Hour of Code, an international collaboration to promote computer science to kids and families of all ages begins on Monday December 8th and continues throughout the week. Using hourofcode.com, companies around the world offer tutorials for students to experiment with many coding programs and languages such as Scratch, Python, and more. Learn how to code JAVA, make an app video game, or an interactive Christmas card quickly and easily. Students who complete one hour of coding that week will receive a certificate (and in our library get a chance to enter a raffle for a free Game Stop gift card). Kids can sign up for a free hour of code account to keep track of their time from year to year but it's not mandatory. This week is a great opportunity for libraries to provide a drop-in exploratory program without the stress of learning or prepping all these platforms. There are multiple video tutorials on the site. It is also a great collaboration between local schools and the library.
Besides changing the homepage on our public computer to the website, we also like to provide a few options on our stationary children's room iPads. Here are the free ones we like to highlight:
Daisy the Dinosaur (Ages 6 +) provide word commands to make the dinosaur move, jump, etc. Learn about sequencing with visual programming in a fun environment. You can play in free creative mode or challenge mode.
Kodable (Ages 4 +) guide a cute little monster through a maze to collect coins using very simple directional commands; a good introduction to robotics. I've even seen preschoolers use this app with some parental help. (includes in app purchases)
Hopscotch (ages 6-12) Very similar to MIT's Scratch program. A step up from Daisy the Dinosaur where you can give more commands and have control over your character in an appeal "stacking" command format.
Scratch Jr (Ages 6+) an younger App version of the popular web based MIT software. Makes games, interactive cards, and more!