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Computer Programming for Kids

kids computerDo you have a kid in your life who has an interest in computers and programming?  If so, please encourage this passion and let them try it out!  Not only could this be a lucrative career, but will definitely teach important logic and patience skills critical for all ages.  Today’s kid could be tomorrows world-changer…most of the popular web 2.0 companies were founded by people in their 20’s who grew up as kid programmers.  Anyone above about 10 years old who has some computer experience should be old enough to tackle simple programming tasks and learn these skills.

There aren’t too many resources out there for this area, but I recently came across a great book geared for all beginners:  Hello World!: Computer Programming for Kids and Other Beginners.  This book was written by a father and his son and uses the Python environment to each programming tasks appropriate for kids. This is a great idea and something to consider working with your children on.  There’s also a fun interview with both father and son on Hanselminutes (by the way, Scott’s BlogDeveloper Tools list is incredibly useful). and podcasts are fantastic for all Microsoft .NET techies. His

Microsoft also recently released a visual programming environment for children called Kodu which runs on the Xbox 360 and PC.  It’s geared for game development and uses a colorful icon-based interface.

As a kid I sharpened my skills on the legendary Commodore 64 (remember peeks, pokes, and sprites?).  I wrote a game where your cannon tried to shoot a ship, and an accounting program which helped my Dad balance his business ledger (saving countless hours of calculations).  I also ported a tutor program The Math Teacher (somehow the ad for this is on an internet archive) with my Uncle Ralph from the NEC to Commodore 64 and even sold a few copies.  The time spent wasn’t only fun and productive but laid the groundwork for a career working in the computer field.  So, give it a try and learn together with your kid and maybe something wonderful will happen.


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