There's a wide range of apps and websites to help kids get into coding.
The simplest apps all used a block-based approach, where you building a program by dragging and dropping blocks that snap together. Each block is an instruction. Games will start with very instructions available and build up as you progress through the levels.
A learning path for very young kids
For young kids, even pre-reading, and for absolute beginners of any age, here's what I suggest you try:
First get them to do the "Kids Coding" doodle from google.
It looks like this:
It's super cute, there are just 6 levels, and it teaches you the basics of writing a short program, running it, and trying again. You learn to avoid repetition by using simple loops.
Then get them to try Course 1 from Code.org.
This course starts extremely slowly, so you might need to help them skip over a few of the easier lessons: but only if they're bored... if they're having fun let them go as slow as they want.
Those two programs represent a great start!
Next, get them to decompile the Windows Operating system and have them patch a DLL at runtime. Woah, no, wait a second, we need to step back a little.
|Google Doodle: Kids Coding|
|Course 1 from Code.org|
|Daisy The Dinosaur|
|Fix the Factory|
|Human Resource Machine|
Here are some of the best:
- Scratch (and Scratch Junior)
- Course 1 from Code.org
- Logo (the original)
- Lego Mindstorms
- Small Basic
- Swift Playgrounds
The difficult thing is finding one that moves at the appropriate pace for your child's current age, knowledge and interests. If your child is bored, see if there's a way to make the game run faster or a way to skip ahead by a few levels.
There are also various puzzle games that introduce a programming concept.
- Run Marco!
- Daisy The Dinosaur
- Fix the Factory
- Google Doodle: Kids Coding