Mobile apps to teach programming to the little ones

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Mobile apps to teach programming to the little ones

Learning is a task not always to everyone’s liking. As children, our curiosity leads us to acquire knowledge from everywhere as if we were sponges. But at a certain point, we lose interest. Hence the importance of programming for children. Learning to the program as children will pave the way for them if they want to dedicate themselves in the future to professions directly or indirectly related to code and applications.

And even if they prefer to dedicate themselves professionally to other fields, learning to program is something that serves as a complement and guide for other areas of knowledge as important as mathematics, problem-solving, logic, reading comprehension, creativity, or teamwork. . In addition, it will help them better understand the technology with which we see ourselves daily in any area of ​​our lives.

Be that as it may, a method to learn to program from children consists of the game. Learn playing. Have fun while discovering concepts like conditions, loops, sequences, flows, algorithms, data, compiling, etc. And thanks to the following mobile applications,  with a smartphone or a tablet, anyone, child or adult, can learn programming.

ScratchJr

If we talk about programming for children,  Scratch is a name that should be on this list. It is an application that has been used for years in schools and institutes to initiate children and not so children in programming through an environment that simplifies and explains the code through icons and cartoons.

ScratchJr is the version of Scratch for children from 5 to 7 years old. Also, instead of being available on a PC or Mac, it can be used directly on an iPad or Android tablet. It’s free and packed with interactive stories and games to get you started with coding and programming from a young age.

Similar to its big brother,  ScratchJr graphically shows what programming is all about. Instead of entering code, it works with colored blocks and characters instead of objects. Combining the elements as if they were a puzzle, we can “program” a game or a story.

mBlock

From China, and with a style very similar to Scratch, comes mBlock, an application to learn programming from children that can be used on iPad, Android tablets, smartphones, computers, and directly from the web browser.

Its operation, like Scratch, consists of translating programming concepts into colored blocks that allow creating sequences, loops, and, in general, programming using animated characters as protagonists.

One of the attractions of mBlock is that it allows you to see the content created through the game in the form of files and real code. What’s more, it’s a very useful app for learning to program using the  Python language, one of the most popular and used in data processing and analysis, robotics, or scientific research.

Another advantage of using Mblock is that it allows you to interact with robots and devices based on Arduino and micro: bit. A way to learn to program and discover robotics from a very young age.

For the rest, although its official page is in Chinese and English, the application is translated into several languages, including Spanish or Catalan.

Swift Playgrounds

Exclusive for iPad and Mac,  Swift Playgrounds is Apple’s proposal to learn to program from children. That is for one thing. On the other hand, it is a fun way to get to know the Swift programming language, created by Apple itself and used to create applications for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, or Apple TV.

Through activities and games, little by little we will become familiar with programming concepts, their dynamics, rules, logic, etc. Over time, we will be able to create complete games or execute code that can later become part of our applications.

Another advantage of  Swift Playgrounds is that it combines play and learning. In the same application, we will find theory, practice, and tools to write code directly.

LightBot

Programming for children through a friendly robot and a series of puzzles. LightBot teaches the basics of programming through play. Conditionals, loops, sequences, processes… With each level,  learning and play evolve hand in hand and at a good pace.

Designed for the little ones but available to everyone, it has  50 levels and 20 prizes that you will win as you overcome the challenges. It can be used alone or played as a team. And if you get stuck at any point, you will receive the help of the game’s main robot.

SpriteBox Coding

From the creators of LightBot,  SpriteBox Coding is another coding game for kids that combines activities and challenges with coding. Sequences, parameters, loops… It even teaches * concepts and basic syntax + of such popular programming languages ​​like Java or Swift.

The game has 70 puzzles or levels in the form of an adventure or platform game. And to motivate ourselves, we must collect 500 stars that we will only obtain if we achieve the objective of the game. A  fun and playful proposal that also aims to teach programming starting with concepts and animated elements and ending with real sample code.