Hour of Code Tools for Young Kids

The Hour of Code is coming soon: December 8-12, 2014. Many resources exist for the K-12 set (if you’re looking for a place to start, try code.org), but my preschool teachers want to participate too. So I’m rounding up some tools that we are considering for our youngest students. At this time, we have not actually used any of these tools, but I thought I’d share this list in case it is helpful to others. I will provide an update about what we decide to purchase, and how it goes.


Bee-Bot

  • From their website: “Bee-Bot is an exciting new robot designed for use by young children. This colorful, easy-to-operate, and friendly little robot is a perfect tool for teaching sequencing, estimation, problem-solving, and just having fun!”
  • programs (up to 40 commands) are entered by pushing directional buttons, so no reading/writing required
  • can be paired with mats and curriculum for further coding practice
  • preschool-3rd Grade
  • To buy:

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Scratch Jr.

  • great introduction to Scratch, if you’re planning to use that later
  • picture-based commands that connect together like puzzle pieces
  • very open, in that kids can program characters to do whatever they want; if more direction is needed, try some of these lesson ideas
  • ages 5-7 (but I think could be used younger)
  • Free iOS app


Lightbot Jr. App

  • for iOS, Android, also Flash-based version here
  • puzzle-based coding app
  • has some reading, but looks like preschoolers could still figure it out
  • ages 4-8
  • also Lightbot app for ages 9+
  • To buy

Coming soon…
Two more tools that I think sound amazing, but are not available quite yet. These won’t work for the Hour of Code this year, but keep them in mind for the future!

DashDot
Dash and Dot Robots

  • from Wonder Workshop (formerly Play-i)
  • ages 5 and up
  • can be programmed with their apps or with Blockly; older kids can write their own apps
  • To buy
    • Dash is $169
    • Dash & Dot pack is $228


Primo

  • ages 3 to 7
  • uses tangible shapes and boards
  • seems like it will be a great first step in helping kids develop logical programming skills
  • play set is $282, expected to be available in Winter 2015
  • pre-order here

What coding tools and apps do you use with your youngest kids? This list of 4 Coding Apps for Kindergarten and Elementary School may also be helpful.