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In this technological age, more and more people are becoming interested in computer science.
Being able to code is a valuable accomplishment: it's basically the way we tell computers what to do, and in a world that's increasingly reliant on computers, learning to program them is an immensely desirable and marketable skill.
Whether your child dreams of becoming an employed tech-industry aficionado or simply wants a fulfilling new hobby, teaching them to code is a great thing to do for a number of other reasons. Firstly, it helps kids learn to think logically. Coding is essentially translating the instructions needed for a computer to complete a task into a language it can understand. There are many different computer programming languages, each with its own features, and translating into them requires plenty of rational reasoning and conceptual thinking. Learning to program can help kids practise problem-solving, increase cognitive function and apply analytical thinking. In other words, it's a pretty beneficial pursuit.
In order to teach kids to code, you need to make sure you have the right equipment and resources. A computer and a steady internet connection are, of course, a must. Scratch is an excellent platform for teaching kids the simple coding concepts, though there are lots of other free resources you can check out. Then you need a guide; if you're not a first-class coder yourself, this is where a good kids' coding book comes in. The best programming books for beginners should cover the basic coding concepts in a simple, easy-to-understand format with plenty of pictures and diagrams. Often they will focus on one particular coding language, so as not to overwhelm beginners (Scratch, Python or Java, for example).
If you're looking for the perfect books on computer coding for kids, take a look at our pick of the best coding books; we've specified which language they teach, what their best features are and which age they're best suited for so that you can make an informed decision.
Kidadl's Top Pick
Whilst all the coding books for kids on this list come highly recommended, this is our top pick. It's one of the best programming books for introducing the key concepts, employing a super easy-to-follow format and tons of great visuals. It's great value, too!
1. Lift-The-Flap Computers and Coding By Rosie Dickens
A truly interactive introduction to coding, this book makes use of fun lift-the-flap learning incentives to entice kids into finding out what happens inside a computer and why they do what they do. Each flap represents a different computer part, making for a clear, concise and aesthetically appealing beginner's guide to understanding computers. Younger kids may need some help with the reading, so make sure you're on hand; it might be a good opportunity to learn something yourself!
- Price: £7.72
- Age: 7+
- Length: 16 pages
Best For Website Building
2. CoderDojo Nano: Building a Website: Create with Code By Clyde Hatter
- Price: £10.06
- Age: 8-12
- Length: 96 pages
Best For Beginners
3. My First Coding Book By Kiki Prottsman
If you're looking to get your five-your-old familiarised with the basic ideas behind coding (the terms, concepts and what have you) before they actually get near a computer, this book's for you. Packed with flaps, sliders and visually-appealing diagrams, it presents the essentials in a straightforward, interactive way that will have them understanding loops, conditionals, variables, debugging and pattern recognition in no time.
- Price: £11.99
- Age: 5-7
- Length: 24 pages
4. A Beginners Guide to Coding By Marc A. Scott
Written by the Head of Curriculum Development for the computer science education charity 'The Raspberry Pi Foundation', this coding book is bursting with expert knowledge. It focuses on both Scratch and Python programming languages and details on how to create your own chatbot and even make your own computer games. With a simple, easy-to-follow style and tons of great images, this book will teach kids all the essential skills they need.
- Price: £6.99
- Age: 8-10
- Length: 64 pages
Best For Under 5s
5. Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding By Linda Liukas
This is an excellent kids' coding book for younger children; they don't even need a computer to get learning. The format is a sort of picture-book / workbook hybrid, and it cleverly teaches children as young as four the basic concepts of coding without getting into the actual languages. Follow Ruby on an adventure as she meets different friends and learns how to search for patterns, think outside the box and crack big problems by breaking them into smaller ones. These core programming concepts are presented in a way that will make young kids actually want to learn them.
- Price: £10.99
- Age: 4+
- Length: 112 pages
6. How to Code in 10 Easy Lessons By Sean McManus
This is a great guide to coding for children that teaches the core skills in an easy-to-digest step-by-step guide. Kids will learn how to use Scratch to write basic code, use loops, create a webpage and all sorts of other useful skills. A great overview of the essentials with simple instructions and helpful accompanying illustrations that will help any kid get to grips with the basics.
- Price: £18.59
- Age: 8-11
- Length: 96 pages
Best For Tweens
7. Python For Kids By Jason Briggs
The ultimate guide to learning Python, a popular programming language that's definitely worth learning. It's a pretty hefty text, but it covers everything in exhaustive detail and manages to keep it light and engaging throughout (no mean feat). With tons of activities to complete and lots of handy programming puzzles to keep kids on their toes, by the time they've completed the book, kids will have programmed two entire games, as well as learnt to create animations with Tkinter, use control structures like conditional statements, use fundamental data structures like lists and maps and a bunch of other skills.
- Price: £20.33
- Age: 9-12
- Length: 344 pages
Best For Teens
8. Code for Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming By Jeremy Moritz
- Price: £16.56
- Age: 12-17
- Length: 232 pages
Best For Under 10s
9. Coding for Beginners: Using Scratch
Scratch for kids is the most popular programming language platform in UK primary schools and provides a great way for children to get to grips with the fundamentals of coding. This spiral-bound book is a great resource; step-by-step instructions to creating games, building a brand, making animations and even create a virtual pet are all presented in a bright, colourful layout, with hints and tips suffused throughout.
- Price: £12.99
- Age: 7-11
- Length: 96 pages
Best For Layout
10. Build Your Own Website: A Comic Guide to HTML, CSS, and WordPress By Nate Cooper
Not only does this book guide teenagers through the basics of HTML markup language and CSS technology, but it also does it in comic book style! Super engaging, thorough and appealing to the eye, this is one of the best coding books for kids looking to design their own website; it teaches all the ins and outs of WordPress (the content management system used by a huge array of popular websites), instructing kids how to select themes, install plugins and customise a web page in a host of other ways. Your child will be a website whizz before you know it.
- Price: £11.99
- Age: 12-17
- Length: 264 pages
Kidadl Best Buys selects the top parent-recommended products across the web for families of all ages. If you liked our suggestions for the best coding books then why not take a look at our best children's books about birds, or for something different take a look at our Harry Potter gifts.
At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.
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Kidadl provides inspiration to entertain and educate your children. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.
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