and older kids can try the site for free to see if this mode of learning suits them. They can begin with the course in computer science foundations, which is ideal for students who want to strengthen their knowledge of core computer science concepts. They can also choose the applied computer science courses, which are for students interested in mastering the key ideas of modern technologies, from machine learning and cryptocurrency to quantum computing.