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11 Mar 2021
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The Ultimate List of Kids Coding Languages (2021) [Updated]

Hritika Singh

Technology has come a long way, slowly but consistently embedding itself into our daily lives. We are living in times where children learn to unlock a phone before developing clear speech abilities. At the same time, coding as a skill is gaining importance and is predicted to be one of the most important skills for the jobs of the future in the report published by the World Economic Forum. Learning coding at a young age hence, would not only give the kids a competitive advantage but also help build other skills like problem-solving, logical thinking, perseverance, and creativity.

In this post, we aim to cover the different types of kids coding languages that one can choose from. The idea is to help you pick up the right language for your kid to kick-start their coding journey in the best possible manner.

A programming language can be understood as lines of instructions provided to the computer to perform the desired function. There are various kinds of kids coding languages. Most of them have different uses. However, learning them is no different than learning a new language like French.

Before we deep dive into individual coding languages, it would be important to distinguish and decide between two types of programming languages. Widely, programming languages can be divided into two major kinds :

  • visual-based programming
  • text-based programming

One can choose which language to start from depending on their current level and needs. Let’s take a deeper look into these two different kinds of languages.

  • Much like the name suggests, text-based coding language requires writing lines of code to make and run a program. As opposed to this, visual-based programming focuses on manipulating visual elements or visual blocks.

  • While most of the languages are text-based, visual programming languages like Scratch are considered great for kids or beginners. The easy-to-use interface also eliminates major roadblocks that might cause frustration for kids. It also makes the process of learning fun and extremely easy.

  • A visual programming language is easy to read. The instructions are straightforward which makes the navigation easy to understand for beginners. However, kids who have a deep interest in understanding and learning languages will have a better liking for text-based languages.

  • There are usually pre-existing visual blocks that need to be dragged together in a visual programming language like Scratch. However, to execute the same function using a text-based coding language, the coder might be required to write a few lines of code.

So in essence, visual programming-based languages could be considered easier amongst all kids coding languages.

Now that we have distinguished between the types, here’s a list of the top 7 kids coding languages in 2021

  1. Python
  2. Scratch
  3. Blockly
  4. JavaScript
  5. Lua
  6. Swift
  7. C++

1. Python

Python is one of the easiest types of computer languages. Python requires fewer lines of code. This makes it incredibly easy for beginners to learn, especially kids. Its simple and uncomplicated syntax makes the language easy to learn.

Why choose Python?

  • It is used in highly-advanced fields such as Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity
  • Python is an incredibly versatile programming language and can be used to create numeric and scientific computing projects, web frameworks, and video games
  • Kids coding languages like Python are widely used in the industry, given their flexibility and versatility
  • Various tech companies, including Google, use this computer language for building products

With regular practice, one can become comfortable with the language soon. Kids who are interested in science and want to explore scientific fields as a career option must take up this programming language.

Smart Calculator Project in Python by Codeyoung Student Akshay

2. Scratch

Scratch is one of the best amongst the kids coding languages. This visual programming language helps kids create animations, games, characters, and stories. It helps the kid bring their imagination to life. The simplicity of the language makes it one of the favorite kids coding languages.

Why choose Scratch?

  • Scratch can help set the right foundations for programming. Kids who are creative or want to nurture their creativity can learn this language.
  • It can help the kid learn the basic concepts of problem-solving and critical thinking.
  • Building apps and games can help kids gain confidence in their skills.
  • They also get to understand the know-how of the tech around them. This way they don’t just play games, they build them!
  • Scratch has a visual block interface. This makes it extremely easy to use and eliminates any scope of frustration for the kids making the learning process fun.

Scratch was developed by Mitch Resnick primarily for kids between the ages of 8 and 16. The idea was to simplify animations and designing. Anyone can build games with striking visuals using Scratch.

Scratch has a large online community too. With more than 15 million registered users, people can engage with others in the community and share their work. This also boosts the learning and curiosity of kids as members simplify complex projects.

Here is a compilation of projects made by Codeyoung students using Scratch

3. Blockly

Blockly is another visual programming language, very similar to Scratch. It is ideal for kids and helps them learn to code using visual building blocks. It is made of multiple pre-existing computer programming languages. It was primarily created for kids aged 8+ years. One can also build a working Android app using kids' coding languages like Blockly.

Why choose Blockly?

  • Kids can easily learn this language at their home within their own browser
  • It also comes with a pre-built library where languages like JavaScript, Lua, Python, and other pre-existing languages can be accessed. This is called the “Javascript Library”
  • Blockly is extremely simple to use and operate
  • The UI is very specific for kids and makes the navigation extremely simple
  • Kids can arrange the blocks available in the toolbox and keep at it unless the problem is complete. The program would then check for errors while analyzing the code
  • Users can also switch between languages easily

4. JavaScript

A detail-oriented language, JavaScript is for kids who want to get into web development or web design. JavaScript is used to create complex web applications. JavaScript can be great for those who want to understand and learn the fundamentals of computer programming and web development.

Why choose JavaScript?

  • Most browsers use JavaScript as their coding language. This includes Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox
  • One can design interactive apps, games, and websites using this language
  • JavaScript is recommended for kids older than 10 years as basic knowledge of variables, arrays and objects are necessary
  • It is an ideal language for kids who are at an intermediate level and are deeply interested in understanding the fundamentals of tech.

5. Lua

Lua is a great kid's coding language for those who want to learn text-based coding. It is simple to use and can be embedded into applications. Lua is similar to Python but is easier to operate as a beginner. It is good for kids who are just starting out to learn to code and want to understand the basic concepts to build things while keeping it simple. In fact, Angry Birds, the famous game, was based on Lua.

Why choose Lua?

  • Kids coding languages like Lua eliminate the pain points that might cause frustration for kids
  • There are no specific requirements with respect to the code. For example, users aren’t required to use semicolons at the end of every line of code
  • Lua also has a strong online community of learners, just like Scratch. This community is very approachable and is a great place for collaborations between learners and experts of the language

6. Swift

Developed by Apple Inc, Swift was first introduced in 2014. The language is fairly simple to operate and allows the users to write codes that are more readable and clean. It is also fast, as compared to pre-existing languages like Objective-C and Python.

Why choose Swift?

  • It has a wide variety of coding lessons and challenges ideal for grabbing any kid’s attention.
  • Swift can be used to build software for devices that run on iOS.
  • Kids who are interested in diving deeper into Apple applications can find this language extremely useful.

7. C++

For kids on an intermediate level, having a basic knowledge of programming can level up their coding game by learning C++.

Why choose C++?

  • C++ is a great language to start with and is used to create games, programs, and system software.
  • Students who want to dive deeper into programming languages can take up this language.
  • Most successful computer programmers and experts started their coding journey with C++.

Conclusion

In conclusion, one can start their coding journey by picking up any of these kids' coding languages. Since no two kids are the same, the learning outcomes can be evaluated while picking up the right language. Visual-based coding languages are a great starting point followed by a deep dive into the fundamentals by learning text-based languages.

MEET THE AUTHOR
Hritika Singh

An edtech enthusiast, avid reader who is found exploring new places and writing about them.