Saturday, August 6, 2016

Barclays Code Playground - A Good Coding Environment for Kids

I was poking around online this morning, looking for a good online code editor to test out some code that wasn't working on another site.  (CodePen, SoloLearn, and have the best editors I've seen to date.)  I came across something called "Barclays Code Playground" which sounded weird, since Barclays is a name associated with banking and finance, not programming or web development.

It turns out, Barclays Code Playground is a really neat coding learning environment for kids.

Once the page loads, there are all sorts of elements sprinkled around: a chicken, a rainbow, a baseball, and much more.  Even a monster with a bucket perpetually suspended above his head like the Sword of Damocles.

Just about all of these things can be "programmed" by kids.  Clicking on an element brings up a coding window, where you change all sorts of settings: how fast the chicken runs or lays eggs, what color paint the bucket dumps on the monster, the arc that the rainbow makes... the list goes on and on.  There's even a pair of giant eyeballs that you can program to follow the mouse around the screen.

The coding interface is intended as an aid to get children familiar with programming, rather than a teaching tool to actually help them learn to code.  All you have to do to change things is type in a number (or occasionally a color or other word) and click Apply.  But the coding statements are shown (in JavaScript) and are what is edited.

Barclays Code Playground is a great site for kids to play around with.  As long as they are able to read at a basic level, they should be able to use the interface and change how the different elements react and behave, which can be fun as well as educational.  Kudos to Barclays for providing this free online playground for children.

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