Free Resources to Teach Kids Computational Thinking

As a teacher or parent if you are looking to teach kids computational thinking and coding then there are lots of free resources available. I was blown away by the myriad resources, books, games, toys, gadgets and robots available to teach kids coding at BETT2017. There are a number of free resources available and here I have summarised them:


Free online resources:

Google – CS First offers lessons and activities based on a real-world themes such as music, art, and game design, that are designed to capture a student’s existing interests.  Each club offers about 10 hours worth of activities targeted at students aged 9 – 14.

Coding with Chrome is a Google project to provide an easy-to-use coding environment within the Chrome browser that even works offline. It ssupports both beginner and advanced mode for improving coding skills. Users are able to create programs using Blockly, Coffeescript, HTML, Javascript with output to Logo Turtle and/or connected toys such as the Sphero, mBot and Lego Mindstorms.

Microsoft – Hacking stem has many lesson plans and hands-on activities to build affordable scientific instruments and visualize data across space, earth, life, and physical sciences curriculum with students. My favourite activity was to build a robotic arm that emulates humans.

Barefoot Computing funded by BT and in collaboration with Computing at Schools (CAS) and The British Computer Society (BCS) there are number of resources and workshops available to all primary school teachers in UK.

Coder for Life is an initiative by Ocado to help teachers deliver the new computing curriculum in UK so they can inspire the next generation of computer scientists. Rapid Router is their free app, Key Stage 1 and lower Key Stage 2 teaching resource and web application. It is built on ‘Blockly’, an easy-to-use visual programming language that’s similar to Scratch.


CS4Fun is a free magazine produced twice a year and sent to all schools in UK.  Run by Queen Mary University of London and funded by Google, Mayor of London and Department for Education. Their sister organisation is Teaching London Computing.

Magpi is the magazine from Raspberry Pi Foundation. Here’s a free education issue for teachers and educators interested in Raspberry Pi and computer science.

Hello World is a new magazine dedicated to helping educators bring computing and digital making to young people all over the world. Written by educators, for educators, Hello World is the perfect platform for the community to inspire ideas, share experiences, and learn from each other. The magazine, published three times per year, is available entirely free as a Creative Commons PDF download or in print in UK.


Coderdojo London runs free workshops for kids aged 7-17. These are open source, volunteer led coding clubs for young people supported by the community of partners.

Code Club is a nationwide network of volunteer-led after school coding clubs for children aged 9-11. now part of Raspberry Pi Foundation.  Projects ranges from Scratch, HTML/CSS, Python and Sense Hat.

Imperial Codelab engages secondary school age pupils in computing and STEM subjects through creative coding projects led by talented Imperial students and Turing Lab. Codelab is for girls and children from low-income families.

What other free resources have you come across to teach kids programming? What are some of the challenges you face when you introduce kids to programming?

February 17, 2017