With the changes in the National Curriculum for ICT in 2014 introducing a greater emphasis on coding and programming, there is a greater demand for easy to use programming tools for children.
One of the best ones, Scratch, sadly doesn’t work on an iPad at the moment. Here are some alternatives that do.
1. Daisy the Dinosaur (Free)
This free, fun app helps teach the basics of simple programming. It has an easy drag and drop interface to animate Daisy to dance across the screen. Children will intuitively grasp the basics of objects, sequencing, loops and events by solving this app’s challenges.
It’s a simple, easy to use app which gives children an easy introduction into simple programming. And even better, it’s free!
2. Hopscotch (Free)
Developed by the same team behind Daisy the Dinosaur, Hopscotch is a free app which allows children to create their own games and animations with a simple programming language. Inspired by MIT’s Scratch, Hopscotch works by dragging and dropping method blocks into scripts.
When you’re finished with a script, press play to see the code in action. More advanced users can add additional objects and use custom events, such as shaking and tilting the iPad, to run different parts of the code.
3. BeeBot (Free)
The Bee Bot app from TTS has been developed to mimic the familiar Bee-Bot floor robot. The app makes use of Bee-Bot’s keypad functionality and enables children to improve their skills in directional language and programming through sequences of forwards, backwards, left and right 90 degree turns.
The app has been developed with 12 levels encouraging progression. Each level is timed and the faster it is completed the more stars you get! The levels are set in a cute little garden scenario and will appeal from age 4 upwards.
It’s an excellent free app, and I highly recommend it! Download it from iTunes here.
4. Cargo Bot (Free)
Cargo-Bot is a puzzle game where you teach a robot how to move crates. It sounds simple, but it gets quite challenging! Good for developing logical thinking.
5. Kodable (Free)
Kodable offers a kid-friendly introduction to programming concepts and problem solving. Beautifully designed with little ones in mind, Kodable comes free with 30 levels of programmable fun! You can unlock additional worlds with in-app purchases, or get them all by downloading Kodable Pro (£1.99).
6. Move the Turtle (£1.99)
Move The Turtle is an educational application for iPhone and iPad that teaches children the basics of creating computer programs, using intuitive graphic commands. It’s very similar to the BeeBot app mentioned above.
7. Cato’s Hike (£2.99)
The younger ones will obviously enjoy solving levels using simpler coding techniques but the hope is the older ones will pick up more advanced concepts like loops and branching as well as even more advanced concepts like a basic stack or memory! There is enough in here to keep everyone from children to parents engaged! More challenges are upcoming however so stay tuned!
8. Snap (Free)
Snap isn’t an iPad app, but it is a free website that has been designed to work on your iPads so is worth investigating. SNAP! (formerly known as BYOB) is another visual, drag-and-drop programming language in the style of Scratch.
The coding platform allows you to “Build Your Own Blocks” of code. It works by dragging and dropping method blocks into scripts. When you’re finished with a script, press play to see the code in action.
Got any other favourites? Add them to the comments below!