Beginning programming for children?

  • Posted: 09 June 2009 10:42 PM

    My son (9 years old) has expressed some interest in learning how to program. While I have some programming experience, it’s quite dated (as in I started with Pascal on a Apple II+) and the closest I’ve come to programming in the last decade is Excel Macros or simple Applescripts.

    Any suggestions on age appropriate ways to get him started?

    Thanks

    [ Edited: 18 November 2010 10:10 AM by Intruder ]      
  • Avatar

    Posted: 21 June 2009 10:15 PM #1

    Pappy - 10 June 2009 01:42 AM

    My son (9 years old) has expressed some interest in learning how to program. While I have some programming experience, it’s quite dated (as in I started with Pascal on a Apple II+) and the closest I’ve come to programming in the last decade is Excel Macros or simple Applescripts.

    Any suggestions on age appropriate ways to get him started?

    Thanks

    I working through a similar issue but my son is 12.  He want’s to do game development and is more oriented to character development then pure programming.  I have sent him to camp for 2-D and 3-D game development. This year we are working from home using two tools so far.  Unity 3D game development engine and Blender for 3D model development.  Unity cost $200 but has a 30 day trial. Blender is a 3D modeling program and is open source so I would start there.  So far this summer I would say my son is a bit overwhelmed with some of the tutorials but he thinks it’s cool.  Both programs tend to be overwhelming at the start, but with patience in showing them how to work through a tutorial they will progress quite far.

    I tried to get them interested about developing for the iphone, but kids seem really attracted to the gaming.

         
  • Avatar

    Posted: 07 July 2009 10:01 AM #2

    I am in the same situation as you are.  I have a 10 year old who wants to learn how to start programming and developing games.  I have tons of programming experience but nothing in game design, just applications.  I want to get him started on the right path, but it’s not easy.  I also have a 7 year old who is more then ready to get going, he is actually more capable then his older brother. 

    I’ll do some research for game engines, specifically free ones, and see if I can find one that is not that difficult for them and I’ll post my results on here.  Unfortunately most of this will be for Windows.  I just started Objective-C programming and don’t feel comfortable enough teaching it to them yet.

         
  • Posted: 13 August 2009 02:29 AM #3

    I recommend checking out LOGO.

    It is 40 years old, but as a teaching tool for kids it seems fresh to me.

         
  • Avatar

    Posted: 13 August 2009 03:52 AM #4

    There are most likely some free engines out there, but most of them are likely to be aimed at folks who already know how to program.

    For kids who are learning, LOGO is definitely a great suggestion, though it may be under pats’ 12 year old son’s level.

    REALbasic might be an avenue, too, but they have more of a business approach to their tool.

    What about something like Koingo’s Project Canvas? It’s sort of a HyperCard successor, sort of. It’s not true coding, but it can be used to develop original tile/card-based games.

    That might serve as a foot-wetter. smile

    Signature

    Editor - The Mac Observer

    Favorite (but less relevant than it used to be) Quote: Microsoft’s tyranny lies not in its success, but in the way it achieved and maintains that success.

         
  • Avatar

    Posted: 04 November 2009 12:45 AM #5

    This is a pretty good project:

    http://www.alice.org/

    IT is java based learning tool that helps kids decide where the character goes and how to act.  Granted Alice / Alice 2 are windows based (sorry) but Alice 3 is beta runs on Mac and can be used via netbeans (http://www.netbeans.org)

    Something to look at..