When You Teach Programming to Kids

In this article,  How I taught my kids Python programming,  shares his experience in teaching kids programming and some interesting side effects.  His approach:

  1. Make some animations using Scratch (a simple visual programming language from MIT)
  2. Make  the computer talk (get the kid interested)
  3. Start with a few games

I love his observations on what happens when you try to teach programming to kids.

I’m sure there’s some six year old somewhere who has already made a million dollars selling an iPhone game that they programmed themselves. But to be honest, my kids haven’t started writing any programs of their own.  In fact, I’m not even sure they’re interested in programming!

But my son Cy has gotten obsessed with math concepts like factorial because of this little exercise and more importantly he’s seen that programming is something that anyone can do!

There are several lessons, I can draw from this about teaching programming to kids.

  • Introduce the fun aspects (animation, games, speech)
  • Make programming approachable and give them the feeling that they can do it
  • Use it as a tool to get them interested in other subjects/topics
  • Don’t force it  and observe the outcome

We really don’t want every one to be a programmer (unless they want to). But, we certainly want to show them the joy of creating. IMO, programming is another one of those really good thinking tools.

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