Programming Resources for Kids

I’ve been looking for a way to introduce programming to my kids at an early age, and finally found one in Codecademy. What I really like about that one is that it teaches a real language that can be used IRL.

I’ve included links that reference “kids languages”, but I don’t know how I feel about teaching children fake programming languages for concepts. I feel like if they can learn spoken languages (English, French, etc), they can learn “real” programming languages. Are we underestimating them?

I’ve tried these with my daughter:

  • (@CodeCademy) JAVASCRIPT
    When I discovered this site via Twitter (in August of 2011), I had my 8yo try it. After only about 30 minutes of lessons, this site was so effective in teaching her JavaScript fundamentals, it was the inspiration for this blog page. START HERE! It is a GREAT SITE!
    Also see the Techcrunch article.
  • Hello World! Computer Programming for Kids and Other Beginners PYTHON
    This is a book I tried with my daughter when she was 6yo. It was easy to follow, and she understood the lessons. We didn’t make it that far into it, quite honestly because I’m not a Python programmer & this book is all Python (plus I think she might have been a bit too young at the time, as the typing part slowed her down =). Public school started teaching proper typing in 2nd grade, so I highly recommend the book, probably for someone of any age who is old enough to type at a reasonable speed.

    There is a very interesting Hanselminutes on the story of the father-son-team writing the book (The son helped writing it from age 6 to 10; How cool is that?!?!).

Other “Programming for Kids” search results –> My kids haven’t tried these (yet):

Electronics / Arduino / Circuits for Kids

  • Squishy circuits for tiny tinkerers (Squishy Circuits)
    ”Squishy circuits are a project from the Thomas Lab at the University of St. Thomas.  The goal of the project is to design tools and activities which allow kids of all ages to create circuits and explore electronics using play dough.” How cool is that? I know this isn’t programming, but as someone who has found the .NET Micro Framework pretty fun lately, I had to include this cool link.
  •  Drag and drop programming gets kids started early (Minibloq)
  • “Minibloq is a graphical programming environment for Arduino™ and other Arduino™-compatible boards, such as DuinoBot. It’s currently under development, and I will soon launch a Kickstarter campaign, to finish the software and make it available to everyone. One of it’s main goals is to bring closer Arduino™ and Multiplo™ platforms to primary schools.” Neato!

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