How to do an Hour of Code with your child

Trying an Hour of Code is a simple and fun way to introduce your child to computer science, perhaps for the very first time. Not only is computer science foundational to all fields of study, but recent studies show: children who study computer science perform better in other subjects, excel at problem-solving, and are 17% more likely to enroll in college.

You can join tens of millions of students worldwide in this global event. Together, we can inspire kids to learn, break stereotypes, and help children discover a newfound interest. Best of all, you already have everything you need to bring the Hour of Code into your home!

What do I need to get started?

The Hour of Code is simple to run - even for beginners. You don’t need experience in computer science or teaching in order to facilitate a fun activity for your children that will get them both learning and laughing.

You can try the Hour of Code with a computer, a tablet, a smartphone, or completely unplugged! Here's how to get started.

1) Explore activities and tutorials.

There are countless Hour of Code activities available to you if you’re working on a computer with internet access. We encourage you to take a look at some of your options ahead of time so that you can help guide your child towards exercises they’ll enjoy.

All of our activities integrate problem-solving and critical-thinking with fun and creativity, but here are some student favorites:

Low-tech or no-tech?

If you’ll be using limited or no technology, you can filter Hour of Code activities by selecting “No computers or devices” in the Classroom technology section.

You can also check out these short videos for more ideas on how to facilitate an unplugged activity at home!

2) Prepare ahead of time

Now that you have some tutorials in mind, it may be helpful to try these activities on your device before introducing them to your child.

More than one child at home?

Consider providing each of your children with headphones if they’ll be working on separate devices. That way, they’ll be able to play activities with sound without distracting each other.

If you’ll only be using one device, or simply want to make your Hour of Code more interactive, try pair programming. Pair programming encourages children to work together. When they partner up, they help one another to problem-solve. They’ll also see that computer science is social and collaborative.

Get the kids excited!

This is a great opportunity to add a new type of activity to your child’s day. You can extend the fun beyond one tutorial with these suggestions:

  • Show them an inspirational video that features one of their favorite role models
  • Inspire them with a video on one of the many careers that computer science skills can lead to
  • Order some swag! You can choose from t-shirts, stickers, or even temporary tattoos. Share it with them right away to get them excited, or save it for the end of your Hour of Code as a special prize.

3) Tips for introducing your child to CS

It’s okay if both you and your child are brand new to computer science. Here are some ideas to introduce your Hour of Code activity and get you both thinking about CS:

  • Explain ways that technology impacts our lives, with specific examples that may interest your child. For example, you could talk about medicine or connecting people virtually. Also, check out for suggested discussion questions.
  • Together, list everyday things that use code in order to work properly.

Have young women at home?

Here are our recommendations to help spark their interest in computer science. Pro-tip: You can start just by telling them they’d be great at it!

Problem-solve together

Lastly, when your child comes across difficulties it's okay to respond:

  • “I don’t know. Let’s figure this out together.”
  • “Technology doesn’t always work out the way we want.”
  • “Learning to program is like learning a new language; you won’t be fluent right away.”

Computer science is all about learning how to “debug” situations that didn’t turn out the way we thought they would. Together, you and your child can think of creative ways to solve the problem!

4) Don’t forget to celebrate!

The Hour of Code is a global event, and your family deserves to celebrate. Here are some ways to make your Hour of Code extra special:

What comes after the Hour of Code?

Computer science doesn’t have to end with the Hour of Code! While 90% of parents want their child to learn computer science, most schools still don’t teach it. To help, our curriculum is web-based and free to use, forever. Learn how to bring CS to your child’s school today.