To an outsider, our world might look like one filled with fairytale magic: horseless carriages, handheld communication devices, and instant access to a world of information whenever we want it. Of course, to those of us living down here, it’s far from magical: it’s science.

But as technology has advanced, education has fallen behind in many ways. The jobs of the future are in large part within the technology sector. In the next few decades, massive amounts of program developers, software engineers, and IT specialists will be needed. And as long as technology sticks around, so will those jobs.

coding for kids

Coding should be made available for kids at an earlier age.
Image: Shutterstock

So we’ll have jobs—great! But there’s a problem: we’re not teaching our kids how to do any of this stuff. Sure, students can go off to college and learn how to code there, but the lack of options at a younger age means that many students won’t ever be exposed to skills like coding until they’re already on another path.

Coding certainly isn’t for everyone, but it’s a great skill to at least understand—and the younger kids are exposed to it, the more intuitive it’s likely to become in later years. If you’re a parent or teacher looking to get kids involved in coding, try one of these great apps to help teach your kids to code:

  1. GameStar Mechanic, $2 per student—This app teaches kids how to design their own video games. How cool is that? Kids can move at their own pace, complete quests, and build game levels—all while learning critical thinking, problem-solving, and coding skills.
  2. Scratch, Free—This coding language is web-based and free to use. The site is complete with teaching guides, communities, resources, and more for instructors. It’s visual-based and easy for both students and teachers (or parents) to learn.
  3. Tynker, Free—Tynker may look similar to Scratch, but it’s much better at actually teaching kids how to code. The site includes lots of tools for teachers to use, and lessons are easy for students to follow.
  4. Move the Turtle, $2.99—To understand how to code, one must first understand the process and procedures. How do you make an object move? Make sound? Effect its environment? Move the Turtle teaches students these basic coding skills using increasingly difficult achievements.

These are just a few of many apps that can help teach your kids how to code, expose youth to programming, and raise the next generation of technologically savvy citizens. What other apps or programs have you heard of or tried for teaching kids and teens how to code? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments section below!