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This App Teaches Kids To Code With Fun Games — & Goodbye Guilt Over Screen Time

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codeSpark

If there is one thing I’d like to eradicate from the parenting conversation entirely, it’s the guilt about screen time. We really don’t need another thing to feel bad about, especially when it comes from the mouth of soon-to-be parents who claim they will neh-hever allow their babies to zone out on something called CoComelon while sitting in a grocery store cart. I spent too much time worrying about screens until my aha moment. It seems silly, but I realized that as the parent, I have some control over the options I allow them to choose from. And with codeSpark Academy, you’re curating an educational experience that totally entertains little minds.

The subscription app engages kids through super-fun games, puzzles, and play that are all designed to teach the foundations of computer science and coding (on the sly) — which adds up to guilt-free screen time that you can (gasp) even feel good about.

Right now, codeSpark Academy is offering Scary Mommy readers a free 14-day trial of the app simply but using the code FT14 at checkout.

What Is codeSpark?

CodeSpark is the No. 1 learn-to-code app for kids ages 5 to 10. The research-backed curriculum from MIT, Princeton, and Carnegie Mellon requires no previous know-how and it’s completely intuitive for kiddos. In fact, the entire interface is word-free so kiddos can learn to code before they’re even reading independently. The app introduces early learners to skills that are not only crucial to computer science but also math, literacy, reading, problem-solving, and even empathy.

Beginners start with puzzles that introduce pattern recognition and feature colorful characters (The Foos) in a land called Fooville. They’ll be introduced to sequencing before moving on to loops, events, and conditionals. Once the concepts are mastered, kids can play games that work on boolean logic, automation, variables and inequalities, and stacks and queues. (If you know what none of that means, don’t worry. I don’t either, which is exactly why this app seems so exciting to me. This is the future.)

With codeSpark’s creative interface, kids will even learn to build their own games once they have moved on to advanced coding concepts. The subscription app offers unlimited coding challenges for building STEM skills that are becoming more and more critical — and let’s be honest, they can only be taught screen in hand.

Who Is codeSpark For?

CodeSpark Academy is recommended for children ages 5 through 10. The app is for girls and boys, and in fact, it’s been carefully designed to engage young girls and close the gender gap in STEM. For families of multiples, you can register up to three children on one codeSpark’s account.

In terms of installing the app, it will run on most smart devices with Apple, Android, or Amazon operating systems. Once you set up an account, you can also have your kid access it in a compatible web browser.

Is codeSpark Safe?

Parents can monitor children’s use of the codeSpark app and it has been independently reviewed and certified by kidSAFE to meet certain standards of online safety and/or privacy. What’s more, every project is moderated by the codeSpark team before publishing to ensure the safety and privacy of all kid coders. The kid-safe app does not collect your child’s private data and there’s no advertising, micro-transactions, or communication with external parties.

How Much Does It Cost?

Right now, you can try codeSpark Academy for free for 14 days — which is seven days longer than the free trial being offered to the general public. Click here and make sure to use the code: FT14. (If you do not wish to continue after the trial, just make sure to cancel your free trial 24 hours before it expires so you’re not charged.)

After your free trial is over, here’s what you need to know about continuing on with a subscription. A basic subscription is $6.67 per month if you sign up for an annual plan right away; there’s also a premium annual plan with pre-recorded, expert-led classes for $8.34 per month. If you want to test the waters first, you can sign up for a monthly plan for $9.99 per month. No matter what, you can cancel at any time.

What Are People Saying About codeSpark?

From parents to teachers to kids, codeSpark is garnering excellent reviews across the board:

“I love this game and play it every day, it is just so amazing! I love building games and playing others. You should totally get this game, it is super [...] fun! This isn’t just a weird game for little kids, it is a super amazing game for all ages, and you like NEED to get it. You probably think I am overly exaggerating, but I’m not, this is like the best coding game of all time!” — Olivia, 10 years old

“As a technology teacher, I love using this app with my K-2 students. It is a great way to teach basic coding concepts to young students. The kids get so excited when using this app - especially when they see the Glitch! I also like how students are to apply what they learned by creating their own games and stories with the characters. Job well done!” — username Pixels+pencils, teacher

“An educational game with a [curriculum]! A dream for any homeschooler.” — Jennifer R, parent

“Most educational apps on the market require your child to be reading already so that they can read the instructions or follow along with prompts. We love that there are no words in this game[The] games have to be ‘figured out’ by pushing buttons and feeling out what each one does and then they can piece it together in their mind and they take off from there... my favorite games are the sequencing ones.” — username Derics Mom, parent

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