Six fun ways to get your kid into coding

One day they’ll thank you.

kid on an ipad
Keep your child curious.DepositPhotos

Give the upstart kid in your life a gift from the future: the ability to code. Unlike toys they’ll grow tired of and clothes they’ll grow out of, a strong foundation in programming is something that could potentially change a child’s life for decades to come.

Coding can unlock creativity in new mediums and is an increasingly valuable professional skill, so it’s no surprise the market is flooded with products that make it fun for kids. This list has something for all ages.

Osmo Coding Jam

Osmo Coding Jam

Pump up the jam, pump out the code.Amazon

A coding class and beat lab all in one. Kids use “coding blocks” to create musical beats and make them come alive.They also learn patterns and problem solving in this great introduction to the concepts of coding. Ages 6-12.

Coding Critters

Coding Critters

Knick-knack, paddywhack, give these dogs some codeAmazon

These screen-free coding lessons mimic playtime with your choice of friendly puppy duos (Ranger & Zip, Rumbler & Bumble, Scamper & Sneaker). Use the full-color code-along storybook to try games like fetch and hide-and-seek, or turn on Play Mode to take care of your pals like real pets. It comes with a 22-piece playset that real dogs would be envious of, including a slide and tennis ball launcher. Ages 4+.

Artie the Coding Owl Robot

Artie the Coding Owl Robot

Whooooooo’s ready to code?Amazon

I haven’t looked to see if “Artie 3000” is an homage to Andre 3000, and I don’t plan to. Let’s just go with it. Artie offers a straightforward coding lesson with an IRL twist: You design code and send it to the avatar over Wi-Fi, and he designs it accordingly. A QuickStart guide and pre-programmed designs allow beginners to hit the ground running, and a suite of advanced applications will keep them busy even after they’ve gained experience. Computer or tablet required. Ages 7+.

Level-up your coding skills

Level-up your coding skills

Level-up your coding skills.Amazon

This story is peak gamified code mastery. Your young coder’s avatar goes on a crystal-seeking adventure, powered by programming logic. Learn skills such as loops and conditional branching to push through all 60 levels, each of which has only one solution. Ages 8+.

Code-a-Pillar

Code-a-Pillar

The first step toward blossoming into a code-knowing butterfly.Amazon

A simple introduction to logic-based coding, kids can “program” a path for the code-a-pillar simply by rearranging his segments. They’ll learn to send him in different directions by adjusting the sequence. Once they’ve mastered the commands, place the “Start” and “Finish” targets around the room and watch them use that knowledge to chart a course. Ages 3-6.

Frozen 2 Coding Kit

Frozen 2 Coding Kit

Let it coooooooode.Amazon

For the kid who could use a nudge from intellectual property, there’s Kano’s Disney Frozen 2 coding kit. Learn programming with step-by-step lessons during a journeys that includes constructing Olaf, making fractals, and playing with all your favorite characters. But first build your sensor, which connects to iPads, Macs, Windows 10 devices, Fire tablets, and more. Ages 6+.