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Coding used to be all work and no play. Thankfully that has now changed. Coding is now seen as a pastime or a hobby that might one day change to a promising vocation.

If nothing else, an understanding of coding through the best games to learn coding allows the development of logical thinking and learning coding languages such as Python. This helps children to develop the digital and career skills that will be required by the future workforce.

What can be more fun than an evening spent playing the best coding games with your kids?

Think of it as an activity such as playing Monopoly – just more modern and keeping with the times.

Video games are the perfect gamified atmosphere for kids to learn new skills. The accumulation of points provides motivation to learn more and perfect the craft. Moreover, you ensure that your offspring are engaged productively and not wasting time on social media or scrolling through endless hours of YouTube videos.

5 Best Games that up your and your Kids’ Programming Skills

1. SQL Murder Mystery

SQL Murder MysterySQL or Structured Query Language is used extensively for manipulating databases. The SQL Murder Mystery starts with a story about a murder and a lost crime scene report.

The player is given the date 15th January 2018 and the place SQL City where the crime happened.

The first table that helps is the crime_scene_report from where the name and address of witnesses are extracted, and the game proceeds through a series of queries.

To progress in the investigation, the detective must ask the correct question, seek its answer from the available database and proceed to the next clue.

It is not only a programming tutorial but also a sort of augmented reality-based learning.

To its credit, the game is fast-paced, engaging, and quite addictive.

Skills taught with SQL Murder Mystery

You and your child can develop a great understanding of databases and how information is stored, and that helps in several professions from finance to market research analysts or cloud computing as more and more data is processed by computers and machines.

2. Elevator Saga

Elevator SagaThe gamer must program a set of elevators to carry the maximum number of people to the specified floors with minimum trips.

The gameplay is through JavaScript and starts at Level 1 and goes all the way through 18. These are known as challenges, and almost all of them are solved on GitHub.

But that is the last resort. Unlike SQL Murder Mystery, Elevator Saga is more of a riddle challenge and optimization problem.

Skills taught with Elevator Saga

Most of the work that programmers do is to solve problems and make a fixed input produce maximum output. Unfortunately, the idea that most people have of programming is of whiz kids typing lines of codes on monitors and hacking banks.

Programming is very often quantitative, and through Elevator Saga, a learner comes face to face with problems very similar to real life.

The trick is not only to write the code but also to learn to debug and compress it to as few lines as possible. The game extensively uses “true/false” and “if/then” steps that are handy tools in all programming languages.

3. Screeps

ScreepsOnce you have mastered Elevator Saga, it is time to learn a little bit of AI. After all, what can be cooler than saying – I was programming AI avatars with my kid?

Screeps is an acronym for “scripting creeps.”

Everything starts in your own “canyon,” and nothing will happen until you begin scripting in Java. It is a bit like playing God. You get to set up the colony, create workers, direct their tasks, and watch what they do.

Skills taught with Screeps

Some prior knowledge of JavaScript is needed. But the cool thing is, as the player proceeds, they can find how much more sophisticated their coding becomes.

Now for more fun. You can also open your server – that is, start your own game to invite friends. The game is in MMO format sandbox, and more participants make it merrier.

The Screeps site has plenty of written documentation about FAQs, how-to articles, and API.

4. Flexbox Defense

Flexbox DefenseWebsites are the backbone of the internet, and CSS is the backbone of websites. CSS or Cascading Style Sheets place HTML (HyperText Markup Language) elements on responsive web pages.

Flexbox is a part of the CSS 3 design that allows elements of a webpage to be laid out perfectly irrespective of the screen size.

Skills taught with Flexbox Defense

Flexbox Defense is a tower defense game that makes the player understand the effectiveness of grids and axis through a turret shooting game theme.

The game has been developed by Channing Allen and requires no installation. Just open the browser, point it at the URL, and start coding. Bear in mind that this game is more suitable for children with previous coding knowledge.

5. Minecraft

MinecraftIt is the most well-known sandbox game made by none other than Majong and Microsoft. It can be equally enjoyed regardless of age because even young children can learn with Minecraft. It is for good reason that it has been ported to every major gaming platform and has 220 million subscribers, making it the most popular game of all time.

The gameplay revolves around picking up blocks and creating three-dimensional objects – from a house to a city.

The game has five modes – survival, hardcore, creative, adventure, and spectator, and the variations of programming can last years.

What makes Minecraft so appealing is a large number of tutorials, here’s one to get you started from the experts at ClickDo.

In addition, from Github to Reddit, there are communities that are thousands strong and make learning this game a cooperative effort.

Skills taught with Minecraft

Minecraft is a sandbox game that makes the player create an animated and virtual realm for their gameplay.

Minecraft’s virtual world-building platform offers much more than just learning to code in different languages such as SQL, Python, JavaScripting, and CSS. It also teaches communication and social skills as players have to collaborate in groups to build worlds together. Players learn other digital skills like internet etiquette when chatting to others online, how to keep safe online, and basic computing skills like downloading files for example.

However, bear in mind that this game is more suitable for children with previous coding knowledge.

Play Them All

You would have noted that our list has no overlaps. Each of them requires a specific coding skill, from SQL and JavaScripting to CSS.

Hence, we cannot say one is better because each brings you a different aspect of coding. However, what is apparent to the reviewer is that they are a lot of fun interspersed with excellent skills that are invaluable in real life.

Of course, not all of them are free, and neither is that fair to expect considering the amount of work that has gone into creating them.

The most expensive is Minecraft, priced at $27, and that is certainly not a high price to pay for the hours of entertainment and education. Plus, schools may be able to offer their students free access to Minecraft, if they have the subscription.

Author Profile

Manuela Willbold
Manuela WillboldEditor in Chief
Blogger and Educator by Passion | Senior Online Media & PR Strategist at ClickDo Ltd. | Contributor to many Education, Business & Lifestyle Blogs in the United Kingdom & Germany | Summer Course Student at the London School of Journalism and Course Instructor at the SeekaHost University.

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Manuela Willbold

Blogger and Educator by Passion | Senior Online Media & PR Strategist at ClickDo Ltd. | Contributor to many Education, Business & Lifestyle Blogs in the United Kingdom & Germany | Summer Course Student at the London School of Journalism and Course Instructor at the SeekaHost University.