A selection of apps that help children develop problem-solving and critical analysis skills
Coding is a fast-growing activity for children only for those who dream of being a big programmer. To persuade them to start there are a number of apps that teach how to build games and other activities yourself using a visual interface or word strings.
Lightbot Jr 4+ Coding Puzzle (4+ years)
It is presented to children in the form of a cute robot, along with blocks arranged on multiple levels and a handful of drag-and-drop programming icons. The main commands of Lightbot Jr. – available for payment for Android, iPhone / iPad, Kindle – are very simple: move, turn, turn on the light, and jump. And once these commands are placed in succession, LightBot Jr moves to illuminate the designated tiles. The player must light up the right tiles in order to move to the next level.
By achieving the programming objectives, the children will be able to unlock new levels and thus learn more advanced concepts. also available for older children, Lightbot Programming Puzzles, ages 9 and up.
The Foos (5+ years)
This year's winner of the Parents Choice Gold Award, you can find this app for free on the App Store. The wordless interface allows everyone to play anywhere. Children learn to plan through a series of fun adventures.
They will deal with a donut thief, save puppies lost in space and serve gourmet meals, learning the basics of computing. Inside The Foos you will find over forty puzzle levels and three distinct play areas to create animated stories, allowing children to learn logic, sequence and algorithmic thinking.
ScratchJr (5-7 years)
If you want to choose an app to start with,Hopscotch – English name for the game of the bell – the ideal app. With simple tools to use, you can quickly turn yourself or your child into agile programmers. Currently available for iOS only, you can download it for free.
You don't need to type code or syntax to memorize, just blocks of code to move with your fingers to be able to play immediately with the one you created. Everyone can play with the games created, just publish your game in the Hopscotch community. This app gives you the chance to explore the fundamentals of computing, such as abstraction, variables, conditionals, loops, and more. You can access tons of free resources like video tutorials, especially useful for parents and teachers.
Daisy the Dinosaur (7+ years)
A dinosaur is never able to say no, that it is carnivorous or herbivorous does not matter. Daisy the Dinosaur – free for iOS and always developed by Hopscotch Technologies – a fun app that introduces children of all ages to visual programming. Across the drag and drop you can animate Daisy and make her dance inside the screen.
Children will intuitively understand the basics of objects, sequences, loops and events in trying to solve the challenges of this app. After playing with Daisy, children can choose to download a kit to be able to program their own video game. Daisy the Dinosaur a good option if you want something simple and clear, a practical and guided guide to the first programming lesson.
Kodable (5+ years)
a program created specifically to teach elementary coding from which an app for iPad was derived. The program was created with teachers in mind, to allow them to teach students the basics of programming in just 20 minutes a week.
With the development of the app, instead, we wanted to address the students directly. If your child likes puzzles or logic quizzes you can start with the free version. If it is conquered and wants to go ahead in learning how to program, then you can switch to the full version of the app, unlocking it for ? 6.99. an Android version was also announced that will be released soon.
Tynker (free with app purchases) another example of an app that uses a visual programming method capable of creating games by providing very powerful tools. available for both Android and iOS. Intuitive app, enough to be used by kids alone.
Tynker also has bigger ambitions: it provides, in fact, a separate edition, Tynker for Schools, created specifically for schools – for a fee – that use it to teach programming strategies to their students. Furthermore, with the connected devices supported, it is possible to control Sphero robots, Parrot drones and Philips lights.
Move the Turtle (9-11 years)
Move the Turtle – an app designed for iPhones and iPads available on the App Store for a fee – a great choice to introduce programming concepts in a more linear way than previous apps. This app adapts to a learning methodology along the way, "where the child will give typical turtle programming instructions with a series of challenges. Like most iOS games, you move through a variety of levels, raising the difficulty as you go along.
This means introducing more programming commands at each level, so after a while you will have a good understanding of how to give commands to the turtle by dragging the various tasks into position.
Cargo-Bot (10+ years)
Cargo-Bot (free for iOS) another option to propose notions of programming in the form of a game. The game, in fact, consists in controlling a robotic arm and commanding it to move boxes into predetermined areas. Once you learn how it works, you will find plenty of logical challenges in the most difficult levels.
The advantage that there is no need to go sequentially through the game, if you are ready for a more difficult level, you can get there right away. Cargo-Bot is also a good example of a game created directly with an iPad, it was programmed, in fact, entirely with Codea, a touch-based coding application.
Catos Hike (8+ years)
If you are looking for something more intriguing Catos Hike, one of a kind in logic and programming, could be the one for you. The purpose is to program Cato's movements with cards and colored flags, building quite complex chains of commands as you enter the adventure.
Cato a kid who just like every child loves to go out and play. One fine day Cato was playing outside when a door opens in front of him, a door to another world. Cato enters and discovers that this world, different from his own, does not follow the same rules, and remains blocked until he finally discovers the rules of this universe: writing a program for himself that can overcome all obstacles and learn something new along the street. Catos Hike contains enough challenges to keep everyone engaged, from children to parents. This app designed for iPhone and iPad and for a fee.