Teaching your children to code should be high on the priority list for parents. To make this task easier, there are a growing number of tools that use visual elements to teach basic programming concepts to kids. AllThingsD recently reviewed two of these apps for the iPad, Kodable from SurfScore and Hopscotch.
Kodable is more a game than a programming tool and is designed for the preschool set. Children must guide their characters through a maze by dropping commands to tell the character which way to move. This lively game teaches children about common programming concepts like commands, if-then conditional statements and loops.
Hopscotch is an iPad app to teach children Hopscotch programming. Hopscotch is inspired by MIT's Scratch programming language and uses the same block-based coding interface. Children start off with a blank slate and add blocks of code to objects on the stage. These pre-written scripts allow your children to move, rotate and scale objects. They also can be used to draw a line behind the object as it moves along the screen. Children can set variables like line color and width.
As a mom who uses Scratch with her children, I can say with certainty that apps like this are a good starting point to introduce kids to programming. They teach children how to think like a programmer, which makes it easier when they graduate onto more complex, object-oriented languages like Python.