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Computer Programming for Kids
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#1 SMforshort

Posted 02 February 2013 - 10:42 AM

My son is 10, very bright, and loves playing computer games.  Particularly online multi-player games.

I'd like to encourage him to expand his use of computers into doing some more creative things.  He does talk of wanting to be a programmer when he "grows up" but although he has done some computers at school that teaches how to use Microsoft Office etc. he hasn't ever done any simple programming or website design.

How do you teach a child to create their own program or website?  I remember writing simple programs as a child on my commodore 64 computer but that was a long time ago.

Can anyone suggest any websites that teach basic computer programming, ap design or website design or any computer games that encourage this type of creativity?

He has access to a PC, and IPad and a WII.

Thanks SM

#2 HRH Countrymel

Posted 02 February 2013 - 10:57 AM

DP - a programmer/software architect who has been doing this since he was a wee lad making punch cards suggests:


He is also very impressed that you are guiding your child on such a glorious path!  "That - right there is good parenting!"

#3 FeralZombieMum

Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:20 AM

I was going to suggest Scratch as well.

I jokingly tell all my kids that when they learn a new programming language, their very first program should be "Hello world" because that was always the first example we were given in our Uni programming subjects. laughing2.gif

My DH was very much into Linux when I met him. He's learnt a lot of invaluable skills/knowledge this way.

I'd also try and encourage him in other areas as well, so that he has a more rounded exposure that could help him further down the track. My DD was really into Google Sketchup when she was about 9. She also had a play around with GIMP.

#4 JRA

Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:27 AM

There are also various school holiday programs, and possibly during term, for teaching kids how to "program" apps.

#5 Procrastinator5000

Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:36 AM

Another vote for Scratch - it is a good way for them to understand the basics of how programming works.

I like JRA's suggestion of holiday courses too.

#6 Jeyamoo

Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:46 AM

I think if computers are going to be your sons "thing" then there is no need to teach him he will just pick it up himself. My son is 13 now but has been making his own computer games and gaming "mods" (not entirely sure what they are actually) for a few years now which he sells online (again not exactly sure how, wow just realising I really need to be a bit more proactive with the computer supervision in this house!!)

Anyway my point is he taught himself how do it by reading various websites, you tube etc. I think it's more satisfying for kids that way.

#7 lishermide

Posted 02 February 2013 - 12:20 PM

My DS has been using a program called GameMaker. Is for making their own computer games.

#8 SMforshort

Posted 02 February 2013 - 07:59 PM

Thanks Ladies and countrymel's DP, we'll definitely have a look at scratch, sketchup, GIMP and Gamemaker.  I might even have a play myself.

I appreciate you advice and countrymel, your DPs approval of my parenting made me smile.  I can't possibly get this parenting thing wrong all the time....


#9 laridae

Posted 02 February 2013 - 08:25 PM

I started programing when I was 6 - with a little help from my Dad original.gif
Mostly I learned from a book about programing Space Games.  This was back in the days of Basic though....  on a System-80 clone.
I always wanted to be a programmer!  It didn't really happen though (but I do work in IT).
I suggest downloading Visual Studio Express - its free, its from Microsoft, and you can do real programming in it.

He will probably get more opportunity to do programming once he gets to highschool.

#10 linnieloo62

Posted 19 February 2013 - 01:17 PM

DD loves to play with Alice.org
That fact that her name is Alice is a bonus original.gif

#11 refactored

Posted 07 March 2013 - 02:14 PM

A starting point is http://www.code.org/. It covers various teaching tools etc as well as providing some PR material for people who don't understand programming (for example, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dU1xS07N-FA).

For an advanced older child, I would buy a Raspberry Pi and see what they do with it.

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