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Hour of Code: 5 Activities for Kids

By: Tina Shaffer

This week (December 5-11) is Computer Science Education Week and is an opportunity to help engage students with activities that combine creativity and tech education, feed their imagination, and foster the very skills needed to succeed in the 21st century. According to Code.org, 90 percent of parents in the U.S. want their children to learn computer science, but only 40 percent of schools teach it. Throughout this week, organizations like Code.org are offering a variety of resources (many of which are free!) that allow kids to explore computer science through one hour of computer coding, whether it’s during the school day or at home.

Check out these 5 activities to get your young ones started:

  1. Moana: Wayfinding with Code – Our friends at Disney partnered with Code.org on a free online tutorial that offers an introduction to the basics of computer science, featuring characters from Disney’s animated film, Moana. The tutorial is available in more than 180 countries and 23 languages, including Samoan Polynesian, giving children all over the world the opportunity to learn the basics of coding.
  1. Minecraft – This coding tutorial enables beginner coders to create and share their own simple “Minecraft” game and is designed to empower anyone to begin learning the problem-solving and critical thinking skills required in today’s tech-fueled world.
  2. Scratch – Designed by MIT Students, Scratch is an easy-to-use program that lets kids ages 8 to 16 build almost anything they can imagine. They can create stories, games and animations as well as share them with an extensive online Scratch community.
  1. Tynker – Tynker allows kids to learn the basics of coding by first experimenting with visual blocks and then progressing to text-based coding as they design everything from apps to games to customized projects. Kids also earn rewards and certificates as they complete different missions. Tynker offers affordable plans starting at $8 per month.
  1. Star Wars: Building a Galaxy with Code – Kids can learn to program droids, write code that helps Rey guide BB-8 through a space mission, or create their own Star Wars game in a galaxy far, far away.