Top Coding Projects for Beginners of All Ages

According to FastCompany, coding is the most important job skill of the future. In today’s world of rapidly developing technology, it is no longer a niche skill limited to tech professionals — rather, it is becoming increasingly valuable across industries. It might not come as such a surprise, then, that adults and kids alike are encouraged to learn to code. Aside from opening the door to a lucrative career, coding also offers countless opportunities for self-expression, creativity, and innovation. 

Still, learning to code can be a challenge, especially if you don’t know where to start. It is normal to feel overwhelmed, confused, or frustrated at first. In any case, one of the best ways to learn to code is to simply start coding. There is a wide variety of beginner-friendly projects that can help you hone your skills and advance your education. In this article, we’ll explore coding projects for different experience levels, including children K-12, beginners, and adults.

Explore Coding Projects for:

Kindergarten Students | Elementary School Children | Teens | Adults

Coding Projects for Beginners: K-12

Coding and computer literacy are now recognized as important components of childhood education, even replacing the teaching of a second language for some young learners. The process of introducing children and teens to computer programming can be challenging, especially for teachers or parents who do not personally have a strong coding or technical background. To help you get started, here are some coding projects and games designed for youth in grades K-12.

Coding Activities and Games for Kindergarten Students

Coding Activities and Games for Kindergarten Students 

  • Hopster Coding Safari: It is possible to teach coding fundamentals to children as young as two years old with this free app for iOS. With animal-themed activities, your child can get a head start on programming.
  • Hopscotch: This bite-sized introduction to programming lets young people create games and animations by dragging and dropping commands and instructions into a script.
  • Daisy the Dinosaur: The creators of Hopscotch-Programming created an app to teach children as young as four how to code. Solving the app’s challenges can help kids intuitively grasp the basics of objects, sequencing, loops, and events.
  • Robot Turtles Board Game: Although they may not realize it, children can learn the concepts of coding while playing. Through this interesting and engaging game, children can write programs using playing cards. 
  • Scratch Junior: Based on Scratch, a popular programming language, Scratch Jr. teaches children ages 5-7 important new skills while allowing them to create their own interactive stories and games.
  • Kodable: Using a combination of on-screen and off-screen elements, Kodable helps kids gain a solid understanding of computer science concepts they can use for life.
  • codeSpark Academy: This app makes learning computer programming fun for kids. It teaches them how to program with puzzles, games, printables, and even projects, so they can experience it firsthand.
  • Code Karts: This game introduces coding concepts to young children using entertaining and logical puzzles in the form of a racetrack.

Coding Activities and Projects for School-Age Children

  • Swift Playgrounds: Apple designed this iPad application to teach coding through fun and interactive puzzles. Parents and children just starting out will enjoy the app since it doesn’t require coding knowledge. 
  • Minecraft for Education: A new educational edition of the popular digital game Minecraft aims to help children and young adults learn how to code. Through an immersive hands-on experience, the game fosters creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving. 
  • Bits and Bricks: Logic and programming skills are taught through this LEGO®-designed puzzle game. Children as young as five years old can enjoy the game, which is part of the company’s Hour of Code initiative.
  • Kodu: Kodu is a coding game platform developed by Microsoft that teaches children how to create, play, and share their own video games while learning the fundamentals of coding. 
  • Mimo: Mimo is an engaging and interesting platform for bite-sized coding lessons, projects, and challenges. The app teaches your child how to code, build websites, automate tasks, and make apps.
  • CodeMonkey: Originally designed as an educational resource for teachers, CodeMonkey has evolved and is now available to those who want to learn how to code. It can also provide insights that parents can use to monitor their children’s progress.
  • Scratch: With interactive games, stories, and animations, children are able to not only improve their programming abilities, but also increase their creativity, reasoning abilities, and learn how to effectively work together on projects.
  • SpriteBox: Kids learn actual coding through a simple 2D Super Mario-style game. From basic challenges to more advanced ones, kids move from drag-and-drop images to syntax. 

Coding Activities and Projects for Teens

  • Raspberry Pi: A Raspberry Pi Kit is a great way to expose older children to coding. This affordable, credit-card sized computer can serve as a foundation for countless child- and teen-friendly coding projects. These projects can be easily found online.
  • Makeblock: Makeblock is an open source construction platform to turn ideas into success. Children and teens can build their own physical robot from scratch and see the results of their code immediately. 
  • Tello: Tello by Ryze Tech is an impressive and programmable mini drone that is perfect for older children and teens that are interested in coding. The device can be coded with Scratch software to perform movements and capture video. 
  • Mindstorms®: This is another LEGO®-designed resource that teaches children how to code 3D robots. The application brings programming to life through hands-on, project-based learning using LEGO® blocks. 
  • CodeCombat: CodeCombat is a computer science and programming platform for students that allows them to learn and practice computer skills through a stimulating and realistic game.
  • Roblox: Known as one of the most popular computer games for teens, Roblox is a game-creation platform where users can create and upload their own games, while learning the fundamentals of coding. 
  • SwiftUI: SwiftUI helps users build great-looking apps across all Apple platforms with the power of Swift — and as little code as possible. 
  • Visual Studio: Microsoft’s Visual Studio is the company’s integrated development environment. By using Visual Studio, teens can develop websites and mobile apps, as well as computer programs.
  • Micro:bit: Often referred to as a microcontroller development board, this is a small programmable computer. Teenagers can use the device to develop games and solve real-world problems in addition to creating basic programs.
  • Arduino: These devices are board-level microcontrollers, perfect for prototyping and popular among teens who want to create new electronic devices. They can be used to incorporate sensors for applications like autonomous robots that navigate and understand their surroundings. 

Coding Projects and Activities for Adults 

Coding Activities and Projects for Adults (Beginner Friendly)

1. Odd or Even?

This is about as simple as it comes — this program will take a number input by a user and then tell the user if the number is odd or even. The project will help you get set up by downloading a programming language and the software you’ll need to start writing code. 

Here is a guide from Rosetta Code with code examples in a very wide variety of programming languages. 

2. Dice Rolling Simulation

Creating a dice-rolling simulator is a great beginner project to help you learn Python. In the real world, rolling dice allows you to generate a random number ranging from 1 through 6, so your program should have the same functionality. This project uses the random module to generate random numbers and print them to the user. 

This Python project is a simple way to become accustomed to the process of writing code. If you’re able to write the simulator, consider experimenting by allowing the user to choose the number of dice, using dice with different values, or showing a picture of the number on a die when the number is generated.

3. Alarm Clock Application

This project can help you get started in working with Graphic User Interfaces — also known as GUIs. These allow users to interact with a program without having to use a command line. 

This project involves keeping track of time, setting the alarm, and generating a sound when the clock strikes a specific time. It’s a great beginner project that can help you get set up and started with your programming environment. This project can be completed in multiple languages, but here’s a guide to building it using Python

4. Rock, Paper, Scissors

Rock, paper, scissors is a straightforward game in real life that’s helped solve arguments and determine who does what. However, coding a game of rock, paper, scissors is more complex than you might think, making it a great intermediate project for anyone wanting to learn Python. 

The rock, paper, scissors project uses a random number generator, similar to the dice rolling project. However, the project goes further by requiring you to code in the rules and logic of the game and create additional choices and elements for a user to pick. Here’s a breakdown of the rock, paper, scissors project if you’re interested in getting started. 

5. Calculator

The calculator is one of the most useful and essential tools available on most computers and smartphones. It’s also a great way to help you understand the basics of working with code, deploying a user interface, and getting experience building a project from scratch. You’ll reinforce many fundamental concepts involved with programming during this project. 

If you’re interested, this guide from the Odin Project can help you get started

6. Mad Libs Generator

Mad Libs is a word game that many of us played on road trips with family when we were younger. This game makes an excellent programming project that lets you work with strings, variables, and printing. 

This project aims to create a program that will prompt a user for a series of inputs, similar to a game of Mad Libs — nouns, adjectives, and so forth. Once the information has been put into the program, the program will take that information and use it in a premade story template, printing the results. 

This project can be completed in many different programming languages, including Java, JavaScript, and Python. Here is a guide on completing the project in Python if you’d like to read more. 

7. To-Do List 

Creating a to-do list is a great beginner programming project that can be completed in just about any programming language. Completing a to-do list in JavaScript is a great beginner project for anyone interested in web development. 

Your to-do list will need to allow users to add, complete, and delete tasks. This will require an understanding of variables, functions, arrays, objects, and other basic JavaScript concepts. If you don’t understand these finer points — this project will help you get started. Freshman.tech has a great writeup of requirements for creating a simple to-do list in JavaScript.

8. Fizz-Buzz

Fizz-buzz is a simple coding project and interview question encountered in some coding interviews. The premise is relatively simple: Write a program that prints the numbers 1 to 100. For multiples of three, print the word “Fizz” instead of the number, and for multiples of five, the word “Buzz”. For numbers that are multiples of both three and five, print the word “FizzBuzz.” 

Fizz-buzz is deceptively challenging, as it takes a bit of logic to determine how to create a solution for the problem. It also introduces an important programming concept — efficiency. Often, there are many ways to solve problems in programming. Some solutions are more efficient than others, which can be important in large software projects. 

Here is a guide and discussion of Fizz-Buzz that goes into incredible detail and shows solutions in many different programming languages. 

9. Hangman Game

This is a “guess the word” game that many of us have played before. The goal of the game is to guess a word with a limited number of letter guesses. This project will help you become more familiar with random variables, booleans, inputs and outputs, strings, and printing. 

You’ll need to design a way to pull a word for guessing, which can come from a pre-made list or, if you’re looking to create a more complex project, your word can come from a web API or scraped list. You’ll also need to code in functions to limit a user to input a single letter, checking to see if the letter is in the hidden word, printing letters, and a way to limit the number of guesses the user has available. 

This game is slightly more complicated than some of the previous projects on the list, as the user input needs to be parsed and checked for correctness before being accepted or denied. This guide from GeeksforGeeks can help you get started with the project. 

10. Quiz Application

Quiz applications show a set of questions to the user and give them the chance to answer them. This can be as simple or as complex as you want — maybe your quiz responds immediately with the correct answer after a user makes a selection, or maybe the results aren’t presented until the end of the quiz. 

This guide from Dev.to has an in-depth explanation of how to create a quiz using Python. 

11. Text-Based Adventure Game

This project uses Java and can be a great way to get started with this object-oriented programming language. The project is great for beginners and more experienced programmers alike — your game can start simple and become more complicated over time as you learn more about Java and build new mechanics into your game. 

Starting this project typically involves some planning — consider sketching out a map for your game. How many rooms will there be? What kind of items will be on the map? Will there be enemies for the player to fight? For example, maybe a room in your game has a key that opens a door in another room, but a skeleton guards it. Having a list of the elements in your game and the attributes that each item needs can give you a starting point for your code. 

Once you have everything in place, you can start building your game using the basics of Java. Creating a game can give you a good feel for classes, integers, and conditional logic. 

12. Contribute to an Open-Source Project 

Open-source projects are incredible for anyone wanting to enter the world of coding. Generally, open-source projects are open to the public, meaning that anyone is free to use, examine, change, or distribute a project for their use or the use of others. These contributions can become valuable parts of your portfolio as you enter the job market. 

Contributing to an open-source project typically involves more advanced coding skills and should be reserved until you have other experience under your belt. There are resources available to help early-stage developers find simple contributions to open source projects. First Timers Only is a resource dedicated to helping new coders understand how contributions work and find projects that have easy issues for coders to tackle.

Having some experience working with open-source projects can help you get started as a professional developer. These projects will be similar to working with a codebase at an actual business and show a recruiter or hiring manager that you have real-world experience.

13. Build Something For Yourself

Some of the best projects spring out of your own need. Maybe you can’t find a free flashcard application with which you’re satisfied. Maybe your budgeting software doesn’t calculate something specific that you’d like to know. 

This project is broad because you’re the only one who knows what you need. Think of the applications you’d like to use in your day-to-day life, and build the most polished version you can. These can be a great addition to your portfolio, and they can show off your skills to recruiters. 

Coding Activities and Projects for Adults (Beyond Beginner)

1. Build a Portfolio Website

There are many drag-and-drop website builders available, so it’s possible to build a website without writing a line of code. However, building your own website is an excellent way for a budding web developer or designer to understand every stage in the website-building process. 

Building a website from scratch will require a small investment — procuring a domain name and hosting your site will cost a bit of money. 

What you build will be up to you, depending on your needs and skill level. One great option is building a custom portfolio website that includes your resume, projects, and skills. A well-designed portfolio website is also a project in and of itself, which can impress recruiters and hiring managers alike. 

2. Create a Social Media Bot

Social media bots have gotten a bad reputation in recent years, but they’re not all malicious. Creating a simple social media bot can help you learn an important skill used across many programming disciplines — Application Programming Interfaces. Also known as APIs, these elements are composed of software layers that allow two applications to interact with each other. 

Building a social media bot requires an understanding of the basics of a programming language like Python — and an understanding of how to connect to a service using an API. Your first bot can do something simple, like posting a canned reply on Reddit whenever it sees a user mentioning a predefined keyword. More complicated bots are used to help companies market and support their products on social media, so understanding how they work can help you build a valuable skill set. 

If you want to learn more, here is a guide from Mozilla’s developer documentation about APIs and their uses. 

3. Build an E-Commerce Website

This is a great project for anyone wanting to learn web development. Building an e-commerce website involves many different components — interacting with a database of products, handling prices and inventory, and creating a checkout system. 

If you’re interested in this project, this Medium post can help you get started. 

4. Scrape and Analyze Data from the Internet

Web scraping is the act of collecting data from the internet, in any form — and the process can be automated using computer programs that parse through webpages and collect data based on preset parameters. As data science and data analysis are important for many programming and coding disciplines, web scraping is a great way to generate data for analysis to get a feel for the process.

Companies use data scraping to collect information on competitors, improve SEO, monitor their reputation online, or compare prices between goods and services. 

If you’re interested in learning more about web scraping, this guide from opensource.com has a great walkthrough of the process using python.

5. Recreate a Website or Application

You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel when you’re working on a new project. Sometimes, the creative limits involved with recreating an existing website or application can help you pick up new skills more quickly. 

You can create a copy of a popular social media website, like Reddit or Facebook, or attempt to develop a web browser that behaves like Chrome or a file explorer that’s similar to the one that comes with your operating system. 

6. Build an iPhone, iPad, or Android App

Developing applications for mobile devices and tablets is unique and will help you build a specialized set of skills for each platform. For Android, you’ll need Java, and for iOS, you’ll need Objective-C or Swift. 

Developing a mobile app is a challenging yet rewarding skill that’s worth the time investment. If you’re interested, here are developer guidelines for Android devices, and here are developer guidelines for Apple devices. Review the guidelines for your platform of choice, and you can start building your first application. 

7. Machine Learning or AI Project

Working with machine learning (ML) or artificial intelligence (AI) is an advanced-level project that requires some level of programming experience before you start. Learning more about these tools and concepts is becoming easier for experienced programmers. 

Some previously mentioned projects make for great first steps into learning ML and AI. For example, you can create an unbeatable tic-tac-toe engine that always plays an optimal strategy and cannot lose a game. You could also create a chess engine that can play chess against a human opponent. Chatbots also make great machine learning projects — you can even start out by using a pre-made conversational dialog engine like ChatterBot

You have many different choices when it comes to getting started with AI and machine learning. If you’d like to learn more about machine learning and AI, Google offers a wide variety of guides and educational materials. Here are a few resources to help you get started.

How to Start Building Your Coding Portfolio

Building a portfolio of projects can feel intimidating, especially if you don’t have any previous software development experience. Thankfully, there are many options to help you get started in the world of programming and software development. The best option for you depends on how much time you can devote to learning, your goals and aspirations, and your budget for education. 

Some of the most common pathways for learning to code include bootcamps, traditional university degrees, and self-directed learning. We’re going to walk through each of these options and discuss the pros and cons of each.

Bootcamps

Modern software developers often work in multiple programming languages. Bootcamps cover a broad skill set that can help learners prepare for new careers, learning multiple programming languages, and providing a range of skills to help you get started. 

Many coding bootcamps are available, and your selection should depend on your goals and aspirations. For example, The Data Analysis and Visualization Boot Camp at Texas McCombs  focuses on understanding and working with real-world data for 24 weeks in a hands-on, practical manner. This is a good option for anyone wanting to work as a business analyst, data scientist, or software developer. 

The Coding Boot Camp at UT Austin, on the other hand, focuses on the fundamentals of computer programming; teaching you how to code in multiple programming languages and apply your skills on real-world projects you will encounter in the workforce. Completing this bootcamp can help you get started as a web developer, software developer, or full stack developer. 

Degree in Computer Science

Completing a computer science degree is a great way for people to get started in the field. Most undergraduate degree programs require four years, giving students an opportunity to explore interests beyond computer science, as well as their primary field.

If you’re interested in obtaining a degree in computer science, UT Austin’s Computer Science program was just ranked one of the top 10 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

Independent Learning

Many people start in programming through self-driven learning. Getting started with computer programming simply requires a computer and a desire to learn. Independent learning can be a great option for anyone interested in programming but doesn’t know if it’s right for them or someone who doesn’t have the time to pursue a traditional degree or coding bootcamp. 

There are many valuable resources available online, like edX’s computer science and programming courses. These courses are often free, though some courses offer a certificate or other credential upon completion for a small fee. Most courses are produced by established colleges and universities, and they’re often self-driven with work reviewed by peers. 

If you’re interested in learning more about coding, UT Austin has developed a guide to help you learn to code online

Additional Resources

Do you want to learn more about learning to code and working in web or software development? Here are a few resources to help you get started. 

No matter how you choose to pursue your coding education and portfolio development, coding is a worthwhile and valuable skill to have, and your dedication will be worth it. The time you spend now will reap career dividends for you far into the future.

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