Key Stage 0 – 2
Jump to Sections:
- Block Based Coding from Nursery & KS1 Upwards
- Websites with coding lesson plans for KS1 age onwards
- Local coding/STEM Clubs, Programs & Companies
- Resources for Leaders, Educators or Making Your Own Lesson Plans
- Curriculum & Careers References for Primary Aged Children
The following lists are either fully or partially free resources that let children learn coding from playing & creating directly in the browser (block based), by following a structured lesson plan (a mixture of block based and text based), or by allowing older children to explore text based coding in a visually engaging way.
Scratch / Jnr is one of the best known languages for children. Using code blocks to control & create. It has a lot of resources, tutorials and Scratch communities for educators. Scratch resources can be found here: https://scratch.mit.edu/tips This is a really fun & safe community. Remix trees allow a familiarity with repositories and collaboration in a clever way too.
Tynker works as the others above but it focuses more on cartoon & storytelling so can be more fun for younger children. Some of it is free but mostly paid. Personally I find the interface lacks the UX, simplicity and finesse of the free coding platforms above & can glitch here and there too. https://www.tynker.com/
Codemoji teaches HTML, CSS & JS to build websites. Its interface is similar to other code platforms but it uses icons rather than blocks. You can toggle the view to see the actual code and children learn to make websites. I have read it can be a little bit glitchy but it worked fine while reviewing – some of the tooltips seem long but still fun for web scripting. https://www.codemoji.com/
Codemonkey teaches children to code using Coffescript (JS) to make HTML5 games. You can use trials for free, otherwise it’s a paid service. It’s fun and fast and it plays just like a game. The interface is a little different from other platforms. The HTML5 has a illustrated animation style and the code is text based rather than drag-drop blocks. https://www.playcodemonkey.com/
Coder Dojo Sushi is a full learning resource using Sushi cards, links, modules, and covering all aspects of children’s coding. It is a brilliant resource and even shows you how to make your own cards. You will not run out of ideas or projects for a long time! (all ages) http://kata.coderdojo.com/wiki/Sushi
Code Club Courses offers structured courses in a variety of coding languages. There is definitely a value to having children socialise and have a mentor by attending clubs, but you/they can learn remotely too and these are just excellent, with each module building from the previous. https://codeclubprojects.org/en-GB/
Coderdojo offer ‘paths’ to code too and they also have a Kata where you will find their Hardware Lab path for Raspberry Pi or Arduino, if tinkering is your thing! It is mighty and also includes Audio, Github and Ebook resources (and more): languages:https://coderdojo.com/resources/ and http://kata.coderdojo.com/wiki/Learning_Resource
Made With Code by Google – you may have to look through this site to find things suitable to your class age range (and gender potentially), but there are quite a few there, including the very cute emoji maker.
Code’s actual courses start at preschool for non readers and they are a lot of fun. You can choose from quite a few different types and they are very well presented.
Google CS First follows the google curriculum through a range of providers such as those already shared here.
Blockly comes as both browser code block games or Dot & Dash cute android apps. There is a dev tools Blockly to create apps/games for your students using a text/blocks mix that you download from Github and use in your browser. https://blockly-games.appspot.com/
Lightbot is fun. It can be used from any age as a game or course. It is the most basic block based environment we have seen available on a web browser and one of the cutest! There are also app versions. It uses flash which will need installed or enabled.
Kodable is similar to lightbot but has a larger plan. Free elements include basics for any age including preschool and can run in the browser without sign ups or downloads. Also available as an app.
Looking for something a little more challenging? Check out our Text Based Coding Websites for KS3 age Onwards
Some on the list are charities and run free clubs, others are companies who have set fees. It is really important for me to mention that some of these initiatives are ALWAYS looking for volunteers to expand and reach more children. All training is painless (!) and incredibly quick – but excellent – and will be given by them. You can find out more details by following appropriate links.
Code Club has been around for some time, running excellent classroom sessions and after schools clubs across the UK. Darran Bayliss coordinates for RoI/NI and we are seeing a real growth in the number of 8 – 13 age group clubs focusing on Raspberry Pi. There are hundreds of clubs currently running covering Scratch, HTML, CSS, Python as well as the new Scratch 3 which now allows for lots of Raspberry Pi maker projects (e.g. Microbits and robotics integration with programming). https://www.codeclub.org.uk/
We currently have 2 Dojo’s in Belfast, this one is run in connection with BMC at their Titanic campus across the school year. Dojo’s are very popular so spaces fill quickly for the Saturday. Dojo’s are open to anyone under 18 but please check individual host’s policy for younger children to be accompanied. http://www.coderdojobelfast.com/index.php/about/
This Dojo is run in Farset Labs by their team. Farset are probably the longest running Belfast Tech Hub charity and Hacker Space based at Weavers Court. They are involved in just about everything tech across Belfast on some level! As a charity their events are typically free (such as the Dojo). They actually put on quite a few events that usually ask for donations. http://www.farsetlabs.org.uk/events/coderdojo.html
Here we’ve linked to the CoderDojo Foundation page for all clubs across Northern Ireland. After speaking with Champions from the Foundation we are genuinely impressed with their latest initiatives for girls and the success of these clubs among both boys & girls. There are upcoming training events to strengthen and grow these clubs across NI which is great news, especially as Code Clubs are usually held by a school, but Dojo’s can be set up literally anywhere completely independently.
Sentinus are a charity who also sell STEM activities and events days. They have a very well rounded approach to STEM and some of the programs and camps look like lots of fun for both primary and post-primary ages. They also work with Councils to have secondary level pupils gain paid/unpaid placements in companies. http://www.sentinus.co.uk/programmes-intro/
STEM Aware was founded by Building Services Engineer Roisin Crawford. Now the Creative Director of STEM Aware, Roisin leads her team to meet the desires and needs of any school or community group. http://www.stemaware.com/index.php
Miniversity is a STEAM focused company for Primary ages who combine career topics with computer programs (Scratch & Microsoft Office) for the fun Miniversity learning experience. Presently they are based in Holywood and the North West running clubs, activities and camps through the year. Most will focus on KS0-2. https://www.miniversity.com/
Time to Code is currently running Code Clubs in Primary schools. It brings industry champions to schools, giving children a real world application and inspiration towards tech. The initiative is a collaboration between BITC and Code Club and all training is given to the industry volunteers. https://www.bitcni.org.uk/what-we-do/education-and-jobs/young-people-and-schools/time-to-code/
W5 are the STEM UK hub for NI. They provide STEM Ambassadors to visit Primary & post Primary schools and existing clubs, offering give workshops, talks and experience of all things STEM! They also offer financial & resource support for schools/clubs who (wish to) engage in STEM activities and set up their own club. https://w5online.co.uk/stem-hub/stem-clubs
CAS Barefoot is actually a workshop for Primary teachers to show them in a short session how they are already teaching many Computational Thinking principles and how they can introduce Scratch & other activities easily. They also provide free resources to those registered with them. I volunteer with them, so naturally I think they are brilliant! https://barefootcas.org.uk/
Digital Schools Awards are also not a club but mentioned here as teachers viewing this may wish to register their school for the awards if they are already committed to its aims and engaging in activities. http://www.digitalschoolsawards.co.uk/become-a-digital-school
Some of these are ‘unplugged‘ activities that focus on KS1 but can be used for KS2 & KS3 too as intro sessions before a class, or as background support for the wider spectrum & curriculum of Computational Thinking that will enhance coding ability and understanding.
Unplugged Games that teach Computational Thinking:
All Ages Unplugged CT This is a little collated resource from games and ideas we’ve used or found online. CT is central throughout a coders life as well as being focal in our curriculum – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun!
CS Unplugged: Computer Science Without A Computer is a brilliant resource we often return to. From the site, “Each Unplugged activity is available to download in PDF format, with full instructions and worksheets. Background sections explain the significance of each activity to computer science, and answers are provided for all problems. All you need for most of these activities are curiosity and enthusiasm.”