Don’t Miss the Hour of Code – December 8-14!

Hour of Code Banner 2
Hour of Code Banner. Image: CSEdWeek

Last December, non-profits and Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) launched the Hour of Code initiative to get people, particularly kids, interested in computer science and programming. Whether you and your kids missed out on the opportunity last year or are looking to join in on the fun again, I’m here to tell you that the Hour of Code is back this year, December 8-14, with even more options than ever to inspire your interest in programming.

GeekMom Ariane motivated you to participate in last year’s Hour of Code with graphics on why computer programming skills are so important. Educators and entertainers also spread the word. Apparently a lot of people listened to the media coverage, and last year’s Hour of Code boasted some impressive statistics including:

  • Reached 15 million users in less than 5 days.
  • 15 million students in 170 countries learned an Hour of Code.
  • Over 10 million girls participated.
Hour of Code Stats from 2013
2013 Hour of Code Stats. Image:

I expect this year’s Hour of Code to be just as impressive, and dozens of organizations are participating:

Khan Academy







Code Avengers




Project Guts





Grok Learning



Microsoft Research (Flappy)


MIT App Inventor

As I reviewed the list of sites, I recognized quite a few but was also excited to see some new ones in the list. What a wide variety of choices for kids, and adults, to choose from! I found online offerings as well as offline ones. Some offerings you can run from your web browser, and others that can be used on your phone or tablet. Whatever platform you’re on, I think there’s an educational programming option to fit your needs.

Khan Academy’s options really caught my eye this year. Not only do they have their JavaScript lessons that I introduced you to in my Pumpkin Carving article last month, but they also have HTML / CSS and SQL lessons as well. The JavaScript lessons focus on an Hour of Drawing with Code for ages 8+.  Students will learn to create drawings using JavaScript programming and finish with a fun draw-a-wild animal program. The HTML/CSS lessons focus on an Hour of Webpages for ages 10+.  Students will learn to create webpages using HTML / CSS and will create a holiday greeting card. The SQL lessons focus on an Hour of Databases for ages 12+. Students will learn how to create and use databases for an imaginary store. If your child has tried JavaScript drawing exercises before and is a little older and more experienced this year, why not branch out and try the webpage or database lessons this year. That’s what we’ll be doing at our house.

Khan Penguin
Drawing Coding. Image: Khan Academy

Another offering that really caught my attention is Frozen from Code Studio. With this tutorial, programmers will learn how to create snowflakes with the Frozen characters Anna and Elsa. The tutorial is currently in beta, but I went through all 20 puzzles without any issues. I found it easy to learn some programming basics while having fun creating snowflakes—and just in time for the winter holiday season too! If you have a daughter that needs a little extra motivation to try out programming, this might be just the tutorial for her!

Frozen Snowflake
Code with Anna and Elsa of Frozen – Puzzle 13. Image: Maryann Goldman and

I was also pleased to see some video game design style tutorials. My son, Joey, age 12, often thinks he wants to be a video game designer when he grows up. He and a million other kids, right? Nevertheless, I think piquing his interest in programming with a tutorial geared towards video games will be quite effective. I went through the 10 step tutorial on the Code Avengers site and successfully created my very first video game! I can’t wait for Joey to give it a try!

Code Avengers
Code Avengers Game Development. Image: Maryann Goldman and Code Avengers

I hope you and your kids will participate in this year’s Hour of Code. Don’t be shy, even if you don’t have a background in programming, you can set a good example for your child by giving something new a try!

Hour of Code Banner. Image: CSEdWeek
Hour of Code Banner. Image: CSEdWeek