Programming games are a great way to introduce kids to coding concepts that are beneficial for learning inside and outside of the classroom. These concepts range from logical thinking to problem solving skills and many other skills that can help set kids up for success in their digital future.
Because there are a variety of programming games available today, we’ve put together a list of different games for kids for you to get started. We’ve broken out our list into online games and board games, so whether you are feeling digital or old school, dive in and find the right programming game for your kids!
Online Programming Games for Kids
Kodable is a programming game for kids that teaches K-5 students the basics of coding in a fun and interactive way. Self-paced lessons and helpful hints from FuzzBuzz make sure that coding challenges aren’t too challenging or too easy, but are just right for kids to stay engaged and learning.
This programming game is free for educators so if you’re considering bringing this into your classroom, you can get started today here!
Tynker has two different programming games for kids based on age. Tynker Junior is for pre-readers and generally 5-7 year olds. Tynker, the older kid version, is best for ages 7-12. Tynker Junior uses tap based coding to solve story based puzzles while Tynker uses block coding to help students drag and drop code to solve problems.
CodeSpark uses block based coding concepts to help 5-10 year olds learn the basics of programming by creating and playing their own programming games. These games can vary in terms of difficulty and complexity but all involve customizable characters following step-by-step instructions to solve a problem or puzzle.
CodeMonkey is free for teachers to start, but requires you to pay to access all their features and resources.
Scratch Jr. is a programming game made for kids aged 5-7. Kids can program their own interactive stories and games. In the process, they learn to solve problems, design projects, and express themselves creatively on the computer.
Programming Board Games for Kids
Robot turtles is a programming board game for kids ages 4 and up. This game requires kids to use their “code cards” to direct their turtle across the game board to retrieve a jewel. By using cards to “program” and guide their turtle across the board, kids can start to make the connection between code inputs and outputs, a core concept in programming.
Code Master is a programming board game for kids aged 8 and up. This game requires kids to create a program or algorithm for their character to follow to collect all the crystals on different worlds. In doing so, kids build their logical, sequential reasoning, and problem solving skills, all skills that make for great future programmers!
Computers, at the end of the day, are a bunch of connected circuits that line up to let electricity flow to accomplish a task. Turing Table is a great programming board game to help kids visually see a representation of how these circuits work together to solve a complex problem with marbles and switches.
Robo Rally is a programming board game for kids aged 12 and up. This game involves two to six kids using cards to program their robots to race to checkpoints while dodging lasers and pits. The best and most efficient programmed robot will make it to the finish line first!
Arrrrrrrrrr you ready for a learning adventure on the high seas? Potato Pirates is a programming card game for kids ages 7 and up. In this game students draw cards and then use them to program their ships to attack enemy vessels. The last potato that remains unfried, wins!
More Programming Resources
Teaching kids programming is an ongoing process, so having the right tools and resources is a great first step in this exciting adventure! In addition to programming games, we’ve got a great list of unplugged coding activities to help kids get engaged and learning about programming in fun and exciting ways.