Summer is here! Coders of all ages are packing up their laptops and trading them for flippers & sunscreen as they embark on fun-filled vacations. So how do you keep your coding skills sharp while you’re away — without turning your vacation into summer school?
We at TCS think the secret lies in gamification. Gamification in learning involves using game-based elements such as scores, peer competition, and teamwork to drive engagement, helping students practice and hone their existing knowledge.
While a game can’t replace a proper coding class, it can be an incredible way to keep yourself on track during your time off. Coding games make practice fun — you might realize you’ve spent the last four hours reinforcing your coding skills without even realizing it. If you’re looking for something fun AND educational to occupy your time during long flights, long drives, or long afternoons by the pool this summer, check out this list of our favorite coding games below!
CodeMonkey is packed with gamified educational resources for students of different grades and different levels. The graphics are adorable, the language is kid-friendly, and the games are the right balance of fun & challenging. On CodeMonkey, kids will help the character “Monkey” cross the river, solve math problems with Dodo, or collect bananas for Turtle—all by writing code in CodeMonkey’s text-based editor.
CodeCombat leverages kids’ love for fantasy stories — knights! dragons! heroes!—to help them drill coding fundamentals. Each lesson is introduced as a chapter in an overarching storyline; players defeat each level by coding, testing, and running the appropriate commands. Detailed characters coupled with beautifully designed maps and immersive sound make for one incredibly addictive coding game for kids. It’s important to note that, because CodeCombat’s lessons are designed for children aged 8 and up who have some degree of familiarity with coding, beginners might find the first few lessons confusing.
Empire of Code is a sci-fi strategy game in which players’ ability to code gives them an edge as they explore new frontiers. Players are charged with rebuilding and expanding the Great Empire of Code. Along the way, they will overcome great challenges and rival factions competing to create their own empires. Your child might use algorithms to exploit resources, code defensive strategies to protect their Empire from invaders, or use AI to defeat their rivals.
Bitsbox, a sort of subscription service for programming projects, is especially unique because it offers both a digital and physical option. Each month, the company sends a box full of new “crazy fun app projects” for your child to tackle. These projects range in difficulty from simple app-creation to complicated tech challenges, and you can choose to receive the project as a digital package or a physical kit delivered to your doorstep. Order one box to arrive during your vacation — or order three boxes to keep your child practicing their coding skills for a full summer away!
Code Karts is a phone app that encourages kids to drill coding concepts through dozens of levels of racetrack puzzles, in which players have to strategically place direction bricks to get their racecar across the finish line as speedily as possible. Not only does this game allow young coders to brush up on the drag-and-drop system of most visual programming languages like Scratch, it also helps hone focus, observation, and logic.
Codemoji is a self-styled “emoji-based” coding game that helps kids practice their coding skills through emojis. Every syntax element has a corresponding emoji, making the hard work of coding feel especially fun & natural for kids, who can seamlessly shift between texting their friends from home and emoji-coding their way through challenges!
Designed for kids aged 6-12, Codemancer is a fantasy game that reminds kids about the magic of coding during their time away from coding class. Players will join the female protagonist Aurora as she struggles to become independent and stay good in a world full of challenges. The various plot points provide kids with the opportunity to continue drilling the coding basics as well as variables, conditionals, and functions. Rich with a narrative backbone, colorful settings, and plenty of rival sorcerers, Codemancer takes a magical approach to programming.
With these coding games, it’s easy for young coders to stay firing on all four cylinders even while they’re having a blast on vacation. Looking for a more systematic coding education? Check out our coding camps and classes.